VOLVO XC40 Who has big ex­pec­ta­tions? Us, that’s who

Chi­nese-owned Swedish brand’s prod­uct-led suc­cess con­tin­ues with this vivacious SUV

Wheels (Australia) - - Contents -

YOU know the zeit­geist has shifted when an SUV de­buts an all-new plat­form, well ahead of its tra­di­tional hatch and sedan rel­a­tives. And so it proves with the Volvo XC40 – Sweden’s more com­pact fol­low-up to the Coty-win­ning XC60.

Freshly minted in al­most ev­ery area, while car­ry­ing over Volvo’s finest as­sets (namely pow­er­train and mul­ti­me­dia sys­tems), this im­mensely like­able SUV should be mak­ing the Ger­mans sec­ondguess their pri­or­i­ties.

Stylis­ti­cally dif­fer­en­ti­ated from other Volvos while re­tain­ing the brand’s trade­mark grille shape and ‘Thor’s ham­mer’ head­light sig­na­ture, the XC40 is chunky and fun. Mea­sur­ing just 4425mm long yet rid­ing on a leggy 2702mm wheel­base, with a body that swells by 40mm towards the rear to give it a buff stance, Volvo’s Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent of De­sign, Robin Page, likens the XC40 to a Prada trainer – “ex­pen­sive, mod­ern, and more playful in char­ac­ter [than its larger sib­lings]” – which, if your XC40 T5 Mo­men­tum is painted Ama­zon Blue with a white roof like our test car, doesn’t sound like too much airy-fairy de­signer talk.

Pack­ag­ing the XC40 broad and tall has reaped sub­stan­tial re­ward in­side. Front seat com­fort ri­vals larger Volvos for ex­cel­lence of support, yet slen­der back­rests help de­liver baby Tardis-like rear foot- and leg-room, even for six­plus foot­ers. The rear seat it­self is de­cent, too, with good vi­sion and sur­pris­ing un­der-thigh support, de­spite a rel­a­tively short cush­ion.

The rear back­rests fold dead flat (ei­ther via latches at the top or power-op­er­ated but­tons in the boot) while the cargo hold mea­sures 460 litres (if you count the un­der­floor stor­age), con­fig­urable via a floor that con­certi­nas mid-way to pre­vent your shop­ping from up-end­ing,

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