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The Volvo XC40: A Tough Little Robot

“Tough little robot.” That is the phrase that designers at Volvo shaped the XC 40 around. This is probably my favourite fact I came across when doing research about the XC40 – partially because I’m interested in robots, but mostly because I can see how the designers brought this phrase to life!

I also realised that a lot of people my age (27) feels that Volvo is a brand for “old people”. Well, allow me to change your mind.

THE LOOKS

During the week that I had the XC40, I noticed something – wherever this car is, it stands out. The Scandinavian design influence is what makes it unique – the XC40’s look is simplistic, but luxurious in an un-flashy way.

Exterior

On the outside, the XC40 really does look tough. The car looks quite wide from the outside like it has broad shoulders. The big 20-inch alloy wheels, muscular front, with a black grille and T-shaped headlights, stands out.

Interior

On the inside, the XC40 looks clean and uncomplicated. You will not find one sharp corner – everything is nice and rounded. The first thing you’ll notice is the big touch screen in the centre console. This is where the driver controls most of the car’s features – only a few buttons can be found slightly below the screen.

The three-spoke steering wheel is one of my personal favourite features – it is beautifully shaped and the control buttons form part of the steering wheel, instead of sticking out. All the surfaces inside the XC40 are covered with quality materials that are smooth and soft to the touch.

THE DRIVE

Engine

I got behind the wheel of the D4 R-design derivative, with a 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine. The engine produces 140kW of power and 400Nm of torque. It is mated to a (sometimes choppy) 8-speed automatic gearbox.

The XC40 is claimed to go from 0 – 100km/h in 7.9 seconds – which is pretty quick!

Volvo claims that the XC40 gets around 5.7l/100km, but I only managed to get it down to 8.3l/100km, which was a little thirstier than I expected.

The Ride

So good! The XC40’s ride is very, very comfortable and easy. The engine is very responsive when you want to go a little faster and the noise from the engine barely makes it into the cabin. A big thing that the XC40 has going for it is all the safety features – it definitely makes the drive a lot easier. The extensive Parking Assist features and Lane Keeping Aid were things that regularly stood out for me while I was driving.

Another feature that I really enjoyed was Pilot Assist with adaptive cruise control. This feature allows you to take your hands off the steering wheel and feet off the pedals while the car drives itself! However, the feature still requires the driver to put their hands on the steering wheel every now and again.

THE FEATURES

Standard highlights

  • City Safety (pedestrian, cyclist, animal, front collision warning with full auto brake)
  • Lane Keeping Aid (LKA)
  • Road Sign Information System (RSI)
  • Rear park assist
  • Volvo on Call (VOC)
  • Wireless charging for smartphones
  • Navigation Pro
  • Apple CarPlay & Android Auto

R-Design support pack highlights (fitted to the test vehicle)

  • Heated front seats
  • Power Operator tailgate
  • Pilot Assist with adaptive cruise control
  • 360° Camera
  • Foldable luggage floor hatch with grocery bag holder
  • Blindspot information system with Cross-Traffic Alert
  • Park Assist Pilot + Park Assist, front & rear
  • 20-inch Alloy wheels
  • LED active bending headlights
  • Harman Kardon sound system

PRICE

The XC40 range starts with the T3 Momentum at R519 400. The vehicle I tested was the D4 R-Design which is R682 200, but because it had some fancy added options, the final retail price came to R766 350. The XC40 has twelve derivatives to choose from though, so there is something to fit most budgets.

For more about the different models, click here.

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Martin Gouws
Martin Gouws

Car Editor

Martin is a TV production person and has been working in the Afrikaans TV industry for 5 years on a number of different productions. He also has a love for cars and has recently started doing his own video car reviews under the name HeyGouwsie! He has a natural creative streak and an eye for details which makes for a great combination.

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