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ROAD TEST – Volvo XC40

Volvo XC40

By Ian Strachan

 

Volvo’s new XC40 competes in the compact SUV market sector. But there’s nothing compact about this latest offering from the Swedish manufacturer, writes Ian Strachan.

The XC40 has bags of interior space, with generous legroom front and rear, a high seating position and more than adequate carrying capacity. In fact the XC40 doesn’t feel any smaller than the excellent XC60 which I tested a coule of months ago.

Like its bigger brothers, the XC90 and the XC60, the XC40 is bristling with technology, with most functions controlled via slick and intuitive nine-inch touchscreen. In the days of smartphones and tablets this feels perfectly natural.

The XC40 carries over design cues from its bigger brothers, including its soft Scandinavian curves. And with front wheel drive and all-wheel drive versions available it can keep you motoring safely in all terrains.

There’s no doubt the  XC40 also looks good, with its contrast colour roof, striking Volvo grille and chunky alloys. I tested the D4 All-wheel drive First Edition specification, which based on the R-Design spec, but with extra equipment. The result is a car which is the ultimate in practicality, but which still looks smart on the road.

In design terms, there’s no doubt that this is a Volvo. Solid, sturdy-looking and roomy, it’s all Volvo from front, back and side.

It has a high stance, superb traction and a host of electronics to keep you safe (this is a Volvo, after all). My test vehicle was powered by Volvo’s 190 horsepower 2.0 litre four cylinder diesel engine. This is a superb engine, very quiet, with smooth, unfussed power delivery. Linked to an effortless eight speed automatic transmission, driving it is a pleasure.

Its fuel consumption is respectable at 55.4 mpg in mixed driving. This is a pretty substantial vehicle so that’s not too bad at all. Ride is comfortable, with nicely damped suspension, no body roll on cornering, and supportive, supremely comfortable seats.

The interior is nicely trimmed orange contrast floor and panels with powered, nicely trimmed seats. The dash is uncluttered and clear with all controls falling nicely to hand, including the central touchscreen. There’s plenty of leg and elbow room inside the cabin, and the load space is impressive, with  extra stowage under the boot floor.

Trim levels are high. Standard equipment on this specification includes a good satnav and connect system, smart stand-out 19 inch alloy wheels, remote controlled hands-free powered tailgate, surround-sound 13-speaker sound system, electronic climate control, automatic stop/start, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warning, lane control, parking sensors with parking cameras and 360 degree view, heated seats and steering wheel, smartphone charging, bending headlights and electrically heated folding door mirrors.

This XC40 starts at £27,905 on the road. The D4 AWD First Edition is £39,905. Volvo motoring at this level isn’t cheap, but you get a lot of car for your money.

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