Volvo XC40 T5 AWD First Edition Automatic 


IT'S the 2018 European Car of the Year, that's what it is...


WHEN a car has been bestowed with honours, like the all-new XC40, it's almost incumbent upon the reviewer to try and find the chink in its armour.

After all nobody and nothing is perfect.

It's an exciting prospect and my search started as soon as the car arrived.

It couldn't be as good looking as it appeared in the promo pictures. Surely, there'd been liberal use of the airbrush, sympathetic lighting etc etc.

In the unflattering surrounds of the company car park it stood out like a very attractive sore thumb, if indeed that is a thing.

Clearly, a Volvo, the XC40 nevertheless walks its own line, being distinctive enough from both its own family and the competition.

Under the bonnet are Volvo's own range of Drive-E engines, available in both petrol and diesel form, and tuned primarily, the company says, for the urban environment. Plug-in hybrid and pure electric versions will also be available.

Available in two and all-wheel-drive form, you can also demand a manual or automatic gearbox.

The T5 petrol unit in our test car is the most powerful engine in the range with 247hp and 350Nm of torque. It's a brisk unit, with nought to 62mph coming up in 6.5 seconds.

Volvo reckon this engine will account for just five per cent of sales with the most popular engine being the D3 front wheel drive diesel (40 per cent).

If I am nit-picking, it's not the most aurally exciting and it's also incredibly keen through the gears, but you do get used to it fairly quickly and learn how to rein it in.

The small steering wheel and good turning circle make for a nimble performer in town and it all weights up well on the open road.

For an SUV, albeit it a compact one, it handles the bumps and bends well, only really suffering any adverse sideways movements over the most unkempt of road surfaces.


THE interior of the XC40 is very clean and fresh - rather like its homeland (OK it's built in Belgium, but you know what I mean).

The Sensus touchscreen means Volvo has been able to do away with many of the buttons that can clutter the cabin otherwise. The screen is iPad influenced and means you can pinch, swipe and the like. That does mean that it takes a little getting used to, but persevere and you will be rewarded.

In terms of build quality, the XC40 is ranks as highly as any car I have tested.


FITTED as standard on every XC40: Sensus Navigation, 9ins centre console touchscreen, voice-activated control system, Sensus Connect web apps and internet browsing, Volvo On Call with app, automatic LED headlights, two-zone climate control with 'Cleanzone' air quality system, 12.3ins active TFT crystal driver's information display, Drive Mode settings, City Safety, Oncoming Lane Mitigation, Run-off road protection, 18ins alloys, rear parking sensors, cruise control and speed limiter, height adjustable front seats with multi-directional lumbar support.


IT'S called a 'compact SUV', but don't think that that's shorthand for small. For the XC40 is very generous when it comes to interior space.

All that glass - we had the panoramic sunroof fitted - means it's light and airy and getting your bearings is easy thanks to a well-located seating arrangement.

There's storage space wherever you look - even the doors have space for a laptop, tablet and water bottle. The centre console has space for your mobile and there's a handy storage space for credit cards or change near the steering wheel should you need it in a hurry.

Volvo say the space beneath the central armrest has been specifically designed for a box of tissues, but there'll be very few tears if you buy this car.

The boot has 460 litres of load space and loading is easy thanks to its intelligent design.


VOLVO say you should be able to get 39.8mpg on the combined cycle from our car. I managed 42.6mpg. CO2 emissions are 166g/km.

VERDICT: ALMOST perfect - almost


Audi Q3, BMW X1