Volvo XC40 Review, First Drive

Volvo XC40 India Review: The car finally lands on Indian shores and we test drove it before launch to find out if it fits right in the Indian luxury compact SUV segment

Enchanting –

  • One of a kind aesthetics for an compact Luxury SUV
  • Superlative refinement and performance
  • Spacious and high on safety
  • Feature loaded

Unsatisfying –

  • Dealership count low, period

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Volvo worldwide is on a roll. Products coming on the new platform have impressed the masses and decisions made has shocked critics and competition to a good extent. The aim of simplicity in everything is visible and working in this complicated world. The approach in cars and in their details is visible. We have been watching this since the launch of the XC90 in India. Today, after the S90, V90CC, and XC60 we are here to sample the XC40. We did the same for some time in Hyderabad, far away from HQ in Mumbai. How was our first impression of the XC40 in hardcore city traffic, really wide and open roads of the ORR in Hyderabad? Read on.

Styling

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The XC40 design has to be the cleanest with proper SUV stance which includes it being tall and butch looking. At the same time, it has a contrast roof, an upswept window line and a lot of creases and lines on the body panels to make it stand out. There is cladding running around the car, there are large 18-inch wheels at the side which mark it an upmarket SUV for the city and highway road and mild off-roading.

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The grille is typical Volvo which is intimidating and since this is an R-Design and finished in gloss black, it grabs attention with the white color on our test car. Thor’s hammer LED DRL with a large bumper and clamshell bonnet with a lot of muscular touches makes this SUV a proper high stakes car for the millennials as well as the mature crowd.

Interior

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Interior is where Volvo continues to impress with a simple layout of the 9-inch screen in the middle which has three pages of display one of which is dedicated to safety systems that can be turned of or on. The other one is the home page which displays what is on which usually includes music, navigation and much more. The other screen is where you see setting options for everything. The vertical air vents are beautifully crafted and airflow is also spot on which can be easily shut on or off through a very premium feeling small knob on it.

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The small steering wheel with controls mounted for cruise control (adaptive and pilot assist) and controlling the LCD screen at the front where you can see navigation, music, fuel consumption, voice control and control volume and music tracks. Our test car came with an orange and black combination where the orange colour looks like swade but was something else which also felt soft and was made out of recyclable material. The small steering wheel is nice to hold. The gear lever is know operated by wire, the park button is now separately assigned. In terms of features, it gets everything possible in this segment and more.

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Dual Panoramic sunroof, All-Wheel-Drive, rear a/c vents, all connectivity options, Apple Car Play, Android Auto, start-stop button, electric handbrake, auto hold, wireless charger, heat seats, keyless entry, sporty pedals, 13 Speaker Harmon and Kardon audio system which is a great system. In terms of safety, you get adjustable headrest Isofix, 7 airbags, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, pedestrian warning and much more.

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Seats are half Alcantara and leather and they are extremely supportive with fixed headrest at the front and offering extended thigh support. Space in the back is segment best and recline is a bit upright but leg and knee room is ample. Shoulder room is ample as well, but the car continues to be a four-seater, the fifth seat is best used for shorter journeys. Boot space at 460 litres is quite impressive with the kind of space on offer. Volvo has really done everything that it takes in this department to woo customers.

Engine and Gearbox

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The 2.0 litre D4 engine comes from the 2016 Volvo S90 which is without the power pulse technology. So we should expect turbo lag and not much driveability? Not really! The lower kerb weight over its elder siblings and compact dimensions mean it doesn’t bog down to deliver low-end torque. The power of 190 BHP and 400 Nm starts to pick up as usual in the midrange and this SUV just pulls up to 200 km/hr speed without any fuss on an empty highway stretch.

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The low kerb weight helps it give excellent power to weight ratio. Gearbox is smooth, but isn’t the fastest and doesn’t offer sports mode either. There are paddles on the steering for manual takeover, but you will rarely need them. NVH levels are downright superior inside the cabin as you can barely hear anything at any given speed. While acceleration, the typical noise exist, but that too is muted rather well and the noise emitted isn’t clattery either. Power is channelled via AWD system.

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Dynamics

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The 18-inch wheels and 235 section tyres with 55 profile make the ride surprisingly supple for our roads. Sure, the suspension is on the stiffer side but doesn’t get harsh and ends up providing the right balance to do high speeds comfortably and avoid anything that is unpleasant. The steering continues to lack feedback, but it weighs up artificially at highway speeds and is precise enough at any given speed. Steering is light enough to do city duties well. Brakes are really good with excellent stopping power and inspire confidence. All of this makes the SUV roll a bit, but switch to Dynamic mode and there is a stark difference in how it rides and behaves and roll is also well controlled.

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Volvo XC40 Review, Verdict

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Summing it up then, The Volvo XC40 is here to stay for a long time. Volvo makes tall claims with this one and most of them are spot on. Interior, exterior and performance are on par with segment rivals and above some of them. Pricing should be around the Rs 42-44 lakh mark ex-showroom when it is launched in July 2018 and that should make it quite a value for money proposition. Volvo is expanding its reach, is offering simplicity yet tonnes of character at the same time. Compact Luxury isn’t been at its best, until now.

XC40 India Review
  • Design
  • Interior
  • Performance
  • Practicality
  • Features
  • Safety
  • Space
  • Value
  • Dynamics
4.9

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