Report 3 Volvo XC40 £34,570 OTR/£41,495 as tested
These past couple of weeks we’ve had a few visitors in the TopGear car park – a Land Rover Discovery Sport, Skoda Kodiaq, Hyundai Santa Fe and Honda CR-V. Ostensibly, they were in for a group test that you can read on page 84, but for me it was a good opportunity to try out some of the other carmakers’ offerings.
Obviously the XC40 lacks the extraseat capability of these four, but let’s just park that anomaly. I only got to explore the Disco Sport and Kodiaq, but what I noticed when I got into each of them was how traditional they felt. How leather-and-plastic the cabins were. The Volvo is so fresh and modern that, put simply, it makes others feel dull and staid in comparison. The unvarnished wood and huge touchscreen are standout features of the XC40 cabin for me. No piano-black tackiness in here. The Volvo is also relaxing to drive, and I suspect part of that relaxation is down to the Scandi cabin, but the engine/ gearbox combo is also very well matched. The Kodiaq and Disco Sport are both very accomplished dynamically and easily capable of the family tasks ahead of them, but the driving experience of the XC40 just works best for my needs.
Which is why, when given the choice of which car to take at the weekend, the Volvo remains my top choice. OK, so cream leather isn’t ideal for country walks, but with judicious welly-boot removal, even that’s not a huge worry.