- Published On: 28 May 2018
- 5 min read
Can this small SUV be a volume-seller for the Swedish carmaker?
The XC40 opens the brand to a whole new segment of buyers and Volvo is looking to capitalise on this. This SUV is the first model to be based on the CMA (Compact Modular Architecture) platform, shared with its parent company Geely Auto. The engine, gearbox, infotainment, safety kit and some other bits will, however, be shared with cars like the XC90, S90 and XC60 based on the company’s SPA (Scalable Product Architecture).
The XC40 is longer, wider and taller than the Audi Q3, and has a longer wheelbase too. It’s not as tall as the BMW X1 in terms of length and wheelbase though. The signature front grille with the massive ‘iron logo’ in the centre, and the headlamps with the Thor’s hammer LED DRLs will surely have mass appeal. Since it’s only available in one R-Design trim, there aren’t any chrome bits, instead everything is blacked-out. The 18-inch wheels wrapped in 235/55 Pirelli rubber are stunning and you also have the option of 20-inch wheels. The upward sloping window line at the rear is distinctive. The rear tail-lamps are unmistakably Volvo too.
This single fully loaded variant, called R-Design, gets radar-based safety features like blind spot assist, lane keeping assist, autonomous braking, and adaptive cruise control. It’s powered by a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine in the D4 state of tune (190hp, 400Nm), mated to an eight-speed transmission. This SUV is available with all-wheel drive as standard.
Hop in and the dash is gorgeous, and the digital instrument cluster and the 9.0-inch vertical touchscreen are shared with more expensive Volvos. Bits like the vertical air vents highlighted in chrome and the silver trims on the dashboard and doors, give it a rich air. The volume control and cigarette lighter knobs are superbly crafted. The ‘Lava’ orange felt lining in the bottom half of the interiors add a youthful touch. Quality overall is a class above - the seats are draped in a mix of leather and Alcantara with contrasting white stitching.
The Volvo comes with electrically adjustable seats with the driver’s side getting a memory function too. Getting into the rear isn’t easy but the back is fairly spacious in terms of legroom and headroom. However, it is set quite low, leading to a slightly knees-up position. It’s not the widest cabin, it’s best suited to two passengers. Despite the massive panoramic sunroof, the open-able window area is quite small, so you can feel claustrophobic. It’s a practical cabin – there are huge door pockets and a good amount of space ahead of the gear console, including a slot to charge your mobile phone wirelessly. At 460 litres, the boot is huge and there’s an added storage compartment between the boot floor and space-saver spare wheel area.
This car gets a host of radar-based safety tech like lane-keeping assist, blind spot warning, adaptive cruise control, pilot assist, emergency braking, ESP, traction control, hill descent control and multiple airbags. You also get goodies like auto park-in and park-out, which helps steer the vehicle in and out of a parking space. The 9-inch touchscreen comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay while the audio system is a Harman Kardon unit. The clear virtual instrument cluster displays maps and you also get more features like an electric tailgate, driving modes, auto LED headlamps, panoramic sunroof, four heated seats, dual zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors, reversing camera, all as standard fitment on this trim.
The 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine makes 190hp and 400Nm and it feels energetic and has a strong mid-range. The car can hit 100kph in a quick 7.9sec. Refinement is great, and the silky smooth eight-speed automatic gearbox feels great. There are paddleshifters too. The ride is great but there’s a hint of firmness at low speeds, but the suspension does a good job of flattening smaller road imperfections. Stability in a straight line is great and the brakes are sharp. You even have a function on the infotainment screen to make the pedal feel a bit crisper.
With prices expected to be between Rs 43-45 lakh, the R-Design boasts a massive equipment list, including a host of radar-based safety. Its engine is refined, smooth and the car is, today, the freshest looking car in its segment. The XC40 should be high up on your preference list, provided you have the money.