Volvo XC40

What Car? - - Contents - Steve Hunt­ing­ford Steve.hunt­ing­[email protected]­mar­ket.com FI­NAL RE­PORT

How has our Car of the Year per­formed?

Mileage 8002 List price £39,905 Tar­get Price na Price as tested £39,905 Test econ­omy 35.6mpg

A LONG-TERM TEST is al­ways a great op­por­tu­nity to re­ally get to know a car, but just as im­por­tantly with the Volvo XC40 that I’ve been run­ning for the past six months, it was a chance to see if diesel still makes sense in SUVS.

Con­trary to what you might have heard about diesels be­ing in­her­ently dirty, the best modern ex­am­ples of­ten emit less NOX than petrol al­ter­na­tives. That in­cludes Volvo’s 2.0-litre D4 en­gine, so we were happy to rec­om­mend the XC40 with this at our 2018 Car of the Year Awards. While cheaper petrol mod­els have sub­se­quently been in­tro­duced, I wouldn’t choose one of these if I had my time again, be­cause they can feel un­der­pow­ered.

In­deed, the pres­ence of them in the XC40 range merely high­lights how im­pres­sive the D4 is, com­bin­ing strong per­for­mance with a smooth­ness and quiet­ness that few other four-cylin­der diesels can match. This is de­spite it be­ing linked to a rather slow-wit­ted au­to­matic gear­box that fre­quently lets the en­gine rev higher than it needs to and per­haps goes some way to ex­plain­ing my dis­ap­point­ing 35.6mpg av­er­age fuel econ­omy.

Aside from the fact that you’ll spend more on fuel than you might have thought, the big­gest note of cau­tion I’d have for any­one con­sid­er­ing an XC40 is that you need to try the dif­fer­ent sus­pen­sion op­tions be­fore buy­ing, be­cause these make a real dif­fer­ence to the way the car rides and han­dles. With the stan­dard set-up, there’s less of the side-to-side jostling over un­even city streets that you get with my car’s R-de­sign up­grade, but there’s also more body float over fast, un­du­lat­ing roads. XC40S on stan­dard sus­pen­sion don’t feel as sharp as R-de­sign mod­els, due to ex­tra body lean in cor­ners and higher-pro­file tyres, but those higher-pro­file tyres gen­er­ate less road noise.

Which com­bi­na­tion is bet­ter over­all de­pends on your pri­or­i­ties. But how­ever you spec your XC40, you’ll be get­ting a plush in­te­rior and some of the most com­fort­able and sup­port­ive seats in the car world.

Volvo also ap­pears to have qui­etly up­graded its Sen­sus in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem, be­cause my XC40’S touch­screen was far more re­spon­sive than the one in the S90 I ran a year ago and the voice con­trol less eas­ily stumped.

Add in a host of seem­ingly mi­nor fea­tures that make a big dif­fer­ence in ev­ery­day life – ev­ery­thing from a boot that can be di­vided up so smaller items don’t slide around, to a smart­phone app that lets you re­motely cool or heat the car’s in­te­rior be­fore you climb in – and the XC40 should def­i­nitely be on your short­list if you’re af­ter a fam­ily SUV. Don’t let the fact that a diesel is the pick of the range put you off.

XC40 is sharper to drive with R-de­sign sus­pen­sion

Touch­screen is far more re­spon­sive than ear­lier S90’s

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