Volvo turns on the style

ROAD TEST/ Spa­cious, swish and safe, the Swedish firm’s small­est SUV is all the car most fam­i­lies will need, writes De­nis Droppa

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS -

What was once a mar­que known mostly for its safety and con­ser­vatism has come out swing­ing in re­cent years with more styling swag­ger.

No longer does one look at a Volvo as only a sen­si­ble-shoes type of car driven by one’s el­derly un­cle, as de­sign-wise it’s un­der­gone a trans­for­ma­tion akin to Clark Kent chang­ing into Su­per­man. Un­der­neath, the Swedish ve­hi­cles are the safe and steady Volvos we’ve come to know, but the swish new styling has helped them gar­ner a num­ber of awards.

It was the XC90 large SUV that kicked off the re­nais­sance fol­lowed by the mid­sized XC60, and most re­cently the XC40 which was voted Europe’s 2018 Car of the Year.

It isn’t hard to get swept up in its charms, par­tic­u­larly with the mod­ern cabin which in­fuses Swedish min­i­mal­ism with a more so­phis­ti­cated touch than the some­what pla­s­ticky Volvos of re­cent years. As with its larger sta­ble­mates the XC40’s ma­te­ri­als give off a pre­mium vibe with soft-touch plas­tics and classy chrome ac­cents.

This in­te­rior glam­our is paired with a smart-look­ing Sen­sus in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem with a large touch­screen. It’s about as user-friendly and nondis­tract­ing as these sys­tems get, but it’s nice that the car has phys­i­cal but­tons to quick-ac­cess func­tions like the au­dio vol­ume and the win­dow demis­ters.

The XC40’s mod­ern new ex­te­rior adopts the brand’s new styling theme. The fam­ily styling is un­mis­tak­able with those “Thor’s ham­mer” head­lights, but the XC40 takes a play­ful styling de­tour with its up-kinked C-pil­lar,

The XC40 adopts Volvo’s new styling lan­guage with its own ap­peal­ing twist. Right: The R-De­sign ver­sion wears 19-inch di­a­mond-cut wheels.

The cabin lays on a pre­mium feel and the in­fo­tain­ment’s easy to use.

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