XC40’s a classy crossover
CROSSOVERS are getting classy as Volvo comes on to the scene with its new – and very upmarket – XC40 compact SUV. Pitching in against the likes of the BMW X1 and Audi Q3, the new Volvo is not only packed with innovation it also heralds a new approach to motoring from the Swedish car brand.
Share it with family or friends at the touch of a button, buy into it for a fixed monthly fee or use it as a drop off point for your shopping, the XC40 is an SUV that will go beyond the norm.
It’s Volvo’s third SUV and joins the larger XC60 and XC90 models and will be priced from £27,905 for a petrol version or £28,965 for a diesel.
What’s different is that the XC40 is Volvo’s first ‘global’ car and it sits on a new small model platform that will be shared with its Chinese parent company Geely.
The XC40 also has a world-first up its sleeve with a high-end audio system from Harman Kardon that features an air ventilated woofer to pump up the bass.
Not content with that, Volvo has made the XC40 a well-proportioned SUV that looks the part, can be had as a 4x4 and drives rather well.
To kick things off when the XC40 arrives next spring will be two fully kitted First Edition models costing from £39,505 for a D4 diesel and £40,005 for a performance oriented T5 petrol.
Eventually, five trim levels will be available with a choice of three petrol and two diesel engines, all 2.0-litre and developing between 150 and 247bhp.
Manual and automatic gearboxes are offered across the range but front-wheel-drive will be available only on the lower powered D3 and T3 versions.
We’ve just put the XC40 through its paces with the D4 and T5 engines both mated to eight speed auto boxes and with all-wheel-drive.
These two engines are fitted only in higher specification R-Design and Inscription versions of the XC40 priced from £34,850 for the T5 and £34,400 for the diesel and the real difference between the two is going to be down to economy.
Both pull well, the diesel has an edge in mid-range acceleration but overall the T5 is the smoother and slightly quicker at 6.5 seconds for 0-60 compared to 7.9 seconds. Top speeds are 140mph and 130mph respectively.
Official fuel returns are 40 to the gallon for the T5 with emissions of 164g/km and 56mpg for the diesel with a C02 figure of 133g/km – both respectable for cars with 4x4 set ups and on similar drives we managed to average 30mpg in the petrol and 43 in the diesel.
However, when pushed hard the diesel was noticeably thirstier and closer to 35 to the gallon overall.
With a 12 gallon fuel tank on both versions, real world range is going to be in the region of 400 miles, so not as generous as some.
A sport chassis can be specified with a slightly stiffer ride but the feel in the regular set up is nicely compliant.
Where the XC40 impresses is with the high standard of finish inside and out.
With plenty of concave cuts into the side of the body above sill level and also on the grille it looks a proper SUV – an effect embellished by extra body protection around the wheel arches, under the bumpers and along the sills.
With a two-tone paint option allowing the roof to be finished either in white or black it creates a very distinctive shape.
Inside, the concave theme is continued along the dashboard and into the door linings which not only possess decent sized door bins but are also finished in a carpet-like fabric which extends all the way into the pockets.
Volvo’s Sensus touchscreen display has been shrunk down to nine inches to fit the smaller XC model but it still comes with all the functions available on the bigger SUVs which includes sat nav and a 360 degree camera system with a very handy overhead view which helps considerably when manoeuvring in tight spaces.
Room inside is plentiful and the XC40 is of proper family proportions with a boot that ranges from 460 to 1,336 litres.
On the safety front the XC40 has all the features that have helped the larger XC models gain a reputation as the safest cars on the road with automated emergency braking on top of a full complement of driver aids such as lane departure and blind spot monitors.
There’s also adaptive cruise control and Volvo’s semi-autonomous drive system.
It may be Volvo’s baby SUV but all the features associated with its bigger cousins are included in what must be the class leader when it comes to all-round accomplishment.
TEST DRIVE VOLVO XC40