Volvo XC40 – An Expanding Range To Delight
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
The Volvo XC40 is one of the more distinctive SUVs to appear on the motoring scene in recent years. Joining the larger XC60 and XC90 models, there’s no mistaking the Swedish company’s more compact offering.
I have already enjoyed a week with a top-spec variant, but a recent Volvo Drive Day event presented the opportunity to drive some more humble offerings.
At this point I should mention that all XC40 models are extremely well equipped so expect to find dual-zone climate control, automatic wipers, 18-inch alloy wheels and a 12-inch digital instrument panel whatever the spend.
With a seismic shift away from diesel engines, Volvo has now added a frugal 1.5-litre petrol engine to its range and it is this engine and simple T3 Momentum trim that caught my eye as did the headline price of £27,610.
Shorn of the many and varied fripperies available, I had the opportunity to assess the car without distractions and there is much to recommend.
The smaller engine is boosted by a turbocharger and pushes out a reasonable 156hp. It’s enough for brisk every day driving, though as peak power comes at a heady 5,000 rpm, plenty of revs is the order of the day (0 to 60mph in 9 seconds if you are interested).
Driving this way does have a detrimental effect on fuel economy and during my relatively brief drive I was unable to get anywhere near Volvo’s claimed 45.6mpg for the combined cycle. I would suggest around 35mpg might be more the order of the day, with a little more for the very light-footed.
CO2 emissions are 144g/km, fairly comparable with most rivals.
A six-speed manual gearbox comes as standard and the change is accurate and precise, though perhaps a little long throw.
If you prefer an automatic gearbox, then a XC40 T4 is required with a larger 2.0-litre engine. You also gain all-wheel drive into the bargain so the extra £4,460 may be money well spent. The extra power is noticeable, though economy and emissions do suffer (40.9mpg combined, 161g/km CO2).
Volvo has always placed comfort high on its agenda and out on the pock-marked roads of Yorkshire this seems like a sensible philosophy. Ride comfort is excellent, especially at higher speeds, though the large alloy wheels do struggle a little with urban potholes.
During high speed cornering, the XC40 remains composed and sure-footed, especially in versions with power to all wheels. However it is not all good news as the light steering, whilst a boon around town, lacks any real feel and does nothing to encourage a spirited driving style. I suspect would-be buyers will not be put off.
The XC40 will instead wow with a spacious and classy interior. Soft touch materials abound and comfort front and rear is guaranteed. Volvo has a knack of producing seats that support in all the right places and those in the XC40 are amongst the best you will find.
Boot space is a reasonable 460 litres and there are optional dividers to stop the weekly shopping from rolling around. Seats folded, an easy job, up to 1,336 litres of usable space is now available.
There are smatterings of clever features which improve everyday motoring life. Wireless phone charging, spacious door pockets and a folding glovebox hook to hold your takeaway to name but a few.
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Standard City Safety system uses radar and camera technology to apply the brakes if you have failed to spot a wandering pedestrian or cyclist, whilst Oncoming Lane Mitigation is designed to prevent head-on collisions, the most serious of all.
All these features are in addition to the usual complement of airbags, crumple zones and seat belt technology.
How to sum up the Volvo XC40?
In terms of ownership experience in the compact SUV class, the XC40 ranks amongst the best. The new smaller engine might just be the pick of the range and Momentum trim is anything but the poor relation.
So why not pop along to your friendly local dealer and take a look. However large your spend, an XC40 is sure to delight.
Fast Facts - Volvo XC40 T3 Momentum
Price from £27,610
156hp 1.5-litre 3-cylinder petrol engine
6-speed manual gearbox
0-60mph in 9 seconds
Top speed 124mph
Combined economy 45.6mpg
Emissions 144g/km CO2
Fast Facts – Volvo XC40 T4 AWD Momentum
Price from £32,070
190hp 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine
8-speed automatic gearbox
0-60mph in 8.2 seconds
Top speed 130mph
Combined economy 40.9mpg
Emissions 161g/km CO2
Volvo XC40 – An Expanding Range To Delight, 10th October 2018, 9:07 AM