Barely two weeks go by without yet another compact SUV entering the UK marketplace, but this time, it’s a rather special case: the Volvo XC40, which is available to order now, ahead of deliveries in May 2018.
It’s special because it takes much of what the XC90 does – a full-fat SUV that holds little back – and concentrates it into a much smaller package with a more attainable price (upwards of £27,905).
The XC90 is one of our favourite off-roaders here at Motor-Vision, so the prospect of a mini XC90 is a great source of intrigue, and with initial reviews now starting to appear online, we’re keen to know if it’s a winner…
Autocar’s Matt Prior awarded the third addition to Volvo’s SUV lineup four out of five stars and was impressed with the XC40’s look, which reminded him of ‘a little robot’.
He reckoned there were echoes of the now-dead Skoda Yeti (*sad face*) in that it prioritises practicality ahead of overly stylised traits like a swooping coupe profile.
Matt also seemed pleased to note that the XC40 does its own thing stylistically, rather than simply resize its larger XC60 and XC90 siblings.
Auto Express (4/5) described the XC40’s exterior as edgier and more youthful than the fairly mature XC60 and XC90, but it remained quite obviously a Volvo.
While the car was naturally smaller on the inside, Autocar reckoned it was also funkier than Volvo’s larger SUVs, even if some of the higher grade plastics had to be understandably sacrificed in the downsizing process.
Auto Express had lots of nice things to say about the XC40’s cabin, especially its vertical tablet-style touchscreen infotainment system, first used in the XC90.
Despite admitting the system ‘takes a little bit of getting used to’, they liked how quick it was to navigate once you get the hang of things, complimenting the ‘crystal clear’ screen too.
They described the rest of the cabin as ‘neat, functional and very Swedish’ with a ‘clean, uncluttered look’, although they did bemoan the lack of soft-touch fabrics.
Top Gear (TG) noted how the air vents stand out from the dash and deemed it ‘refreshingly bold’ how a major section of the XC40’s door inner was lined in a fuzzy material colour-matched to the carpet. TG hailed the seats as ‘terrific’ and the rear leg and headroom as ‘fine’, which we’ll take as a win.
On the road
Volvo’s engines always link a letter with a number. D is for diesel, T is for turbo petrol, 3 produces around 150bhp, 4 – 190bhp and 5 – 250bhp. With the XC40, we have two diesels – the D3 and D4 – and a trio of turbo petrols – T3, T4, T5.
Now that’s out the way, we can tell you that Top Gear deemed the performance of the D4 and T5 to be ‘competitive’ with a ‘handy mid-rev kick that’s not overburdened with lag’.
However, they did note how all modern Volvo diesels boast a harsh edge that never goes away, while the eight-speed auto gearbox can be ‘a bit indecisive’ and the body’s movements ‘floaty’.
Although they thought the steering had ‘been given strong anaesthesia’, overall, they liked its tidy and relaxing chassis that made it comfortable to be in and at ease with itself.
Auto Express also noted how the auto gearbox wasn’t that quick to respond, as well as ‘a fair bit of road roar from the car’s optional 19-inch rubber and some wind noise from around the A-pillar and side mirrors’.
Autocar’s Matt Prior reckons the XC40 puts the ‘you’ back into SUV, while Auto Express struggled to name anything else in the compact SUV class that offers the same mix of clever packaging, uncluttered interior design, cruising comfort and great connectivity.
So the new XC40 is pretty decent it seems. Have you been impressed enough to want to test drive one any time soon? Let us know below in the comments.