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Volvo XC40 review

Verdict

The Volvo XC40 is a strong contender in the market for small premium SUVs. It’s not a revelation on the road, but it strikes a decent blend of comfort and cruising refinement, and offers premium SUV appeal in a small-car package. This allows passengers to enjoy the funky, minimalist cabin and the capable infotainment system.

Factor in competitive pricing when compared to rivals, as well as Volvo’s traditional focus on safety, and you’re left with one of the most appealing offerings on the market. That’s why we made the XC40 our Small Premium SUV of the Year in our 2018 New Car Awards.

About the Volvo XC40

Introduced in 2017, the Volvo XC40 is a mid-sized premium SUV that majors on practicality and comfort while offering bold styling that helps set it apart from its more conservative rivals. Its great safety rating and suite of available active safety systems will appeal to customers, too.

In terms of size and price, the XC40 slots into the Volvo SUV range below the XC60 and XC90, and is offered in Core, Plus and Ultimate trims, although there is a single Start entry-level version featured on the price list.

There’s a similar engine range too, and the XC40 receives the latest mild-hybrid ‘B’ engines from its bigger siblings. You can also buy plug-in hybrid and fully electric versions. Volvo aims to launch a fully electric car every year, as it seeks to make all-electric cars 50 per cent of global sales by 2025, with the rest hybrids. Recharge will be the overarching name for all chargeable Volvos with a fully electric and plug-in hybrid powertrain.

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Rivals for the Volvo XC40 include the BMW X1 and X2 duo, the Jaguar E-Pace, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Range Rover Evoque, Audi Q2 and Q3 and Mini Countryman.

Where the XC40 stands out is with its fresh looks. The chunky lines define it as an SUV, yet its compact dimensions mean it’s no more manageable than a compact hatchback. Under the skin, the XC40 uses a new platform that will also be used for the next V40 hatchback.

Inside, the XC40 focuses on style, with a design-led interior that uses digital displays and quality materials to create an upmarket cabin which can be upgraded with a variety of individual options.

Power comes from a range of three and four-cylinder petrol engines, along with B-badged mild-hybrid petrol versions.

The range kicks off with a B3-badged 161bhp petrol, then a 194bhp B4, while the 247bhp four-cylinder B5 is no longer available. The B3 is front-wheel drive and every version gets an eight-speed automatic as standard, while the B4 is offered with front- or all-wheel-drive. 

The 208bhp Recharge T4 and the 258bhp Recharge T5 plug-in hybrids stick to front-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox, while Volvo has also introduced the XC40 P8 pure electric model with all-wheel-drive and 402bhp.

Volvo previously matched a basic Start trim with the lower-powered 1.5-litre T2 petrol engine to create a single entry-level model, but this is no longer available. There are now three main trim levels – Core, Plus and Ultimate, which offer lots of kit as standard.

The Core model is well catered for, although there is a significant asking price of around £35,000. It comes with dual-zone climate control, 18-inch wheels, rear parking sensors, a powered boot, auto-folding door mirrors, cruise control and digital instruments all included. Also on board is Volvo’s excellent nine-inch portrait-layout infotainment system. 

Plus adds extra kit such as a rear-view camera, keyless entry, a hands-free opening boot, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel and even a heated windscreen.

Ultimate is the plushest XC40, bringing a 12-speaker Harman Kardon stereo system, panoramic sunroof, adaptive Pixel LED headlights and a 360-degree camera view.

For an alternative review of the Volvo XC40, visit our sister site carbuyer.co.uk…

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