When the V40 debuted in 1995 it represented a significant departure from the traditional rectilinear styling that had become synonymous with Volvo since the 70's. The V40 (and the sedan version, the S40) was the first production car styled under Volvo's new Design Director, Peter Horbury.

So what of the V40 today? A car that once won "Most Beautiful Estate Car in the World" at an [unnamed] Italian award ceremony according to a Volvo press release. It seems to be largely forgotten; it never captured the attention of the public like the 240, and it never had a hotted up version to interest the enthusiasts. Perhaps it is doomed to be a footnote in the history of Volvo, but one that represents a significant turning point.

The 850 (seen here as a red 850 R) on the left and the V40 on the right. The 850 represents the culmination of Volvo's boxy designs, and was the last Volvo styled before Peter Horbury.

I quite like the styling of the V40. It has clean elegant lines, and there's just something about that hatch. Overall the car has aged well, and earlier models are reaching the bottom of their depreciation. And yet I don't really find myself wanting to own one. Maybe it's due to it's pedestrian performance, or the fact that it never came with a manual in the US. Here's some facts about typical V40 owner (from Volvo's press release):

The typical V40 owner has an average age of about 53, has been to University, has a mean household income of approximately £38,000 and is most likely to be the owner of a small business or now retired*. The top hobbies of V40 owners are: Gardening (27.5%)* Walking/hiking/hill climbing (22.2%)* Watching rugby or football (19.0%)* Reading (17.6%)*

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Hmmm, maybe that's why I don't want to own one.