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Dublin: 9 °C Friday 23 March, 2018

Review: The XC40 is Volvo's first baby SUV - and it should be at the top of your shopping list

Volvo’s new compact SUV is stylish, safe and good to drive.

Image: Volvo

THIS IS THE all-new Volvo XC40 and it is the first ever small premium SUV from the Swedish manufacturer. It is also the first model to be built on Volvo’s new Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), which it shares with its parent company Geely.

The Volvo XC40 certainly bears resemblance to the larger XC90 and XC60 but it is more of a cousin than sibling as it has its own unique look with an inverted grille, redesigned ‘Thor’s Hammer’ headlights, deep creases in the bonnet and grooves along the doors and a window line that kicks up along the large C-pillar.

It is very modern looking. I am a huge fan of its looks and I think it cuts a dashing shape even if it is a little chunky.

Source: Melanie May

Inside, the cabin has been designed around the idea of keeping everything neat, tidy and clutter free. There are hooks to hang bags to keep them off the floor, there’s a small pop-up rubbish bin and the door bins have been made large enough to hold laptops and water bottles.

There are also clever areas for coins, credit cards, parking tickets and tissue boxes. And an inductive charging area for mobile phones.

Source: Volvo

The cabin also features a personalisable 12.3-inch TFT driver’s information display and a large nine-inch portrait touchscreen infotainment display. Volvo’s Sensus is one of the best infotainment systems I have used.

I love the optional Lava Orange interior fitted to my test car. It is really striking and makes the car interior feel very funky indeed. The materials used in the cabin are lovely and of good quality and the seats are supremely comfortable.

Source: Melanie May

There is plenty of space all round and leg and headroom is good in the back. You’ll get two adults and a child across the rear seats but three adults might be tight width-ways as that middle seat is a bit narrow.

The boot is a very flexible and clever space with a special divider with hooks for shopping. It can hold 432 litres or 1,308 litres with the rear seats folded. As a comparison, the Audi Q3 can hold 420-1,325 litres, the BMW X1 can hold 505-1,550 litres and the Range Rover Evoque can hold 420-1,445 litres.

Source: Volvo

Out on the road, the car handles well and feels flexible and agile. The steering is sharp and accurate and there is little in the way of body roll. The car is well composed even on twisty roads and poorer road surfaces.

Source: Volvo

There is a bit of a blind spot out the back caused by the large C-pillar but thankfully the 360 SurroundView Camera – which creates a bird’s-eye view of your car – makes parking a breeze.

Source: Volvo

My test car was the D4 model which is powered by a four-cylinder, twin-turbo, 2.0-litre diesel engine mated with an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

The diesel engine is a little rowdy at high revs but settles down and is quiet enough when cruising along. There is plenty of power (190hp) and torque (400Nm at 1,750rpm) on hand for swift acceleration and overtaking, of course, the all-wheel drive does help with this too.

Of course, I can’t review a Volvo and not mention the safety equipment, of which there is plenty including the semi-autonomous driving systems Park Assist Pilot, with automatic parallel and perpendicular parking, and Pilot Assist, which controls the steering, throttle and braking up to 128km/h (80mph) and keeps the car within lane markings.

I’ve tried out the Pilot Assist many times and I think it is a great system that makes motorway driving and stop/start traffic that little bit more relaxing and stress-free.

Source: Volvo

The XC40 is a rival for the likes of the Audi Q3 (€36,850), BMW X1 (€39,790), Range Rover Evoque (€41,745) and new Jaguar E-Pace (€36,000).

The new XC40 will be available for delivery in March 2018. The launch model will be the D4 that I tested with prices starting from €47,450.

However, later on in 2018, there will be a cheaper T3 model with a 156hp three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, six-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel drive priced from €38,900.

Source: Volvo

Further models to join the range will be a 150hp D3 diesel with a six-speed manual or eight-speed auto gearbox with front-wheel or all-wheel drive and a T4 190hp petrol with eight-speed auto gearbox and all-wheel drive. There will be a Twin Engine plug-in hybrid model and a fully electric model at some point too.

Overall, the Volvo XC40 looks great both inside and out. And on the road, it is comfortable, easy to drive and manoeuvre with decent steering and handling. The XC40 should do very well for Volvo and should go to the top of your shopping list if you are looking for a new premium baby SUV.

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Melanie May  /

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