It got rave reviews in tests, but what’s it like to live with?
Do you want the good news or the bad news first? The bad news? Okay. If you want a new XC40 and you order one now you’ll get delivery next January. On the other hand, that’s sort of good news since it means a lot of people have been impressed by Volvo’s latest small SUV, much as they have done by the XC40’s bigger siblings, the XC60 and XC90.
Sit in the driver’s seat and you can see why people are being wowed by the vehicle. Quality is absolutely fabulous, and you feel you’re in a very well thought-out interior built with lovely materials. It feels very premium and suitable in a vehicle costing £40,000. Which is handy as that’s effectively what this D4 diesel costs, which is the First Edition model.
That gives you as standard R-Design sports trim, a Harmon Kardon stereo, wireless smartphone charging, heated seats all round, and a raft of tech kit. This includes Pilot Assist which allows for semi-autonomous driving by combining adaptive cruise control with steering assistance. Then there’s traffic sign recognition and oncoming lane mitigation – which intervenes if the car wanders across the white line in the middle of the road.
The digital instruments and 9in infotainment system look extremely sleek, and the cabin is proving to be a delightfully relaxing place to be on longer runs. It’s very quiet and peaceful, and the ride quality is truly cosseting while the seats are equally as comfortable.
If we had a niggle it’s that so far the automatic transmission is proving a bit of a pain. Cruising along or driving at higher speeds it’s fine, but at slower speeds the transmission has a tendency to hunt around, often leaving you in a lower gear than you’d like.
Things aren’t helped at all by the small joystick gearlever, which needs to be pulled or pushed twice to get a response as it reverts to centre all the time. That means it needs two nudges to get into reverse or drive. It responds slowly so if you’re trying to do a three-point turn or similar you can end up confusing the gearbox and yourself as to where you are.
But, apart from that, the XC40 is proving every bit as popular as the delivery times suggest. It’s handsome, comfortable, beautifully made and has a style that sets it apart from the more dour German counterpoints. The more hours we’re spending behind the wheel, the happier we’re being. And that’s good news.