Volvo's new XC40

makes life easier

Volvo XC40, side
Volvo XC40, front
Volvo XC40, side, action
Volvo XC40, front, action
Volvo XC40, rear
Volvo XC40, rear, action
Volvo XC40, boot
Volvo XC40, parking brake
Volvo XC40, display screen
Volvo XC40, sun roof
Volvo XC40, interior
Volvo XC40, upright

ANYONE opting for the latest model from Volvo will find their lives will become a little bit easier - thanks to a unique new package offered by the Swedish car maker.

The new XC40 comes with the chance to sign up for "Care by Volvo", which covers everything from buying or leasing the car to access to the services of a concierge who will happily make hotel reservations for you or book a table for dinner.

And soon you will even be able to have your online shopping delivered to your car's boot without you having to be around.

For a monthly fee the package also covers insurance for up to three people, maintenance and roadside assistance and even the use of a larger Volvo for up to 14 days per year should you need one for your holidays.

XC40 models are only just being delivered to the first customers so initially Care by Volvo will only apply to those people who live within the M25 but it will soon be rolled out to the rest of the country. But at £629 per month it's not for everyone.

The car, on the other hand, does offer something for everyone with the option of petrol or diesel engines, two or four-wheel-drive and three trim levels - Momentum, R-design and Inscription.

Orders are already running at double the expected rate so for the XC40 - recently named European car of the Year - the future already looks rosy.

The smaller brother - although hardly small - of the award winning XC60 it will range in price from £27,905 for the entry level, 156bhp, front-wheel-drive T3 Momentum model up to just over £36,000 for the flagship 247bhp, all-wheel-drive T5 Inscription model with an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Early buyers, however, are currently getting their hands on the lavishly equipped First Editions versions - the first models to come into the country - which come with a host of extra equipment worth more than £5,000.

This includes a panoramic sunroof, automatic parking, parking cameras with a 360 degree surround view, power operated tailgate and heated rear seats. First Edition models are priced at £39,505 for athe190bhp D4 diesel and £40,005 for T5 petrol.

Taking the opportunity to try out both diesel and petrol First Edition models I was hard pressed to decide which appealed to me the most.

Both come with 2.0-litre engines and eight speed automatic gearboxes and both come with that feeling of quality that has now become synonymous with Volvo.

As you would expect the petrol version has the edge where acceleration is concerned, hitting 62 miles per hour in just 6.5 seconds and going on to a top speed of 140mph.

The diesel, on the other hand, will hit 62mph in an impressive 7.9 seconds and go on to a top speed of 130mph and certainly has the edge in mid range performance.

For a lot of people it might just come down to running costs and here the diesel is king with average fuel consumption of 55.4 miles per gallon against the T5's still reasonable 39.2mpg.

On the road both cars are impressively quiet and refined and despite the typically high stance of an suv they hold the road and corner superbly.

And while the XC40 is the smallest of Volvo's trio of XC models it's very spacious with enough legroom for rear seat passengers to fully stretch their legs.

The interior design is elegant and modern - as you would expect from a Swedish company - and features a nine-inch iPad-like touch screen to operate most on-board functions.

Under the tailgate there's a generous 460 litres of luggage space increasing to 1,136 litres with the rear seatbacks folded and I liked the clever floor system which concertinas to stop shopping bags rolling around.

I also liked the two-tone paintwork on some models with the choice of a black or white roof, both of which add to the already bold looks of the car.

It's clear that in the world of compact suvs the new Volvo XC40 is now the car to beat.

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