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The XC40 is Volvo's first compact SUV that impresses with its perfect blend of drivability and dynamism.

05 Mar 2018

With the constant rage about Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV) being the current buyers' trend and all the fireworks about how crossovers are the next big thing, the Volvo XC40 is a breath of fresh air, indeed, even if it belongs to the compact SUV segment.

With its compact dimensions, the XC40 won't be confused with the XC60 or the XC90 siblings

It, thus, serves as a very strong contender in the market for its segment where other premium peers such as the Audi Q3, the BMW X1, the Jaguar E-PACE and the Volkswagen Tiguan dominate.

The XC40 is the Swede carmaker's first compact SUV after the handsome XC90 and the capable XC60. But while it joins the two to complete Volvo's global SUV lineup, the XC40 differentiates itself from its brethrens from the way it carries itself, inside and out.

Pleasant on the outside, funky on the inside

Based on the carmaker's new modular small car platform, the Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) - which will also underpin all upcoming cars in the 40 series - the XC40 is as trendy as your favourite local hipster cafe.

The cabin, with the Lava Orange trim, is a soothing place to be in

As a result, even if the car you see here follows on from the XC90 and the XC60 SUVs, the XC40 isn't one bit boring.

With the R-Design trim that comes with our test car, the XC40 features a black roof, bigger wheels (our car comes fitted with 20-inchers), front foglamps as well as twin metallic exhaust tips on the outside.

On the inside, you get a clean presentation of buttons and controls via a 9.0-inch touchscreen. And needless to say, the Lava Orange trim that comes equipped with our test car is a sure win-way to have your passengers start a delightful conversation.

A choice of 460 litres of boot space (right) or fold the cover to have three hooks for your bags

Also delightful is how the XC40 adds convenience for the driver. For instance, there's generous amounts of space for storing larger items such as laptops along the long door pockets and 1.5-litre bottles of water in the centre armrest - which happens to nicely integrate a removable trash bin.

Other convenient features include foldable hooks under the glovebox and in the 460-litre boot for hanging your bags and slots for two credit cards to the right of the steering wheel.

Volvo really thought about the XC40's packaging, huh?

You bet. But we reckon where Volvo really focused on was the drivablity and dynamics of the car. To drive, the XC40 undoubtedly continues the recent premises that's similar to the XC60. It remains safe and predictable, but mind you, it's far from unpleasant.

Mated to an eight-speed autobox, the 2.0-litre engine is a hardworking and smooth gem

Exert a fair amount of pressure to the right pedal and the new Volvo will surge forward with the sort of verve that you'll normally associate with sports SUVs, thanks to a healthy dose of 250bhp and 350Nm of twisting force from the 2.0-litre turbocharged powerplant.

More impressively, there's ample grip from the 20-inch Pirellis, which helps you decide whether or not you should throw the car around twisties. With its slightly stiffer setup, quick but light steering and eager throttle, body motions are well in check while change in directions are done so in a capable manner - all without having the need to bargain with pulling power out of corners.

Around town, the positive composure of the XC40 helps the car ride well around broken tarmac and with its compact dimensions, it's always a cinch to manoeuvre around narrow roads and tight spaces.

Ample grip from the tyres means you can practice hooliganism around corners with confidence

You complete me...

No, this ain't no love story, but that's exactly what the Volvo XC40 is capable of doing. Of course, if it's tyre-stressing fun and emotional drama you're seeking, an SUV - compact or not - isn't the right choice for you. In other words, the car you see here isn't made for that, even if it's capable of it.

Instead, it has the sort of tidiness and well-behaved chassis that hits a sweet spot between drivability and dynamism - a trait that ensures all occupants are at ease and at the same time being a hooligan on the road when the need arises.

At $200,000 (as of 23 February 2018), the XC40 is priced slightly on the higher side, but it has proven itself to be every bit a worthy alternative to its German peers.
Also read our comparison article on:
Jaguar E-PACE 2.0 First Edition vs Volvo XC40 T5 Momentum
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Car Information

There's a promotion for Volvo XC40


: $187,000

Engine Type


4-cylinder in-line 16-valve Turbocharged

Engine Cap





185kW (248 bhp) / 5500 rpm



350 Nm / 4800 rpm



8-speed (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)



Top Speed



Fuel consumption


13 km/L

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