Volvo XC40 – Everything you need to know about the T4 variant

Volvo has always been class-leading in terms of safety, but the current range of Volvos clearly reflects that their equal focus is on design as well. While safety remains their prime objective when making a car, all the new Volvos bring style to the table. The Volvo XC40 was hardly launched a few months internationally before the Indian launch. When it was introduced to our market in 2018, it was the newest and smallest compact luxury SUV on the market. Its chic appeal and brochure-long equipment list bettered the then BMW X1, Audi’s Q3 and Merc’s GLA. It was aimed at a new kind of buyer; someone young looking for a reasonably affordable small SUV. In 2020, Volvo gave it an update by selling it with a new 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine that replaced the diesel unit. So that leaves the XC40 available only in one variant: the R-Design.

You’re XC and you know it

The Volvo XC40 was the first SUV to come based on the Compact Modular Architecture platform, but the little SUV shares its equipment, safety features and certain design elements with bigger Volvo Cars. Thank fully, the Volvo XC40 has an identity of its own, so it’s no baby XC90 or XC60. The signature grille up-front gets the huge Volvo logo with horizontal slats and small versions of Thor’s hammer LED DRL headlights. You don’t find any chrome bits on the car. You get a lot of blacked-out bits, giving it a sporty look. There is body cladding all around and 18-inch wheels. We like how the window line sweeps upwards towards the rear; it gives the side profile a distinctive look. The rear surprises you with those typical, vertically-stacked tail lights and dual chrome exhaust tips. The only new cosmetic addition on the outside is the T4 badge.

Just another Volvo

Step inside, and the XC40 looks and feels just like other Volvo Cars: top-notch to say the very least. Right from the design to the build, everything exudes premium quality and it feels worth the money paid. The dashboard gets a lot of soft-touch materials, along with piano-black accents for the AC vents. The vertical touchscreen is our favourite bit here but the 9.0-inch unit remains more-or-less the same. The screen is responsive, functional and user-friendly – but remember, all your controls are on the screen. The steering and the fully digital instrument cluster are absolutely the same; the seats however, are all-black and gone are the orange inserts from the old diesel version. The seats are amazingly comfortable; the Volvo comes with leather upholstery, great under-thigh support and memory functions on the driver’s side. The heated seats have been deleted. At the rear, space isn’t the best but there’s a reasonable amount of room. The backrest is a bit too upright and rear passengers (the tall ones in particular) will have to sit with their knees up. Even the roofline hampers headroom but the panoramic sunroof rids the cabin of claustrophobia. The XC40 is practical, thanks to all the little stowage spaces around and the big 460-litre boot. In terms of features, the Volvo XC40 comes with radar-based safety assists like adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation system and lane-keeping assist. Then you get hill ascent and descent control, ABS with EBD, brake-assist, rear parking sensors, wireless charging and a reverse camera.

No torquey diesel anymore

The XC40 is powered by a BS6-compliant, 2.0-litre, turbo petrol engine, developing 187bhp and 300Nm of torque. Refinement on starting the engine is fantastic; you don’t feel vibrations and the motor works in a hushed manner at lower revs. Floor it, and that’s when the engine gets a bit vocal past 3000rpm, and anything near the redline will have you in for coarseness. The power delivery is linear, and it’s only after the turbo kicks in, that you feel the surge in power. It gets drive modes like Eco, Comfort, Dynamic and Off-road. In Dynamic, surprisingly, the engine isn’t punchy enough. Maybe this has something to do with the not-so-responsive 8-speed auto ‘box. The paddle-shifters too, don’t make a difference. We find it to be best driven at an unhurried pace. Off-road mode only results in a lighter steering, also engaging hill-descent control. Despite being a front-wheel-drive car, it doesn’t feel agile. The handling characteristics are that of an SUV and that means no fun around corners. However, body roll is masked well and the tyres are nice and grippy. The brakes offer a strong bite and high-speed stability is on point. You don’t hear much in the cabin over bad roads, but the ride doesn’t impress.

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