Home / Reviews / First Drive / Volvo XC40 T4 R-Design First Drive Review


There’s a new Volvo XC40 T4 with a petrol powertrain, in just one luxurious yet sporty trim level, the R-Design, and we’ve been to Goa to drive it..

Volvo XC40 T4

A quote by Henry David Thoreau resonates in my head as I get into the new Volvo XC40 T4 and absorb its posh new, yet familiar, cabin – “Life is frittered away by detail. Simplify. Simplify.” The beauty of simplicity is like concealed plumbing. There can be a whole lot going on underneath a simple exterior, that everyone may or may not like to see. However, Volvo play a different angle. If one wants a compact luxury SUV from Volvo, this is it.

Volvo XC40 T4

From the outset, the Volvo XC40 T4 felt second nature. Get in, adjust the powered seat. Belt up. Hands fall right in place. Left hand touches the Start button. Right reaches window controls. All is well. Getting out of the hotel, I felt myself fit into the XC40 like hand in glove. The proportions are instantly easy to grasp and the steering wheel weighs up nicely. Since we’ve driven the XC40 before – the D4 AWD diesel thrice and the T5 AWD once – the features were familiar too. The R-Design may be a sporty trim, but it’s just as luxurious as it’s larger siblings, and a mile ahead of the competition in terms of equipment. But, we’ll get to that later.

Volvo XC40 T4

Volvo XC40 T4

The new Volvo XC40 T4 looks just like its diesel twin, the D4 – that’s on its way out – but there are subtle differences at the rear. For one, there’s “T4” badging, and next to it, just the “R-Design” silver badge. There’s no black badge saying “AWD” because, you guessed it, this one isn’t all-wheel drive. Right. The exterior elements to note are the Thor’s hammer-styled full-LED active bending headlights, the sporty R-Design front grille and 18-inch alloy wheels, and the dual-tone paint finish with a black contrast top and the big sun roof look stunning, especially under the warm Goa sun.

Volvo XC40 T4

The interior of the Volvo XC40 T4, just as before, bears top-notch finish and immaculate attention to detail. Every element is well-finished, far beyond its Rs-39.90-lakh price tag to be honest, and the stitching, material quality and overall fit-and-finish are impeccable, with no sharp or rough edges. No corners cut here.

Volvo XC40 T4Highlights in here are the large tablet interface, the premium sound system and climate control that also packs air filtration for the cabin. The seats are ergonomic masterpieces and very supportive. The XC90’s run-off-road protection is inherited here, too. Visibility is also excellent and, in either case, there are a slew of assistance systems that have everything in check. The rear seats offer good space and storage and have their own share of comfort features. The boot is large and the tail-gate is powered, and also opens if one shakes a leg.

IntelliSafe, the suite of advanced safety systems, including City Safety, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Pilot Assist and Road Sign Recognition, is standard kit in the Volvo XC40 T4, mounted in the upper realm of the windscreen. Driving from Cansaulim to Cabo de Rama and beyond, I tried them all – on narrow two-lane hill roads as well as the four-lane new road to Canacona and beyond. The Pilot Assist works flawlessly so long as there are white lane markings on the road.

Volvo XC40 T4

Even on the two-laner, it works, but pulls to the right assuming it’s a one-way. I switched to ACC there and that worked just fine. In fact, with the multi-level distance choices, the ACC, with distance set to two bars, keeps about four car-lengths on a straight road, but, while going down steep descents, it increases that distance by about 50 per cent, and brakes earlier than when it’s in a straight line. Moreover, this system works even after dark. It detected cyclists, pedestrians, even small cattle and dogs; a major improvement to the system in the S60 T6 I’d driven in Pune back in 2011. It’s proper level three autonomy. The addition of active bending headlights with cornering assist from the fog lamps when below 30 km/h or when tackling sharp bends, makes for maximum visibility in the darkest of locations.

Volvo XC40 T4

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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