Barossa region, South Australia, 2 May 2018: Volvo has launched the third of its trio of SUVs in Australia. The Volvo XC40 joins the Volvo XC60 (see here for our thoughts on that) and the Volvo XC90. We can’t disagree with Volvo’s description. It says the XC40 is a “compact luxury SUV”.

It’s certainly chocka with smart and stylish design and modern conveniences. We put a few dozens of kilometres on the car’s odometer on the beautiful winding roads between Adelaide and Barossa. Volvo explained that the XC40 isn’t a small version of the XC60 or XC90. It is targeted at a younger, sportier market.

Design

Rather than try to describe it, I suggest you have a look at the photos here. Volvo makes the carpets almost entirely from recycled plastic bottles. The only new material in them are the dyes. The burnt orange carpet option sounds lairy, doesn’t it? But it actually looked quite refined. And despite the materials, the carpet was soft to the touch.

There’s a bunch of useful little things in the Volvo XC40 that you don’t notice until you need them. For example, there’s a transparent ticket clip on the driver’s side of the windscreen. Use it to hold your parking voucher or vehicle pass. A hook folds out from the glove compartment lid and can be used to hang that Chinese takeaway, avoiding spills when you go around the corner. Likewise, five hooks in the luggage areas will stop your grocery bags from rolling around.

Volvo XC40

 

The centre console has enough room for a tissue box, and a removable box intended for waste, such as used tissues. (Apparently, this kind of convenience is big in the Chinese market.) There are good-sized door pockets in all four doors. Both front seats have storage trays under them for smaller items that you want out of sight.

There’s USB charging front and back, along with a Qi charging pad for suitable smartphones. There are cooling and heating vents for the rear. I spent some time in the back seat and can attest even with the seat in front of me pushed a long way back, I had plenty of leg room.

Models

The Volvo XC40 comes in two basic models: the Momentum and the R-Design. The latter costs more and has some upgraded and additional features, along with larger wheels (20 inches versus 19) and lower profile tyres. Both come with the same engine options and transmission and both are all-wheel drive.

The turbocharged engines fitted to the cars we drove were petrol powered two-litre models. Volvo rates them at 182kW at 5,500rpm, and at 350Nm of torque from 1,800 to 4,800rpm. Volvo says they can accelerate to 100kph in 6.4 seconds, and have a top speed of 230kph. It rates fuel consumption at 7.7 litres per 100 kilometres.

Volvo XC40

There’s also a two-litre diesel version. You can look forward to hybrids in the future.

Both models of the Volvo XC40 have … well, just about everything the way of driving aids. Some come with the base models. Some come as options. The City Safety module detects pedestrians, vehicles, large animals and cyclists, as well as possible collisions at intersections with “Brake Support; Steering Support”. In other words, the car will jump in if it thinks you’ve missed something. Likewise, it provides “Oncoming Mitigation”. That means, if someone’s coming at you headlong, it’ll try to reduce the violence of the impact.

There’s also adaptive cruise control, Pilot Assist (more on that) and all the good stuff such as smart anti-lock brakes, blind spot warnings, “hill start assist”, “hill descent control”, and airbags everywhere.