Practical and plush

K Shivraj
Saturday, 3 March 2018

The Volvo XC40 has a futuristic feel and offers a safe and pleasant ride

The XC40 will soon mark an addition to the range of SUVs Volvo offers in India. Aimed at competitors like BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA and Audi Q3, the XC40 is the first Volvo to be built on the company’s new compact modular architecture platform, co-developed with owner Geely. Forming the basis for ‘40 series’ cars of the future, the SUV is engineered to support hybrid and full-electric vehicles as well. 

With a plethora of safety and driver assistance systems like blind spot detection and cross traffic alert incorporated, the XC40 makes for a versatile automobile. In terms of appearance, the XC40 is refreshing. The hammer-shaped LED head lamps and a bold grill with the diagonal seat-belt with Volvo emblem mark the front. The lines that originate from the front carve out a shape that makes for a chunky and edgy looking SUV. 

The XC40 also has a futuristic feel about it. The taut skin and the chiselled appearance nicely balance the straight lines and a squared-off shape. Highlighting the sides is a sharply rising window line. The rear is dominated by Boomerang-shaped tail lamps. 

Expected to be offered with 18-inch dia alloys in India, the XC40 boasts of a high ground clearance. Inside, the SUV comes across as stylish and luxurious. There are bits like the swoopy door handles which draw attention. Then, there is the frameless rear-view mirror mounted centrally as also the Orrefors crystal gear lever, the retro AC vents, and the meticulously designed adjustment knobs. The steering wheel boss is squarish, and looks nice. It goes well with the squared central dash area, which contains the touchscreen and the air vents. A sense of being well-built is had from the bits that make the interior. The AC vents can be individually shut and the knob with which the same can be accomplished, provides a quality feel. The 9-inch touchscreen is the same Sensus unit as in the XC90. It is crisp, clear and has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 

Offering more than enough space, the XC40 is designed to seat four. The middle passenger seat area is raised and narrow.

There’s also the transmission tunnel hump. Seats, both at the rear and the front are comfortable and supportive. They are engineered for long drives. 

The Harman Kardon system sounds great, and is brilliantly spaced as far as speakers and the sub-woofer are concerned.

There’s a good amount of storage area, including an under-seat tray. The storage space at the rear amounts to a good 460-litres. Fold the rear seat, and it goes up to 1,336-litres. There’s some underfloor storage area too. 

The 190bhp 2-litre (D4) diesel engine (there is a choice of 247bhp, 2-litre petrol T5 engine too) is mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox and an all-wheel drive system. Supplying good amount of power at lower revs, the engine supports good drive-ability in town. If the smooth and linear power delivery helps in city driving, it also aids highway cruising. Three-digit speeds are achieved with ease and the performance feels more than adequate. 

Some diesel clatter is audible. The XC40 feels nice and lively in the dynamic and comfort mode. The shifts happen smoothly. In the eco mode, there is a noticeable trade-off in performance. 

There are two chassis setups — Dynamic and Sport — offered.

The sportier R-Design trim with blacked-out roof and aluminium inlays inside the cabin will come with Sport setup. The Sport makes for sharper handling of the two but the Dynamic is not bad either. It is more oriented towards comfort. Some body roll may be there, but not to the extent of being uncomfortable. 

With either setup, the ride quality of the XC40 is good. Safe, predictable and pleasant is how the SUV can be described. 

Expected to cost in the region of Rs 37-45 lakh when introduced in India by the middle of this year, the XC40 will make a practical, plush and funky choice. Whether it will be produced locally or imported will have to be seen as it will have an effect on the price and some other parameters. The SUV, though seeming to be a four-seater, will also offer good utility value, though on the plusher side.

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