The car in our picture is the Volvo XC40 and itís the smallest SUV that the Swedish manufacturer currently makes. Unlike many of its rivals is doesnít just subscribe to the Russian doll principle of taking the biggest car in the range and shrinking it down to a smaller and cheaper package. In fact, itís actually the first Volvo so sit on the manufacturers brand new Compact Architecture Modular Platform which will eventually be shared with Chinese sister company Lynk & Co on a number of its upcoming models. Perhaps whatís of more interest to prospective buyers though is that Volvoís designers have been given enough freedom to design the car in a way that means it wonít be confused with its Volvo XC60 or XC90 siblings by sporting a number of striking design details. All of this is pretty irrelevant really as underneath the super-slick Swedish styling is at heart a family car. Therefore, itís got to be very practical, easy to use and decent to drive. Itís in this article that weíre going to try and find out whether itís any of these things.
Available trim levels:
Interior & practicality
Unlike this carís exterior the XC40ís interior is largely the same as it is in the Volvo XC90 and XC60. However, this isnít a bad thing as it means that the overall design is simple but thoughtful while quality levels sit just below Volvoís best German rivals. Notably, you sit higher than you do in many of this carís rivals, particularly the BMW X1.Physical buttons have been kept to a minimum and much of the carís functions are control by a 9 inch portrait orientation touchscreen infotainment system. The system itself is reasonable responsive and the graphics are quite clear too but carrying out relatively simple tasks like changing the climate control setting while on the move requires that little bit more concentration than if you had a simple dial. Happily however the XC40 has not done away with Volvoís reputation for superb practicality, especially in the front. Here occupant space is ample and thereís some really clever storage solutions such as an integrated waste bin in the front of the arm rest, credit card holders and slide out draws underneath the front seats. You can also opt for a Harman Kardon sound system which is simply excellent due to the fact is uses an air ventilated subwoofer which is cleverly hidden out of sight under the bonnet. This means that the space where it would usually be, in the door pockets, has a much larger storage capacity than youíd see on other cars.
All-round space in the rear is excellent and allows for taller adults to sit comfortably on longer journeys. However, itís worth noting that the door opening is quite tight and also the angled window-line, as good as it looks on the outside, might hinder a childís view outside. The XC40ís boot capacity figures look decent on paper but itís not until you actually see the space on offer that you realise just how user-friendly it actually is. Thereís a nice large underfloor storage area if you havenít got the optional spare wheel fitted and if you opt for the convenience pack then you get some handy fold-out shopping bag hooks too. The overall space is also very boxy and thereís no load lip which means that you can slide heavy items in with ease.
If youíre looking for an SUV that feels sharp and sporty to drive then unfortunately, the XC40 isnít really the car for you. Also, there are certainly tidier-handling SUVs on the market such as the BMW X2 and Seat Ateca.However, if youíre after something thatís pleasant and very comfortable then you donít need to look any further. The ride, even on 20 inch alloy wheels, is very impressive and the light steering and agile turning circle mans that the XC40 feels nimble and manoeuvrable around town which is perfect as itís probably going to be the place where it spends most of its time. The overall grip level is high but if you do break traction then thereís a myriad of safety kit including autonomous emergency breaking, oncoming lane mitigation, run off road mitigation and cross traffic alert.
2.0 lire D3 & D4 diesel
2.0 litre T3 & T5 petrol
The car weíre looking at for the purpose of this article is the all-wheel-drive D4 diesel and it has a nice blend of performance and fuel economy. However, the engine at low speeds can be a little noisy and the 8-speed automatic gearbox can be slow to react in certain situations. All XC40ís come with a Drive Mode selector that include Comfort, Eco, Dynamic and Off-road pre-sets. Thereís also an individual setting that lets the driver tailor each drive element to their own liking.
For a company that made its name producing sensible saloon and estate cars Volvo certainly knows how to make an excellent family SUV. The XC40 maintains its excellent quirky and stylish image yet crucially it still does all the practical bits just right. The end result is that this could be one of the very best compact SUVs that money can buy. Fancy taking a look at some used Volvo XC40 cars for sale? Then head over to DesperateSeller.co.uk for one of the widest selections.