Stylish Swede near the top of its class
- Impressive safety tech
- Stylish looks
- Excellent practicality
- Comfortable and refined
- Premium cabin
- Only two engines from launch
- Diesel engine can be noisy
- Not particularly fun to drive
- Large rear blindspot
- Seriously stiff competition
The XC40 is the smallest SUV in Volvo’s range, fitting in below the XC60 and XC90. Built on the Swedish manufacturer’s all-new CMA (Compact Modular Architecture), the XC40 is designed to bring Volvo’s premium brand image to the SUV market.
Rivals include the BMW X1, Audi Q3 and ever-popular Range Rover Evoque. Like its competitors the XC40 is available with all-wheel drive, while engine are petrol or diesel. Hybrid and pure electric versions are also on the way.
Class-leading levels of safety kit
Volvo’s exceptional reputation for safety looks set to continue with the XC40. Although not yet tested by European regulators Euro NCAP, Volvo’s SUV boasts a comprehensive range of advanced safety technology designed to reduce the likelihood of an accident.
Central to this is the standard-fit City Safety pack. Capable of detecting vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and large animals, the technology will alert the driver or automatically apply the brakes if it detects that a collision is imminent.
Petrol and diesel engines available, hybrid on the way
From launch the XC40 is offered with two higher-output engines, namely the 247hp T5 petrol and 190hp D4 diesel. Both come with an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive as standard.
Less powerful front-wheel drive manual variants are set to arrive at in 2018 – including a frugal D3 diesel and T3 petrol.
Spacious cabin and clever storage solutions
Volvo has clearly gone to a lot of effort to make the XC40’s cabin as user-friendly as possible. For starters, there’s more than enough room for four adults (plus a child in the middle rear seat) with head and legroom in the back a particular highlight.
Up front, Volvo’s designers have carved out generous amounts of space for storing larger items such as laptops and 1.5-litre bottles of water. Other handy features include a hook for hanging shopping under the glovebox and slots for credit cards by the steering wheel.
The boot is large if not class-leading, and features underfloor storage and rear seats that fold down completely flat at the flick of a switch.
Comfortable, but not sharp to drive
The XC40 is probably the least sporty feeling car in its class. And while this might not be saying much given its list of rivals its setup is unmistakably comfort-orientated.
Refinement is excellent – even if the diesel engine is a little gruff – while the ride comfort is accomplished even on the larger alloy wheels.
One of the main draws to the XC40 will surely be its high-quality feeling interior. R-Design and Inscription models benefit from the use of materials such as wood and leather, while all cars come with a 9.0-inch central touchscreen and a 12.3-inch TFT driver information display in place of traditional dials.
The Parkers Verdict
Volvo has made a bold entry into a highly-competitive market with the XC40, and it remains to be seen whether it can replicate the success of the XC60 and XC90. Early signs are hugely promising, however, with Volvo producing a stylish, practical, nice-to-drive, tech-filled premium SUV that will surely give rivals from BMW, Audi and Land Rover a lot to be worried about.
The addition of more engines – including a hybrid and pure-electric version – will also add another dimension.