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Something different from Volvo

 
Created on 24/08/2018 @ 08:54
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Test Drive by Graham Breeze

The new XC40 is like no other Volvo I have driven – little wonder then that it was named European Car Of The Year ahead of the Geneva Motor Show.

Big, brash, tough and safe are words normally associated with the brand but Volvo’s eagerly awaited first time entry into the small SUV crossover sector is something completely different from the Swedish manufacturer.

Yes, it’s packed with all the safety equipment you would expect from Volvo, but the XC40 also manages to be a high-spec and dynamic new alternative in a sector containing DS7, Jaguar E-Pace, BMW X1 and Audi Q3.

Every new car launch brings new gimmicks or Unique Selling Points(USP) as the marketing guys like to label them and the XC40 is no different. In this case it’s a new car-sharing feature.

Enabled via Volvo’s digital key technology and its connected services platform, Volvo On Call, XC40 owners can simply share their car with family and friends without having to hand over a physical key.

And in another first, the XC40 launches the company’s new subscription service, Care by Volvo, which offers car access via a monthly flat-fee subscription rather than ownership.

“Care by Volvo makes having a car as transparent, easy and hassle free as having a mobile phone,” said a spokesman.

The XC40 is the first model on Volvo Cars’ new compact modular vehicle architecture (CMA), which will underpin all upcoming cars in the 40 series, including fully electrified vehicles which the company has committed to.

You won’t drive a safer car than a Volvo and this model has driver-assistance features including Pilot Assist, City Safety, Run-off Road Protection and Mitigation, Cross Traffic Alert with brake support, and the 360° camera that helps drivers manoeuvre their car into tight parking spaces.

The XC40 also offers practical interior design and storage ideas, with more functional storage space in the doors and under the seats, a special space for phones, including inductive charging, a foldout hook for small bags, plus a removable waste bin in the tunnel console.

Equipment levels mirror bigger brothers in the Volvo family. Entry-level cars get Volvo’s 9inch portrait-oriented touchscreen infotainment system as standard, 12inch configurable digital instruments, 18inch alloy wheels and LED headlights.

First Edition cars also get Pilot Assist lane-keeping system, a powered tailgate, a 13-speaker audio system and plenty of other expensive trappings. 

We tested the D4 AWD First Edition in eight-speed automatic format which would set you back just a few quid short of £40,000 but the range does start at £27,905 – and you get a lot for your money.

The test car came with a panoramic sun roof and curtain, an amazing 360-degree parking camera that I wanted to keep and a parking assist system which I didn’t pluck up the courage to use.

Pilot Assist, cruise control, blind spot information, cross traffic alert with autobrake and rear collision mitigation were also included.

First Edition gets 19inch alloys, heated steering wheel, electric front seats, heated seats all-round, gear shift paddles and auto-dimming exterior mirrors.

There’s a top speed of 130mph and 0-62mph in just 7.9 seconds from the two-litre, four-cylinder engine - producing a comfortable and stable ride around town and on the motorway. Combined fuel figures of 55.4mpg on the combined cycle are competitive as are C02 levels of 135g/km.

In 2017, the company announced its commitment to electrify all Volvo Cars launched from 2019. In line with this leadership position in electrification, a hybridised as well as a pure electric powertrain option for the XC40 will be added later.

This is a good looking, extremely comfortable and practical new offering from Volvo and it ticks every box you could ask for in the small SUV sector. Well worth a test drive.

 

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