I looked at a range of diesel cars from VW, Audi, BMW, Volvo, Mini, Mercedes.
Merc A class wasn't available to order back in July, but early reports I read suggested the interior was poor, I spend about 600-800hrs a year in the car, a poor interior would have been too much of a compromise - plus on paper emissions and fuel economy couldn't match the V40 D2.
Golf Bluemotion, the models available in July were poorly spec'd for the same money as the V40, but couldn't match the V40 for emissions and fuel economy or quality, that said the incoming models look like they might address some of these issues.
Mini Clubman - found it too small and impractical with the suicide door, Countryman wasn't economical enough, and emissions were too high.
BMW 1 series, nice drive, but not as good as my old 1 series though, lets face it the car is painfully ugly, interior uncoordinated with the screen sticking out of a gaping hole in the dash. Plus it's more expensive to lease than V40.
Audi A3 quality was good, it's a bit boring with no significant design innovation in 10 years, economy below V40 D2 and emissions too high, significantly more expensive to lease than V40.
Audi A1 again quality good, diesel engine extremely noisy and unrefined, it only has 5 gears... what's that about? The boot was only 1/3 larger than my daughters Fiat 500, fuel economy was only marginally better than my old BMW 1 series. Big diasappointment.... ditto for it's sister the VW Polo diesel - incidentally same cost to lease as V40 through my company.
Entry model BMW 3 series, Merc C Class and Audi A4 were all £7-9000 more expensive over the life of the lease, in lease and fuel costs and extra tax, I'd prefer to put that money somewhere else thanks. Additionally, spec on these cars was very poor vs my V40.
After weighing up all the options, V40 is gorgeous inside especially when spec'd with leather, ride and handling are very good, easily on a par with the A3... so here I am... a very happy V40 driver.