Volvo has hit the nail on the head when it comes to design the last few years, clean lines and Swedish flair have made the brand more popular than ever. Their latest car to market picks up on a growing niche, the compact crossover.
There have been lists as long as your arm for the Volvo XC40, with some owners waiting nearly eight weeks before they get their very own miniature slice of Sweden.
To see what the lengthy wait was about we took an XC40 in First Edition trim for a drive.
There’s no denying the XC40 has to be the cleanest, sharpest looking baby crossover on the streets today. Compare it to the now long in the tooth Nissan Juke, and it screams modern sophistication as opposed to gaudiness for the sake of it.
There are some lovely details to be had, the horizontal line from the clamshell bonnet, the concave front grille and kicked up rear C pillar.
You’ll even find detail in the minutiae, like the moniker in the rear pillar, a small rubbery Swedish flag poking out from the passenger side front wing, and there’s even Volvo branding in the rear lamps.
The XC40 is much like a well put together garment, one that has all those beautiful little details you don’t mind paying extra for, the ones that scream quality.
Our ‘First Edition’ was powered by the D4 engine, that means a 2.0-litre diesel making 190 HP and a massive 400Nm of torque. That gives a respectable 0-62 time of just 7.9 seconds, warm hatch territory.
That’s plenty of power in a car this size, and it’s matched with the 8-speed auto ‘box meaning all changes are silky smooth, Volvo really do have the automatic gearbox lark down to a T.
Refinement is one of the high points on the XC40, there’s little engine noise once up to speed, and our 19-inch alloys soaked up many imperfections without generating hideous amounts of road noise.
Body lean through spirited cornering is kept to a minimum, but you can occasionally get a bit of bounce when you find a rough surface or set of undulations. A little work on the suspension set up would iron this out no problem.
The one gripe we had was with the Intellisafe Pro system on the XC40; it didn’t feel half as good as the setup on the XC60. It would wander in its lane now and then, be slow to react when cars were braking, and at times it was even far too harsh on the anchors when it realised it hadn’t left enough time.
Usually the system is sublime, and one of the best we’ve ever experienced, whether it’s a slightly different system in the XC40 built to a lower price point, who knows?
Inside is where you find swathes of that Volvo luxury. Ours was finished with a bright contrasting burnt orange on the lower half of the interior; even the door pockets were carpet lined which is a great way to kill rattles from stowed things.
In the middle, you find a large portrait 12.3-inch infotainment screen. As with all Volvo’s, this houses the majority of car controls, keeping the rest of the dash Spartan apart from a small selection of audio and heated window controls.
The seats are superbly comfortable and clad in a mix of Alcantara and leather, the chunky wheel feels good in hand, and the overall ambience is that of a much bigger car.
Our XC40 was fitted with the Harman Kardon stereo system, as we mentioned on the Volvo V90 review a year or so ago it’s one of the best stereos on the market right now and a must for audiophiles.
Rear seat leg and headroom is healthy but will be on the tight side for anyone 6 foot plus, purely because of the diminutive dimensions of the XC40. A reasonably low, flat, boot entrance makes loading larger items easy enough and there’s a split floor luggage system to help stop things rolling around.
In total, the boot measures in at 460 litres, that’s more than an Audi Q3 but less than the Jaguar E-Pace with its 577 litres.
You can bag yourself an XC40 for £28,310 in entry-level Momentum form; you get LED headlights, 18” alloys the 12.3-inch touchscreen and a 250W stereo as standard. That’s not a bad starting point, prices can soon get rather heady though, and our ‘First Edition’ model came in at a hefty £39,905.
Either way, build quality is high and that exterior is possibly the best crossover to date. If you’re after a baby SUV the Volvo XC40 needs to be in your top three.
Pricing at launch is as follows.
T3 FWD Momentum manual – £27,905
T4 AWD Momentum automatic – £32,055
D3 FWD Momentum manual – £28,965
D3 FWD Momentum automatic – £30,555
D3 AWD Momentum manual – £30,405
D3 AWD Momentum automatic – £31,955
T3 FWD Momentum Pro manual – £29,455
T4 AWD Momentum Pro automatic – £33,605
D3 FWD Momentum Pro manual – £30,515
D3 FWD Momentum Pro automatic – £32,105
D3 AWD Momentum Pro manual – £31,955
D3 AWD Momentum Pro automatic – £33,505
T3 FWD R-Design manual – £29,755
T4 AWD R-Design automatic – £33,905
T5 AWD R-Design automatic – £35,705
D3 FWD R-Design manual – £30,815
D3 FWD R-Design automatic – £32,405
D3 AWD R-Design manual – £32,255
D3 AWD R-Design automatic – £33,805
D4 AWD R-Design automatic – £34,655
T3 FWD R-Design Pro manual – £31,655
T4 AWD R-Design Pro automatic – £35,805
T5 AWD R-Design Pro automatic – £37,605
D3 FWD R-Design Pro manual – £32,715
D3 FWD R-Design Pro automatic – £34,305
D3 AWD R-Design Pro manual – £34,155
D3 AWD R-Design Pro automatic – £35,705
D4 AWD R-Design Pro automatic – £36,555
T3 FWD Inscription manual – £30,405
T4 AWD Inscription automatic – £34,555
T5 AWD Inscription automatic – £36,355
D3 FWD Inscription manual – £31,465
D3 FWD Inscription automatic – £33,055
D3 AWD Inscription manual – £32,905
D3 AWD Inscription automatic – £34,455
D4 AWD Inscription automatic – £35,305
T3 FWD Inscription Pro manual – £31,955
T4 AWD Inscription Pro automatic – £36,105
T5 AWD Inscription Pro automatic – £37,905
D3 FWD Inscription Pro manual – £33,015
D3 FWD Inscription Pro automatic – £34,605
D3 AWD Inscription Pro manual – £34,455
D3 AWD Inscription Pro automatic – £36,005
D4 AWD Inscription Pro automatic – £36,855
T5 AWD First Edition automatic – £40,355
D4 AWD First Edition automatic – £39,305