It seems that there is no stopping the onslaught from the Swedes these days and we are talking about none other than Volvo, the car company that had earlier built its reputation on safety and turbocharging. With the recent launch of the XC90 and the XC60, which has taken the world by storm and swept the automotive awards, it’s turn for Volvo to now eye the lucrative small SUV segment. What we have here is the smart and practical Volvo XC40.
First Drive of the Volvo XC40 in Milan
Volvo was seen in many movies during the 80′s and 90′s and always featured either their sedan or their station wagon, specifically the Volvo 740 turbo and station-wagon, driven by moms and professors. An image of dependability, reliability though boring image formed with the newer generation. It was then that Volvo upped their game with the C70 coupe seen for the first time driven by Val Kilmer in the movie “The Saint” in 1997. However that did not much help as Ford bought Volvo in 1999 and after years of struggling it was sold to the Chinese Automotive giant “Geely”.
That’s when things started to change, much like with the JLR group after Tata bought it from Ford. The V40 and the V60 Polestar were excellent examples of what Volvo can be. However it was in 2015 with the introduction of the second generation XC90, designed by Thomas Ingenlath and Robin Page and the now icon homage of Thor’s hammer integrated with the day time running lights and powered by a turbocharged and a supercharged 2.0L 4 banger producing a whopping 300 Hp, did Volvo finally come of age.
Things did not stop there as the XC90 was quickly followed by an equally convincing and capable 2nd Generation XC60 which was Volvo’s take on the Compact Luxury SUV category. Now, Volvo seems to be capitalizing on their excellent run, and launched their all new Compact CrossOver powered by a very capable 2.0L 4 cylinder turbocharged engine which produces 245 Hp and and equally impressive 350 Nm of torque. To put it to a tangible perspective, this engine has more power and torque than the present VW Tiguan.
Our first tryst with the Volvo XC40 was at the Volvo Studio, where one can enjoy coffee and get a crash course on the history of Volvo and once convinced can place an order for it right then and there. More importantly its just a great gathering point for the brand and for people to connect with the brand.
How does it look then? Well a quick glace at it and it’s no secret that this is a Volvo. It has all the quintessential Volvo trick bits which makes it a Volvo these days. The headlights and the L shaped rear taillights are just a few large visual remarks.
If the exterior doesn’t remind you of a scaled down XC60, its interior will certainly remind you that it’s a Volvo. The dash remains very similar to the XC60 and the XC90, which is a good thing, as is the gear shifter lever, now it is a lever and not a rotary dial. The 9.0-inch touchscreen, which has become and standard in all Volvo’s these days are also Apple CarPlay and Android Auto ready. One new design element on the XC40 is the extensive use of carpeting. It now not only lines the floor, but also the sides of the center console as well as the panels.
We tested out a couple of engine options including a diesel which is not slated for the Middle East, though its rather torquey. What we will get would be the T5 variant with 245 Hp and 350 Nm of torque. The T5 is an AWD version and the power is put on the road via an 8 speed automatic which propels the XC40 rather spirited all the way to 5500 rpm in a linear manner. 350 Nm of torque is on tap as early as 1800 rpm and is good enough to proper the Volvo XC40 to 100 kmph in 6.5 seconds (claimed).
When you engage “Sport mode”, the suspension tightens up and gives a bit more dynamic range to its driving characteristics, but it’s best enjoyed in “Comfort mode” where the ride is surprisingly plush. Our time with the XC40 was not enough to get into details of its drive and fuel consumption. It was basically a first introduction. But having said that, the XC40 ticks all the right boxes for those who want an alternative to Audi’s Q2 and BMW’s X2.
Pics: First Drive of the Volvo XC40 in Milan
Price and Specs: First Drive of the Volvo XC40 in Milan
|2018 VOLVO XC40|
|Displacement||2.0L, 4 Cylinder, Turbocharged|
|Gearbox||8 Speed Geartronic™ automatic transmission, AWD|
|Rated Output||245 Hp @ 5,500 rpm|
|Rated Torque||350 Nm between @ 1,800 – 4,800 rpm|
|Acceleration 0-100 km/h||6.5 seconds claimed|
|Curb Weight||4200 kgs|
|Fuel Consumption||7.1/100KMS claimed|
|Price (AED)||Starts from around AED 170,000|
|As tested for T5 trim AED 185,000|