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Volvo’s new compact premium SUV offers something new from the Swedish brand. What began a few years ago with the accoladed XC90, S90, and V90 Cross Country has now given rise to something rather delectable with their smaller XC40.
Never has Volvo had a compact SUV. Not just a high-riding hatch, the XC40 is all-new from the ground up. It is a true SUV – it is tall and capable of some soft off-roading without the risk of ripping off your bumpers.
Unique, the XC40 has its own visual presence without looking like a duplicate of its larger siblings - the XC60 and XC90, nor is it like any of its competitors.
It is offered in either a solid colour or the optional contrasting black or white roof, white mirror caps and wheels. I’d go for the two-tone roof myself. Highly customisable, the XC40 is available in three trim levels: Momentum (classical), Inscription (fancy) and R-Design (sporty).
On the inside, the cabin is large and airy. This is due to generous proportions and a tall roof. Getting in and out of the car is a piece of cake – as the XC40 has a perfect ground-to-seat height ratio. The cabin is roomy with space for five adults. Volvo’s are revered for having comfortable seats; the same applies to the XC40 – making its occupants feel reassured. Volvo has used good quality materials throughout the cabin, albeit not on the same standard as the larger XC60 and XC90. In line with its youthful design aesthetic, you can opt for Oxide Red leather and ‘Lava’ carpets, which are made from 100% recycled materials. This will allow XC40 customers to express a more individualistic style.
The Inscription trim offers exterior styling choices with 18”, 19” or 20” rims, unique skid plates, side window and grille mesh chrome, plus model-specific car colours. Inside, Inscription adds a newly designed crystal gear knob and the attractive Driftwood deco, which Volvo first introduced in its award-winning XC60 mid-size SUV.
Utility and safety abound in the new XC40. There is an abundance of storage spaces in the car. Volvo has even removed the speakers in the front door panels, positioning them in the dash instead, so there are large bins in the front doors. Speaking of bins – in the centre console, you’ll find a little trash can with a flip lid. When full, you pull it out and empty its contents. Open the electric tailgate, and you’ll notice a long and wide boot, making it a handy utility space.
In my opinion, this sized SUV has arguably the best proportions – easy to park and manoeuvre, enough room for up to three kids in the rear and loads of boot space.
Safety is paramount being a Volvo. So, as a standard feature on all XC40’s is the City Safety with front collision warning and full auto brake function. The system works day or night. Safety provides three levels of intervention; warning, brake support and full autonomous braking, and uses a combination of instruments and sensors to constantly monitor surrounding conditions.
There are a host of advanced scanners on the car that monitor what or who is around it. The Volvo, whether being parked, reversed or driven at speed, will keep a safe following distance from any potential accident, almost like a halo shield. It uses the cars braking and accelerating system to maintain the perfect following distance. So advanced are the cars scanners, it scans the lanes in the road and makes sure that the XC40 stays within them – the XC40 is fitted with an autonomous steer system that can auto-correct itself to stay in the correct lane. These technologies are utilized all simultaneously when the cruise control is activated, making your drive as easy as pie.
For now, the XC40 is available in three engine variants – a 1.5-L turbocharged petrol (115kW), 2.0-L turbocharged petrol (185kW) and diesel (140kW), namely theT3, T5 and D4. These three engines are mated to a slick shifting 8-speed automatic gearbox. Albeit, the entry-level T3 that I reviewed is only available in a 6-speed manual for now. The 8-speed automatic will arrive in 2019.
I’m pleased to say that this is arguably my new favourite compact SUV. It is a supple and refined ride combined with punchy performance (0-100km/h in 9.4 seconds) and wrapped in a funky design that is all about keeping you safe. It’s a no-brainer – this car is fantastic and deserves many accolades and sales success.
I’ve now reviewed two versions of the car, the T3 and T5. I’d have to say for city driving the powerful T5 is overkill. It is quick. The T3 has just the right amount of power for ideal daily usage. Despite having an assured and athletic feeling manual gearbox, I’d prefer an automatic.
The Audi Q2 and Q3, BMW X1 and X2, Jaguar E-Pace and Mercedes-Benz GLA.
XC 40 T3 Manual Momentum R486 500
XC 40 T3 Manual Inscription R518 300
XC 40 T3 Manual R-Design R525 300
XC 40 D4 Geartronic AWD Momentum R599 000
XC 40 T5 Geartronic AWD Momentum R605 300
XC 40 D4 Geartronic AWD Inscription R630 700
XC 40 T5 Geartronic AWD Inscription R637 100
XC 40 D4 Geartronic AWD R-Design R637 800
XC 40 T5 Geartronic AWD R-Design R644 100
The service and warranty
All Volvos come standard with a 5 year/100 000km warranty and Volvo maintenance plan. This includes a 5 year/unlimited mileage Roadside Assistance (includes a Skytrax tracker unit – hardware and installation).
XC 40 T3 Geartronic R-Design automatic (when it arrives)
XC 40 D4 Geartronic AWD Inscription R630 700
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