This was our first Volvo purchase. We wanted a car that was safe, but fuel efficient. We also wanted a car that was flexible enough to be both our family car, but also a respectable car to be driven for my consulting work. The V40 fit the bill. I have to drive both short distances in city traffic as well as long distances on highways and the V40 handles both nicely. Four years later I still love my car. I would buy another.
Handling, seat comfort, available options, storage capacity, fuel efficiency, general style and safety.
Next model year changed the exterior features that I wasn't so pleased with, better brakes (they work well, but pads need to be replaced too frequently).