VolvoXC40

By | March 26, 2024

VolvoXC40

VolvoXC40

At the moment it seems like another compact crossover/4×4/SUV/whatever arrives every other week, this time the Volvo XC40.

The third SUV in Volvo’s line-up completes Volvo’s SUV range and it’s exactly where you’d expect it to be: it’s a 4.4-metre long, twenty- to forty-thousand-dollar car that goes head-to-head with the competition . Audi Q3, the BMW X1 and now the Jaguar E-Pace.

Volvo XC40 brings its own style

It seems like the XC40 wants to do things a little differently. Not necessarily in its mechanical makeup, which is quite simple (more on that later), but certainly in its design and ethos.

At its heart it’s still a Volvo, but while other cars are copies of larger models from their makers’ range, think of the Volvo as ‘a cousin, rather than a brother’ to the XCs 60 and 90.

Not only is it smaller, it’s also a bit chunkier on the outside and a bit funkier on the inside than the more elegant but understated 60s and 90s models, a theme you’d expect to continue as smaller sedans and estate cars come along . also on this platform.

The platform, or architecture, is new. CMA, or compact modular architecture, they call it, and it’s one of two that will underpin all Volvos (the 60s and 90s models are on a different one).

Here it’s pretty conventional for the most part. It’s a steel monocoque, with MacPherson struts at the front and a multi-link setup at the rear, electrically assisted steering and transverse front-mounted motors driving front or four wheels.

Initially, all XC40s coming to Britain will be equipped with four-wheel drive and automatic gearboxes. You can choose from a 187 hp 2.0-liter diesel engine (D4) or a 247 hp 2.0-liter turbo gasoline engine (T5). We both rode here, you lucky devils.

In terms of trim levels, British cars will be available in seven trims, ranging from Momentum to Inscription Pro and First Edition models.

Cars with the entry-level Momentum model get LED headlights, automatic wipers and lights, rear parking sensors, 18-inch alloy wheels, cruise control and a wealth of Volvo’s safety technology as standard. Inside you’ll find dual-zone climate control, keyless ignition, electric windows and Volvo’s Sensus infotainment system, complete with a 9.0-inch portrait touchscreen display, DAB radio, satellite navigation and Bluetooth and USB connectivity.

Upgrade to R-Design and the operable tailgate, thick pile floor mats and front parking sensors.

Those who fancy a little more luxury can opt for the Pro versions of the three previous trims, which add heated front seats, active bending headlight technology, electrically adjustable driver’s seat and a heated windscreen to a fairly comprehensive package.

Those who want more exclusivity can opt for the First Edition model, which comes with heated rear seats and steering wheel, keyless entry, a Harman Kardon stereo system, smartphone integration, wireless phone charger and a host of equipment packages on the options list.

Getting started with the Volvo XC40

Outside? Intentionally different from a) the norm and b) other Volvos, both of which I think are cool. Making it look (apparently) like a ‘tough little robot’ makes it, I think, most like a Skoda Yeti: it’s happy to be a bit blocky and serious.

There are still nice details; It’s about 25mm wider at the rear than the front and there’s a cool rubber Swedish flag hanging on the side of the hood, which is cute.

There are also Volvo themes inside – the large, horizontal dashed line, but here interrupted by more striking details, such as new air vents.

Obviously the perceived material quality is lower than more expensive XCs, but they’ve done what they can to alleviate that. One is to make things a little funkier to look at, but similarly reduce the number of moldings to reduce tooling costs, so the cost for each individual switch can be a little higher. Look at the door card, for example: instead of a multitude of molds, there is one and a lot of carpet, or felt. Since they couldn’t afford high-quality materials everywhere, they got a little creative, and it worked.

There is still an excellent practical aspect, though. The driving position is good, the Sensus touchscreen remains (for better or worse, mostly better), there’s plenty of room in the back seat and a decent boot, the floor of which has built-in bag hooks, which become visible when you put it in a semi-upright position. All nice things.

Hit the road with the XC40

To drive, the XC40 continues Volvo’s recent themes in a more authentic way. There’s no major addition of verve or sparkle, as this is the smallest Volvo, it remains safe, predictable, but far from unpleasant.

The D4 we tried rode on 19-inch wheels with 235/50 R19 tires and Volvo’s standard ‘dynamic’ suspension, while the petrol T5 wore the ‘sport’ dynamic setup, which has firmer dampers, and at 245/ 45 R20 tires. . No individual weights are specified, but the range is 1684-1733kg, both of which you can assume are on the higher end.

However, the petrol is slightly lighter, and despite the larger wheels and more dynamic springs, it drives no worse.

In both cases there’s a bit of brittleness around town – nothing you’d complain about – and some sideways sway over rough surface imperfections, but this smooths out as speed increases.

Comfort on the highway is good – although the diesel remains more audible than I think you’d find in its German rivals – and the gearbox shifts nicely, while on back roads the body roll and roll speed are bearable.

Volvo hasn’t tried to control things too much, but they haven’t given it free rein either. It’s a pretty good compromise in a car that needs to be predictable and safe, pleasant but not sporty. And I think the mix is ​​about right.

Is the XC40 worth the splurge?

This class is not blessed with super-competitive vehicles, which has given Volvo an advantage from the start.

But while some rivals are trying to retain all the sporty or dynamic DNA of their sedan or estate sister models, Volvo is a bit more relaxed about how enthusiastic the XC40 wants to be.

Being quite practical inside, quite funky both inside and out, and relaxed in its skin with room to let the suspension breathe, it retains much of the U in SUV. And that’s why I quite like it.

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