Volvo’s new compact SUV throws down the gauntlet to BMW and Jaguar

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Volvo’s new compact SUV throws down the gauntlet to BMW and Jaguar

Volvo’s new compact SUV throws down the gauntlet to BMW and Jaguar

The lovely new Volvo XC40 is available with either a manual or 8-speed auto with the option of front wheel drive or all-wheel drive the new XC40 range has a model to suit most tastes.

Prices start at €38,000 for the D3 FWD petrol manual, but watch out higher specification versions and optional trim packs soon push the entry prices to hefty levels for this class.

My test car is the XC40 Inscription FWD petrol auto and prices for this model start at start at €48,150 with my test car topping out at over €53,000 due other options such as a panoramic roof to name but one.

So has it got any street Cred?

Oh yes! The new XC40 is a welcome breath of fresh air. It looks very much like a scaled down version of the lovely XC60, with bold lines and a very attractive and distinctive style. So it stands out from its Teutonic counterparts.

So what’s it like inside?

The cabin looks more designer bespoke than a mass produced vehicle, from the beautiful stitching in the soft leather, to judicious use of aluminium, white ash wood and piano black trim. In addition the huge central portrait touchscreen which allows the driver to operate a host of functions, from audio, climate, navigation, and so forth. What’s more the functionality and ease of use of the menu’s within the screen are an example to all those over complicated systems I see elsewhere!

The standard specification is vast and too numerous to detail here, but items such as City safe with autobrake, Pedestrian, cyclist and large animal detection, with auto brake, road sign recognition, active cruise control, lane assist , “Clean Zone” Air quality system with pollen filters, and much more complete the comprehensive package. Really it beats all its rivals here, with huge levels of active and passive safety.

With a truly sumptuous cabin in the Inscription version, great amounts of legroom and a decent boot/load area it’s a compact SUV that has real poise and grace.

What’s under the bonnet?

My test car was powered by Volvo’s 190 bhp front wheel drive petrol mated to the 8-Speed auto gearbox. Its a nice combination with reasonable if not sparkling performance.

The gearshift is smooth, however I did not like the way it takes two pulls of the lever to get from neutral to drive, or reverse.

Equally if you want to shift manually its a push from left to right which is not intuitive. That said its a refined petrol powerplant. Road tax is €390.00 for the year and on average over my week of mixed driving it burned 7.9 litres of petrol per 100km, about average for the class giving a range of about 500km between fill-ups.

So whats it like to drive?

The new XC40 provers quiet and refined on all road surfaces and equally impressive at soaking up road imperfections. It handles well too on wet or dry roads with though the steering does lack feedback.

The cabin is a lovely place to be and feels special which of course it should at this price point. I like the style with is so different from its German rivals.

So what’s the final verdict?

I can give the new XC40 top marks in all areas. Its a good looking car, looks classy and distinctive, the cabin is beautifully appointed and the levels of standard equipment more generous than most of its premium brand rivals.

The new XC40 is a real hit. I strongly recommend you try it before committing to any of its competitors!

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