2018 Volvo XC40 Roadtest Review
Volvo, the Swedish car maker known for inventing most of the safety features that we know, is now eyeing for a larger market share in India. They are on boost mode with growing sales, dealerships and service networks around the country. Volvo’s next car model to hit the Indian shores is the much rewarded SUV the XC40. With this model, Volvo will complete the trilogy for their SUV lineup, which will start with the XC40, XC60 and the XC90 respectively. Join us as we drive hot-looking compact SUV the XC40 from Volvo in the land of the Nizams Hyderabad.
Food for thought
Volvo revealed the XC40 in September 2017, which later went into production in November that year. The XC40 is built at Volvo’s Ghent plant in Belgium. This compact SUV is the first model from Volvo to use the all new CMA (Compact Modular Architecture) platform. The XC40 currently is the European Car of the year 2018 awardee and a few other global motoring magazines award winner too. India gets the XC40 much before the other countries. Volvo will launch the XC40 in early July in India.
The Volvo XC40 is a true SUV from the word go. The front face gets distinctive Volvo styling with the wide center grill done in glossy black finish and adorning the stylish Volvo badge on it. The XC40 gets full LED Headlights with Thors Hammer styled DRLs like with all current generation Volvo car models. The front bumper is styled with muscular lines running on it, highlighting butch looks. The lower section is a mix of all matt and glossy black finish along with tiny, round LED fog lamps placed on the extreme corner. The bonnet has soft body lines running towards the face, giving a nice smooth look to the front section. The sides get plastic cladding in black around the wheel arches. The XC40 runs on specifically developed tyres from Pirelli with 235/55 R18 spec mounted on five twin spoke alloys in black and brushed metal finish, which adds to the brute looks of the car. There is a sharp waistline that defines the styling on the side profile. There also is a sharp character line that runs on the lower section of the door along with the black cladding.
The roof is all black and also comes with a tilt and slide panoramic electrical sunroof. The black finish is also continued on the pillars, wing mirrors and the door frames. There is a sharp angular body styling that cuts the rear quarter glass enhancing its appeal. Shark fin antenna in glossy black finish adds to the design element of the roof section. The rear designing is very typically Volvo-like, with strip styled tail lights that run from downwards, extending the glow at the end. The tailgate gets a large spoiler that also makes the rear of the car appear longer than actually it is.
Boldly inscribed VOLVO badging in chrome is placed just below the rear windshield. There is a sharp character line that runs across the tailgate and the body panel enhancing the looks. The lower section of the rear bumper is all black and also holds rear fog lamps and right below it is the twin chrome exhausts. The rear bumper gets a lot of design lines running across it, adding loads of style and character here.
The XC40 comes in a choice of two color themes for the interiors, the white car comes with lava red with black upholstery, while the red and blue comes with an all black upholstery. Step inside the cabin and you notice a typical high quality Volvo fit and finish. The all black dashboard is made of premium soft touch material and has a key design element of silver dots placed on the passenger side, along with vertical-styled AC vents making the dash looks very different from what we have seen. The other key highlight of the XC40 is the all color LCD instrument cluster that is highly customizable as per your liking using the themes available.
The three spoke steering comes with leather wrapping and metal inserts. This steering can be adjusted manually for reach and rake. The center console is vertically stacked with the 9-inch-high resolution touch screen Sensus infotainment system. You get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto along with GPS navigation, USB, Radio, phone connectivity features etc. loaded on it. This is the same unit that also does duty on the XC60 and the XC90 handsomely. The XC40 comes with preset driver modes that can be selected using the Drive Select button placed on the dash. The gear shifter knob is a tiny but stylish unit that comes with leather wrapping and metal inserts on it.
The best part in the cabin of the XC40 is the 13 speaker Harman/ Kardon music system that gets some new age surround settings. The subwoofer is hidden inside the air intake, so that there is more space available in the door pads. This also adds a different dimension to the music quality, enhancing it heavily. Audio quality is easily the best in class and is several classes higher. There is also Qi wireless charging (induction charge) dock standard on the long list of equipment.
Typical Volvo sculpted seats come with full electric adjust and electric lumber and under thigh support for the driver and front passenger. The driver’s seat also gets a neatly placed storage bin under the seat. Center arm rest between these seats gets a massive cooled storage bin and a removable trash bin. The rear seating is a bit lower than the front one. Under thigh support could be better, but there is loads of head room and shoulder room along with a foldable center armrest. The rear passengers also get the befit of rear AC vents along with Type-C charging port and also seat heating.
The XC40 comes with the best in class 460 liters of boot space that can be further extended when needed, with the rear seats folding down full flat into the floor. The boot lid gets full electric open and close function, along with leg swipe gesture opening feature adding to the convenience factor. Also on the feature list is ambient lighting, where the user can select from seven different colors as per their mood.
Engine – Transmission & Drive
The Volvo XC40 gets its power from the 2.0 liter 4-cylinder Diesel engine. This engine generates 190Hp and belts out 400Nm of torque. The D4 engine is mated to an 8-speed Geartronic automatic transmission. The All Wheel Drive is taken care of by Haldex AWD, which gives 95% torque to the front wheels in most situations and 5% to the rear wheels. During off road conditions, the torque is evenly distributed on all the wheels via the intelligent AWD unit to bail you out of any tricky situation.
On the move the XC40 feels extremely confident and sure footed. The engine is highly refined and can be barely heard inside the cabin. Not even while it is idling, is the engine noise heard. The driver can choose between Eco, Comfort, Dynamic, Off-road and Individual preset drive modes as per the need. These settings change the drive dynamics of the car, altering the suspension, power, steering and overall feel of the car. The XC40 has an excellent ride quality and feels like a full grown SUV, thanks to its commanding view.
The steering feedback is decent, while it stiffens up slightly during dynamic mode. The XC40 feels powerful and lively throughout the rev range. We did some off-roading too, with the XC40 and not once did it show any signs of despair or fear. The vehicle conquered all the terrains that we put it to test on. High speed stability is excellent with lot of patented Volvo safety features keeping a check at all times and conditions. The XC40 comes with all four disc brakes that have a good amount of bite on them, and feedback is progressive.
Volvo is a pioneer in safety features, and the XC40 comes loaded to the brim. You get seven air bags as standard, along with Hill assist, descent assist, active bending lights that turn to the direction you steer the car, pilot assist, oncoming lane mitigation, lane keeping aid, adaptive cruise control, run-off protection, driver alerts, radar based city safety with pedestrian, cyclist and large animal detection to name a few.
The Volvo XC40 will have an upper hand over its competition in terms of safety and features and also because it is a late entrant. The car is larger than its competition dimensionally. The feeling of safety and security is unmatched on a Volvo. With a fuel efficiency of 10.90kmpl in real world conditions with the air-con on full, the XC40 is pretty frugal for its class and size. Volvo will only launch the fully loaded R-Design version of the XC40, which should help it go one up over its rivals. With unmatched safety features, cool and trendy, yet distinctive styling, the Volvo XC40 will be a very formidable option in the premium compact SUV segment that is mainly dominated by the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and the Mercedes-Benz GLA. Watch this space for the launch news of the XC40 that happens in the first half of July. Pre Bookings are now open across Volvo dealerships where you can book the XC40 at a booking down-payment of Rs.5Lakh.