2020 Volvo XC40 T4 R-Design Road Test Review –

After completing the trilogy for their SUV lineup, starting with the XC40, XC60 and the top of the line XC90 back in 2018, the Swedish car manufacturer decided to give the much awarded hot-looking compact SUV – the XC40 – a mid-life makeover in the form of a petrol powered T4 engine. 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. We, at Motor World India, were amongst the lucky few who got to experience this beauty in the forever exotic locales of Goa. Read on to know just how good the all-new petrol powered Volvo XC40 actually is.

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Exteriors

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 adorning the stylish Volvo badge. 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 through it, highlighting butch looks. The lower section is a mix of all matt and glossy black finish along with tiny and round LED fog lamps placed on the extreme corner which doubles up as cornering lights. The bonnet has soft body lines running towards the face, giving a nice smooth look to the front section.

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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 dual tone finish, which adds to the brute looks of the car. A sharp waistline defines the styling on the side profile.

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The roof is all black which comes with a tilt and slide panoramic sunroof. The black finish continues on the pillars, wing mirrors and the door frames. It has a noteworthy 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 it really is. Boldly inscribed VOLVO badging in chrome is placed just below the rear windshield. There is a  characteristic 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.

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Interiors

Unlike the diesel XC40 which comes in a choice of two interior color themes, the white car comes with lava red with black upholstery, while the red and blue comes with an all black upholstery. The petrol powered XC40 only comes with the sporty all black interiors irrespective of the exterior colour you choose. Step inside the cabin and you notice the 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 look very different from what we’ve ever seen.

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The other key highlight of the XC40 is the all color LCD instrument cluster that is highly customizable as per your liking using different themes available. The three spoke steering wheel is leather wrapped with 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 and then some. This is the same unit that also does duty on the more expensive 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 even on the fly. The gear-shift stick is tiny but stylish with stitched leather wrapping and brushed metal inserts on it.

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The best part in the XC40 cabin 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 panels. This also adds a different dimension to the music quality, enhancing the aural appeal. Audio quality is easily the best in class even better than cars several classes higher. There is also Qi wireless charging (induction charge) dock standard on the long list of equipment. The Volvo specific 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.

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Under thigh support could have been better, but there is loads of head and shoulder room along with a foldable center armrest. The rear passengers also get the benefit of rear AC vents along with Type-C charging ports. 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 and vanity factor. Also on the feature list is ambient lighting, where the user can select from seven different colors as per their mood.

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Engine – Transmission & Drive

The Volvo XC40 gets its power from the 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo petrol engine. This engine pushes out 190Hp @ 4000 RPM and churns out a healthy 300Nm of torque @ 1750 RPM and is BS6 compliant. The T4 engine is mated to an 8-speed Geartronic automatic transmission which sends all its power to the front wheels. Sadly enough, the All Wheel Drive is taken away from the petrol powered XC40 to keep the weight and ownership cost as low as possible. On the move the XC40 feels extremely confident and sure footed exactly like it’s diesel powered sibling. The engine is highly refined and can be barely heard inside the cabin at idling. 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.

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The steering feedback is decent, while it weighs up slightly with the dynamic mode on. The XC40 feels powerful and lively throughout the rev range. The gasoline powered XC40 doesn’t like to be revved hard and gets quite noisy as you build up the revs. The SUV likes to be below 3k RPM and anything beyond that – it feels restricted, choked and gets noisy if you take it anywhere near to the redline. Braking is taken care by discs on all four wheels and it’s excellent to say the least.

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We did some lite off-roading too, with the XC40 at Vagator hills and not once did it show any signs of despair or fear. The vehicle tackled all the terrains with grace and proved that it’s built to last even when the going gets tough. High speed stability is excellent with lot of patented Volvo safety features keeping a check at all times and conditions. The Volvo XC40 was never about out and out performance anyway and it sits right in between the Merc’s and the BMW’s with adequately powered engines(Petrol & Diesel).

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Safety

Volvo is a pioneer in safety features, and the T4 XC40 also comes loaded to the brim, completely blowing the competition away. You get seven air bags as standard, along with hill assist, hill descent control, active bending headlights that turn in the same direction you steer the car, pilot assist, on coming 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.

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Verdict

The Volvo XC40 always had an upper hand over its competition in terms of safety and features and not to forget because it was a late entrant. Dimensionally, the XC40 is larger than its competition. Also, the feeling of safety and security is unmatched in a Volvo. With a fuel efficiency of 14.7 kmpl in real world conditions with the air-con on full blast, the petrol powered T4 XC40 is pretty frugal for its class and size too, even better than its own diesel powered sibling which returned 10.9 kmpl. Again, Volvo will only launch the fully loaded R-Design version of the T4 XC40, which should give it the one-up over its rivals.

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With unmatched safety features, cool and trendy yet distinctive styling, this car is a force to be reckoned with. With an ex-showroom price of ₹39.9 Lakhs, the Volvo T4 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.

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Words – Amit Shelar
Photography – Govind Gadekar

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