With an ever-growing range of SUVs to choose from, it is getting harder for manufacturers to launch a stand-out product in the class.
But Volvo seems to be a firm that has hit the nail on the head, with its range of SUVs consistently growing in popularity and becoming ever more important in the Swedish manufacturer’s line-up.
Here’s why we think the XC40 should be on your SUV shortlist.
The awards don’t lie
While an individual award could be a one-off, and mean very little, the XC40’s glittering number of gongs is something that’s difficult to ignore.
Just a few of the noteworthy awards the XC40 has won include What Car?’s family SUV of the year, and importantly the 2018 European Car of the Year prize. In the latter competition, which is voted for by motoring journalists across Europe, it managed to fend off the BMW 5 Series, Seat Ibiza and Audi A8 – demonstrating its superb all-round attributes.
Safety is paramount
Volvo is a manufacturer that is undoubtedly one of the leading firms when it comes to safety. It has even set itself a target of having no fatalities in any of its new cars from next year.
This trait is clearly shown in the XC40, and is demonstrated with the lengthy list of standard equipment that comes with it – vastly exceeding many of its rivals. Highlights include autonomous emergency braking, the ability for the car to swerve to avoid oncoming traffic, and avoid leaving the tarmac in the first place – if a driver falls asleep at the wheel, for example. An intelligent speed limiter is also fitted, alongside traffic sign recognition and a driver attention alert that incorporates lane-keep assist.
Unsurprisingly, the XC40 was awarded the full five-star safety rating by crash testing body Euro NCAP, being declared “one of the safest cars on sale”.
It feels truly premium
Volvo was a firm that wasn’t that mainstream, as it often lacked the luxurious and premium edge of German brands Audi, BMW and Mercedes.
But that is no longer the case with the XC40, which feels every inch as premium as rivals, with a superb nine-inch touchscreen and high quality cabin materials making the XC40 feel as classy as cars costing twice as much.
A plug-in hybrid is on the way
Volvo is one of the first manufacturers to develop an extensive range of plug-in hybrid models that span across much of the range, but next in the line-up is the XC40.
This receives its own powertrain – separate to existing Volvo PHEVs – which combines a 1.5-litre petrol engine with an electric motor capable of travelling more than 30 miles on electric power.
Further details on the XC40 T5 plug-in hybrid are expected soon.
Volvo has transformed its image in recent years, from being the maker of practical but unexciting estate cars to having some of the best-looking cars on sale.
The XC40’s design follows the same precedent set by the XC90 and XC60, with the front being headed up by LED ‘Thor’s Hammer’ headlights that give the model a unique presence, alongside large LED rear lights that run the length of the rear window. If you want your XC40 to really stand out on the road, the sporty R-Design grade is the version to choose.