Volvo XC40 D3

Inscription

Automatic

Volvo XC40, side, action
Volvo XC40, front
Volvo XC40, front, action
Volvo XC40, side
Volvo XC40, rear
Volvo XC40, rear, action
Volvo XC40, interior
Volvo XC40, boot
Volvo XC40, upright

VOLVO'S third foray into the fast-growing SUV segment looks set to make it a hat-trick of success for the Swedish car maker.

In the wake of the XC90 and XC60 comes the XC40.

It might be the smallest of the three but this is no half-measure SUV/crossover and ignoring its larger stablemates is a distinctly grown-up vehicle in its own right.

It is also pretty individual, not at all like a scaled-down version of its siblings.

The XC40's designers have managed to combine chunky SUV styling with a look that's also very modern and appealing - quite an act to pull off.

As a result it's a car that is immensely practical but doesn't look staid and dull.

A criticism often levelled at SUVs is that they're overly big and bulky - as illustrated by descriptions of Chelsea tractors completing the school run.

The XC40 might be an SUV but it is far from being oversized, while at the same time it's not small car with pretensions to be something bigger than it is.

In many ways it's just right - more than capable of being up to the job as a family motor, yet still feeling light and nimble around town.

The interior is roomy - rear seat passengers are well catered for when it comes to both head and leg room. A spacious boot is also an attraction thanks to that boxy yet stylish rear end.

At one point Volvo was a manufacturer that felt like it was dipping its toe into the premium segment, rather than actually jumping in.

That is no longer the case and the ergonomics, equipment and instrumentation are now up there with the very best.

The central focus is the tablet-style touchscreen in the centre console, which controls many of the car's functions.

Splendidly intuitive and easy to use, it certainly doesn't take long to get to grips with.

An extensive range of seven trim levels is offered.

An entry-level petrol Momentum model costs just over £28,000 and equipment levels are generous.

Buyers get digital instruments, cruise control, keyless start, dual-zone climate control, sat-nav, DAB radio and Bluetooth. LED headlights, 18in alloy wheels and rear parking sensors also comes as standard.

As one might expect from any Volvo, standard safety features are also impressive - they include automatic emergency braking, lane assist and traffic sign recognition.

Moving up through the range, trim-wise there's Momentum Pro, R Design, Inscription, R Design Pro and Inscription Pro.

There's also a range-topping First Edition, a special version to mark the arrival of the XC40.

At around £12,000 more than an entry-level model it might seem like quite a hefty additional outlay but you get a lot for your money.

As well as those extras you'll get from moving up the range - such as electrically adjustable, heated front seats and leather trim - you also get some rather luxurious touches.

They include a Harman Kardon sound system, a panoramic sunroof, leather trim, adaptive cruise control with autopilot, keyless entry, smartphone mirroring and wireless phone-charging.

This model was an Inscription, which sits right in the middle of the range, but comes with quite a few creature comforts and this one had a distinctly luxurious feel thanks to a fair few added options.

Inscription features included leather seat trim, an electrically adjustable driver's seat, front parking sensors, metallic paint, powered tailgate, ambient lighting and wood trim inlays.

A crystal gearlever gives it a distinctly opulent feel.

Among the optional extras was was a bird's-eye-view camera, which seems to defy the laws of physics but is actually immensely useful.

As far as engines go the entry-level unit is a 154bhp 1.5-litre petrol and badged T3.

This comes only as a manual and front-wheel drive.

The 150bhp 2.0-litre D3 diesel is available either as an automatic or a manual and with two or four-wheel drive.

At the top of the engine range T5 petrol and D4 diesel units come with all-wheel drive and automatic transmission as standard.

The overall driving experience in the XC40 is impressive.

The ride is composed and handling generally is more car-like than SUV-like.

The D3 diesel engine in this car proved a sweet and smooth performer.

FAST FACTS

Volvo XC40 D3 Inscription Automatic

Price: £38,945

Mechanical: 150bhp, 1,969cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 124mph

0-62mph: 10.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 56.5

Insurance Group: 33

C02 emissions: 131g/km

Bik rating: 33%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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