As the crossover market continues to boom, more premium brands are getting in on the act as they try to stamp their claim on the segment – as Jaguar, Audi and BMW have done so recently.
Here is Volvo’s attempt at a compact SUV, the XC40, and although the Swedish brand states it is not a crossover – rather a smaller version of the XC60 – it holds the same dimensions as one and, can we say, looks fabulous.
Coming with plenty of the safety systems Volvo has built its recent fleet of vehicles on, the XC40 also employs space-maximising concepts to make sure that the footprint of the car is used as wisely as possible.
However, will the smallest Volvo SUV match the success of its larger siblings and also be a market leader when put up against the likes of the Jaguar E-Pace, Audi Q2 and BMW X2? We take a look…
We tested two of the XC40 powertrains on its launch – the T5 petrol and D4 diesel – both of which were paired to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The 2.0-litre petrol was powerful and delivery was smooth, but was a bit noisy and over-zealous with fuel consumption. The diesel on the other hand was a bit gruff at lower speeds, but quietened down at cruising speeds for a much more pleasant feel.
The T5 petrol unit has 247bhp at its disposal that helps it get from 0-60mph in 6.3 seconds and go on to a top speed of 140mph. The diesel option produces 187bhp from its 2.0-litre engine – offering a top speed of 130mph and a sprint to 60mph of 7.7 seconds.Find great Volvo XC40 deals today
Ride & Handling
As with other Volvo models, the XC40 is very relaxing to drive thanks to its excellent ride comfort, well-balanced steering and adequate feedback. Even on the larger 19-inch alloy wheels we tested it on, the XC40 handled rougher tarmac with ease – with only riding over large potholes at town speeds really travelling into the cockpit.
Despite the taller nature of the XC40, body roll is kept well in check as you can navigate corners with next to no hassle, and on the sportier R-Design chassis, it handles itself very well indeed.
Interior & Equipment
Where the XC40 excels is inside, and every other rival in the segment has plenty to worry about. High-end materials are mated with an excellent overall design that makes this car a lovely place to be – no matter what trim level you spec it in. The seats are very comfortable, all of the features fall to hand.
Storage is where the XC40 performs well too, as Volvo’s designer cleverly constructed the interior to optimise the footprint it had available. With the side speakers moved from the doors to the dashboard, that allows for larger door bins than before. The boot is also a very large at 460 litres, but that still allows for more than enough passenger space in the front and rear.
Available in three trim levels, all XC40 models come with LED headlights, satellite navigation displayed on a portrait nine-inch infotainment display and a 12.3-inch dial display in the instrument binnacle. Air conditioning, interesting material combinations and storage solutions are also included as standard.
As is the way with Volvo models, the XC40 is crammed full of safety equipment to ensure your security on the road. Systems like autonomous emergency braking that detects pedestrians and cyclists are fitted as standard, while the Intellisafe Assist pack would add adaptive cruise control for easier motorway driving.
With the range starting from £27,905, the XC40 is one of the cheaper premium crossovers – and considering the equipment you get that’s very good value. With the D4 diesel we tested, it was priced from £35,705, which is good for a mid-range model with a top-end engine.
In terms of efficiency, the D4 unit does well returning 56.5mpg and 131g/km CO2 – leading to reasonable running costs.
In what is the most competitive segment right now, the XC40 breathes new life into the crossover market thanks to its excellent design and good levels of standard equipment. Also coming with an efficient and useful line-up of engines means that it can compete with the best in the segment – even if the car is setup for a more relaxing drive.Save money on a new Volvo XC40 today