In this country when you think of Sweden you probably go straight to Abba, build fight and build Ikea furniture and the super tasty meatballs. But they are also known and have a reputation for building quality and safe cars.
The Volvo XC40 is the smallest and most recent addition to the SUV line-up for Volvo and when it first arrived in 2018 it was praised. It won a car of the year award and is certainly helping change the way the general public look at a Volvo. It’s not just for glove wearing and hats on the parcel shelf people anymore.
I felt privileged to be given the keys to the XC40 Inscription T4 from Volvo Australia and thank them for giving us the opportunity to get behind the wheel of this award winning SUV.
Design ques are something that seems to flow in the blood of the Swedes and the XC40 is no exception. Although the smallest in the range, there is a surprising amount of room inside that doesn’t show from the exterior.
There is a decent height to the XC40 and the sub nose has a rather flat sitting bonnet and with lines that don’t meet the tops of the doors. As the front curves slightly down at the front, it flows into a modern looking grille and nice looking headlights. There is no mistaking it is a Volvo at this point.
From the side it’s sleek and all of the lines flow. It is nice to look at and as the sides meet the rear it has angular tail-lights that site perfectly in the body but pushing into the tailgate. It is a very modern look and the chrome dual tailpipes finish off the look impeccably.
You can spot an Inscription from the outside by its 19-inch ‘Double Spoke Black Diamond Cut’ alloy wheels. While the R-Design grade above it has a two-tone colour scheme with a black roof, the Inscription comes standard as all one colour.
It might be hard to understand how little the XC40 actually is from a photo. When you see it in person it is clear to see that the 4.4m long, 1.6m tall and 2m wide body really fits a lot in for its size.
Although small, there is no issue getting in the XC40 and when it the front seats are some of the best you’ll find in any. Showing that they car for their drivers, Volvo has given a wide range of adjustment for tilt and height, plus four-way electric lumbar adjustment on the driver’s seat and the Inscription also gets a fully electric driver’s seat.
As I said before you do step up and in a bit, even with the height measurements. What this means is that you do sit higher than many rivals. This helps with the feeling that you really are in an SUV and not a wagon or hatch.
It is a minimalist dashboard design which is what Volvo have carried right over this model. Digital instruments are standard and prove easy to read at a glance. There are few physical buttons and they are easy to use and see. Not that the absence of buttons is all good news.
The XC40 dash is dominated by a 9.0in tablet-style touchscreen that has allowed the designers to slash the number of buttons and create a minimalist ambience.
While the idea of a screen that lets you swipe, pinch and scroll – like you do with an iPad – sounds good, it means you really have to concentrate on simple tasks. The screen is not always running at the same speed as what I needed it to. This meant that I needed to look longer or more often then I really should need to.
Still, there is something that screams modern and awesome with a screen like this. It is also crystal clear and there are plenty of features, including standard satellite-navigation and a DAB radio. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring is available as an option.
As far as the design inside goes, Volvo’s minimalism is present throughout the cabin. This cockpit has a stylish simplicity, with a high-quality feel to the materials and excellent fit and finish as you would expect from the Swedes. The Inscription comes with pale ‘Drift Wood’ in-lays on the dash and doors – it’s a light coloured, rough feeling wood. There’s a ‘crystal’ gear knob, plush carpet trim on the doors, charcoal leather seats and a leather-trimmed steering wheel.
The engine in the XC40 Inscription T4 is a 2.0L turbo that runs on premium unleaded, all-wheel drive and paired with an Automatic 8-speed. Volvo give the XC40 a combined fuel cycle of 7.4 litres/100km. Besides the fact the engine sounds a little like a diesel the first time you hear it, the fuel economy is pretty close to claims as I got 7.8 over the course of my week.
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I know that the name Volvo scares off many. Remembering the past and how they used to be in the 90’s will give you nightmares. But it is very different now. The look is modern and looks perfect sitting in any driveway.
Being all-wheel drive and turbo there is plenty of power and lots of safety and grip. It was a pleasure to drive once I worked out how to disable the stop start system. For the price you will be surprised in what is included compared to some of the rivals out there.
I was one that needed convincing before I drove the Volvo XC40 Inscription T4, but having driven it I am now recommending you try it for yourself.
Volvo XC40 Inscription T4 – From $51,990