Home / Home / Volvo XC40 D4 AWD Road Test Review – Quality Over Quantity


The Volvo XC40 is a compact-luxury, premium crossover based on an all-new platform. Is this small offering just what the company needed for a big break into more accessible segments?

Volvo XC40 Road Test Review

Story: Jim Gorde
Photography: Sanjay Raikar


“Luxury” is a term thrown around a lot these days and many are in debate about where to draw the line. There is a difference between something premium and something luxurious and in that area are many that not just fit in, but have carved a fair bit of space for themselves.

Luxury doesn’t always mean large, but more of a scaled down form of something with no compromise on quality — remember the Aston Martin Cygnet? It may have been tiny, but everything you could see, touch, feel, and experience felt high quality and that set it apart. The crossover, then, has become the darling of many a carmaker, if not every carmaker — after Rolls-Royce and Lamborghini, even Lotus and Ferrari are joining the battlefield, thanks to an inexplicable shift in preference of pretty much the majority of the world’s car-buying market.

The compact luxury crossover, then, is more than a hatchback but less than an SUV or an estate; essentially a hatchback on stilts with some additional equipment added to further its all-road cred. Of late, this body-style has cemented its place in manufacturers’ portfolios worldwide. This blurring of lines between segments has seen modular platforms spawn a slew of models and then some. One of the latest in the arena has been Volvo’s Compact Modular Architecture or CMA and it is what the new XC40 is based on.

The Volvo XC40 is the first new model on the new architecture which also underpins some sister models from their holding company’s up-and-coming arsenal. Sticking to the “XC” nomenclature, which stands for “Cross Country” — since the days of the V70 XC, then the first-ever XC70, and then the XC90 seven-seater — gives it quite the heritage to lay back on as well as some decent sized footsteps to follow in, across varied terrain. The XC40 looks the part. A high 211-mm ground clearance with the recognizable lineage in the modernized design does give it a purposeful stance, albeit in a compact footprint.

The Volvo XC40’s signature Thor’s Hammer LED headlamps bring the party at the front and look sharp as ever. The side profile, accentuated by those large 18-inch wheels with reasonably high-profile 235/55 tyres, has a rising shoulder-line and a familiar trending rear three-quarter panel styling. The rear, though, is signature Volvo, with the sweeping LED tail-lamps marking out those curves well.

The leather-wrapped smart key can be placed in your pocket or handbag and that makes unlocking, entry, ignition, and locking easier. Inside, the Volvo XC40 gets some unique trim, including the “Lava” finish for the cabin elements for a more vibrant appearance. The R-Design variant does have its share of sporty elements as well as chrome highlights and stylized “cutting-edge” aluminium trim inlays. The steering wheel adopts a rather sporty style. The tallish design is reflected in cabin elements such as the shapely vents, sporty aluminium pedals, and, of course, the central touchscreen. The primary 9.0-inch touchscreen interface is the dominating element and controls or displays everything related to any car function except the ignition and door-locks.

Volvo XC40 Road Test Review

Adding to the comforting ambience are the two-zone auto climate and the panoramic sunroof. The Nubuck and charcoal leather seats are typically Volvo comfortable and in a simplistic manner: easy to adjust and even easier to get comfortable in. Ergonomics are a class apart and everything is easily within reach and falls into place naturally. Front seat room is more than adequate and rear passenger room, too, is enough for three average-sized adults. The power tail-gate offers access to a flexible boot: 460 litres as is, with the adjustable floor set low down, and going up to 1,336 litres; enough for a long weekend’s luggage for four and then some. Practicality is definitely another ace up its sleeve.

More on page 2 >


About the author: Jim Gorde


Deputy Editor at Car India and Bike India.
Believes that learning never stops, and that diesel plug-in hybrids are the only feasible immediate future until hydrogen FCEVs take over.

t: @CarIndia/@BikeIndia
IG: @carindia_mag/@bikeindia/@jimbosez


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