Volvo XC40

Volvo XC40

Indwe - - Contents -

Volvo’s first pre­mium com­pact SUV, the XC40, re­cently made land­fall and jaws dropped in South Africa. Indwe was there to sam­ple the 2018 Euro­pean Car of the Year win­ner.

Volvo Car has been hard at work over the last few years craft­ing a se­ries of world-beat­ing ve­hi­cles that have global ap­peal, with the fi­nan­cial back­ing from Chi­nese au­to­mo­tive pow­er­house, Geely. As Swe­den’s only re­main­ing car pro­ducer, Volvo seemed on the brink of col­lapse, be­ing handed from suitor to suitor in a game of cor­po­rate pass-along that nearly col­lapsed the brand al­to­gether.

But the XC90 changed all that when it de­buted in 2014, break­ing down bar­ri­ers and smash­ing records for Volvo ev­ery­where. In SA too it snagged the ti­tle of 2016 WesBank South African Car of the Year, win­ning over any critic the brand may have had left.


From the first glimpse of the new XC40, it is clear that the lit­tle pre­mium SUV is fa­mil­ial to the XC90, but with its own un­mis­tak­able charm. With clean Swedish lines and bold an­gles, the ex­pres­sive ex­te­rior is fresh and con­tem­po­rary, but also in­stantly clas­sic.

Volvo’s unique T-shaped LED lighting sig­na­ture – dubbed “Thor’s Ham­mer” – is car­ried over from other re­cent Volvo mod­els. Op­tional high-level LED lights are also avail­able and fea­ture bend­ing lights for bet­ter vis­i­bil­ity while cor­ner­ing.

The be­spoke in­te­rior in­her­its all of

Volvo’s lat­est de­sign el­e­ments, in­clud­ing the 9” Sen­sus Con­nect touch­screen and dig­i­tal in­stru­ment clus­ter. New de­sign el­e­ments like the op­tional con­trast­ing black or white roof, white mir­ror caps and wheels, Ox­ide Red leather and “Lava” car­pets – made from 100 % re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als – will al­low XC40 cus­tomers the free­dom to express a more in­di­vid­u­al­is­tic style.

Be­sides be­ing sexy out­side and in, the XC40 is also a maven of prac­ti­cal­ity. Smart fea­tures like a re­mov­able rub­bish bin, a cubby-hole hook, a ded­i­cated smart­phone stor­age area with wire­less (in­duc­tive) charg­ing, and a multi-adapt­able boot floor trans­form a typ­i­cally clut­tered and some­times messy car in­te­rior into a place of seren­ity and or­gan­ised ef­fi­ciency. It’s Swedish min­i­mal­ism and func­tion­al­ity at its best, com­bined with sen­si­bil­ity – so per­fectly suited to busy South African life­styles.


Volvo model ranges mostly carry sim­i­lar names, de­not­ing en­gine de­riv­a­tive, gear­box type and trim level. The XC40 is no ex­cep­tion. Launched lo­cally with a choice of two trim lev­els – sporty R-De­sign and el­e­gant Mo­men­tum – and two en­gines, D4 diesel and T5 petrol, the in­terim range should sat­isfy most needs un­til the all-wheel-drive and top-of-the-range In­scrip­tion de­riv­a­tives ar­rive later in 2018.

A T3 front-wheel-drive en­try-level ver­sion is also ex­pected by the third quar­ter of 2018.

Nat­u­rally, the range-top­ping R-De­sign de­riv­a­tives carry higher lev­els of stan­dard trim than is the case lower down the model lineup. Don’t think, how­ever, that the spec­i­fi­ca­tion lev­els are stingy lower down the or­der, as the en­tire XC40 range is sur­pris­ingly well-equipped.

On the safety front, for ex­am­ple, the XC40 in­cludes City Safe as stan­dard. This sys­tem senses po­ten­tial col­li­sions, even when in the dark, and can ac­ti­vate the brakes au­to­mat­i­cally should you not re­act in time. City Safety pro­vides three lev­els of in­ter­ven­tion: warn­ing, brake sup­port, and full au­ton­o­mous brak­ing. It uses a com­bi­na­tion of in­stru­ments and sen­sors to con­stantly mon­i­tor sur­round­ing con­di­tions.

Op­tional safety kit in­cludes In­tel­liSafe As­sist with Adap­tive Cruise Con­trol, Pi­lot As­sist and Lane Keep­ing Aid (R19,250). BLIS (Blind Spot In­for­ma­tion Sys­tem) with Cross Traf­fic Alert and Col­li­sion Warn­ing (R6,600) is a must in ur­ban en­vi­ron­ments, as are the var­i­ous parkingas­sis­tance sys­tems front and rear, at a com­bined cost of R19,400.

Sev­eral cos­metic op­tions can also be added to your XC40, in­clud­ing items such as a sports steer­ing wheel with per­fo­rated leather (R1,600), pre­mium Har­man/Kar­don sound (R10,750), smart­phone in­te­gra­tion with Ap­ple CarPlay and An­droid Auto (R4,100), and the pre­vi­ously men­tioned in­duc­tive charg­ing sys­tem for R2,700.

Be­yond the car it­self, the XC40 also in­tro­duces the new Care by Volvo sub­scrip­tion model, whereby cus­tomers can subscribe to a car rather than buy it. The fixed monthly fee then in­cludes ser­vice, main­te­nance, in­sur­ance, and other value-added ben­e­fits. Care by Volvo is un­der con­sid­er­a­tion for in­tro­duc­tion in South Africa with a planned date of mid-2019.


Al­though the hu­man race has sur­vived for mil­len­nia with­out the need for com­pact crossovers, the cur­rent on­slaught of com­pact pre­mium SUVs is set to grow be­cause, to many buy­ers, the pre­mium badge, de­sign, and high seating po­si­tion of these small lux­ury crossovers are far more im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tions than their non­premium, trans­verse-en­gine, front-wheel-drive-based pow­er­trains, and their com­pact ac­com­mo­da­tions. It’s true for the BMW X2 and Jaguar E-PACE, and now for ar­guably the suavest of the lot, the XC40. Grab one be­fore they’re all gone.

Text: Bernie Hell­berg Images © Volvo Car SA

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