Modern Volvos have become so desirable that it’s quite possible to like one just by looking at photos of them. And that’s exactly what happened with the Volvo XC40. I’ve driven enough Volvos in the last couple of years to know that what is under the bonnet will most likely impress, so I was not at all worried about being disappointed once I finally got to test one.
Volvo styling is perhaps my favourite at the moment. The lines are so neat and uncluttered. This compact SUV features the best of the Volvo design language and adds a bit of cheek and chunkiness to it for a purposeful look.
Being a compact SUV, one would imagine this being best used as a family car, but honestly, to me, it feels a tad too fashionable to only be used as the family run-around. It perfectly blends in as a city slicker too and could easily show up and steal the show at a gallery opening or something like it.
This is the first Volvo to make use of the company’s CMA platform - a platform designed for the smaller cars in the range and is able to make use of both petrol and turbodiesel units. We were able to test the D4 AWD automatic. This unit is a 2,0-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine with 14 kW and 400Nm of torque.
That torque is available from as low as 1 750 r/min, so there’s plenty of shove early on to get you moving along. The transmission is an 8-speed Geartronic ‘box that changes over so smoothly that you barely even notice it at all. With a damped multi-link rear suspension and MacPherson struts at the front, the ride quality is top notch and while I wouldn’t call it dynamic around the bends, I really don’t care if it is. This car was wonderful to drive. I spent a lot of time in traffic with it, but as soon as I hit the open road, it ate up the tarmac with ease.
Classy, uncluttered... Swedish. The XC40s interior is a standout feature
I love Volvo interiors. They are so clean and classy, and always packed with features. It’s so unfussy that it’s refreshing. Very Swedish then. I enjoyed playing around on the 9-inch Sensus Connect touch screen and the digital instrument clusters are super slick. I enjoyed climbing behind the wheel of this car, every single time. Specification varies depending on the spec level that you choose: Momentum, R-Design or Inscription.
It’s a Volvo, so it’s expected that safety would be a priority. Out and about driving, I felt many of the safety features kick in, especially the lane departure warning system. Every time I moved over to make a small path for someone on a motorbike, the system would kick in. It’s quite intrusive at times. But I supposed I’d rather have that there than not there when I need it.
There’s also the standard City Safety feature that senses potential collisions and can activate the brakes automatically should you not react in time. Other features includes Pedestrian, Cyclist and Large Animal Detection technology that according to the Swedish company, “detects and automatically brakes the vehicle in the event of a pedestrian, cyclist or large animal (such as cattle) stepping/swerving/jumping out in front of the car”, Rearward facing radar that detects an imminent rear collision, road sign information assist, blind spot information system, park assist, driver alert control to detect if the driver is, well, alert, and more.
Watch some of the Volvo's safety features in action here
Okay, let’s wrap this up
It is no surprise that this Volvo is the 2018 European Car of the Year and that Volvo has had to increase production due to high demand. It is perhaps the most desirable Volvo currently available as it appeals to a wide audience - young and young-at-heart. If I had the money needed to purchase one, it would definitely be on my list. Nicely done, Volvo. Nicely done.
Volvo XC40 D4 Momentum Specs:
|Engine ||2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel|
|Torque ||400Nm |
|0-100km/h ||7.9 seconds|
|Top Speed ||210km/h|
|Average Fuel Consumption ||5l/100km|