There’s something about Swedish design. Quietly unassuming yet luxuriously elegant, it’s something that Volvo has managed to pull off time and time again with every model it brings to the market. It’s no wonder the brand has become synonymous with understated luxury. And that’s exactly what it delivers with the XC40 T5 R-Design.
I had the pleasure of test-driving Volvo’s flagship compact luxury SUV for a week and my only regret is that I had to hand it back. I had previously tested the XC60, and although both are SUVs, there’s no comparing the two – both are in a class of their own. But what I can say is that because of its compact size, I felt more confident driving the XC40.
On any given day taking the car on the long road would have been an opportune time to see how it handles, but because of our current situation, my options were limited. That didn’t stop me from packing the kids in the car and taking little road trips across the peninsula.
One trip included a drive along Victoria Road, from Camps Bay to Hout Bay. It had been raining incessantly for the day. With wet roads and poor visibility, the XC40 did not disappoint. Because it’s an all-wheel drive, the car felt stable on the road at all times, and I also appreciated the fact that the headlights and wipers automatically activate.
She might be a compact SUV, but don’t let that fool you into thinking there’s no power behind her. The 2-litre, turbocharged engine easily navigated the challenging and often steep inclines that Cape Town and Camps Bay have to throw at you.
And as far as fuel consumption goes, the XC40 is pretty efficient with 7.7 litres per 100km (combined). We did a lot of driving for the week and even after, I returned her with half a tank of petrol.
Looks-wise the XC40 is in a class of its own. The R-Design is a sporty crossover that remains true to the Volvo design ethos – big on innovation and expressive design. But it’s the rear tail lights that put it in a class of its own; one look and you’ll know it’s a Volvo.
The interior design doesn’t skimp on luxury either, and here’s where the smart technology comes into play. There’s a cellphone charging dock within easy access for passenger and driver, and extra storage bin in the armrest.
The most impressive feature is the car’s infotainment system. As with the XC60, the touch screen offers satnav, temperature control and park assist. I did have a tiny problem with it though when trying to access certain features – there’s no straightforward, logical way to complete a certain task.
Added luxuries include heated front seats and the Harman Kardon Premium sound system – just a few simple must-haves for any road trip.
Overall, I found the XC40 delivered on style, luxury and handling. It’s a car built for city living after all. But if you’re keen to go off-road and put it through its paces, I reckon you’re better off with the XC60.
The Volvo XC40 T5 R-Design retails from R779 150 including VAT and C02 tax
Visit: www.volvocars.com/za for more details
Engine and efficiency
Engine: 2.0L Four-cylinder Turbocharged Petrol
Power: 185 kW @ 5500 rpm
Torque: 350 Nm @ 1800 – 4800 rpm
Gearbox: 8-speed automatic AWD
Fuel consumption: 7.7 litres per 100 km (claimed, combined)
Emissions: 164 g/km CO2
Fuel capacity: 54-litre tank
Standard feature highlights:
City Safety (includes pedestrian, cyclist and large animal detection and front collision warning with full auto brake)
Driver Alert Control (DAC) with Lane Keeping Aid (LKA)
Intelligent Driver Information System (IDIS)
Road Sign Information display (RSI)
Rear Park Assist
Power driver and passenger seats
Volvo on Call (VOC)
Inductive charging for smartphones
Apple CarPlay & Android Auto
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