Volvo XC40 D4 Design

Plus

Volvo XC40 T5 AWD R-Design, 2018, front, action
Volvo XC40 T5 AWD R-Design, 2018, front, static
Volvo XC40 T5 AWD R-Design, 2018, front
Volvo XC40 T5 AWD R-Design, 2018, rear, action
Volvo XC40 T5 AWD R-Design, 2018, interior
Volvo XC40 T5 AWD R-Design, 2018, Sensus display screen
Volvo XC40, 2018
Volvo XC40, 2018, side, action
Volvo XC40, 2018, front, action
Volvo XC40, 2018, side
Volvo XC40, front action 3
Volvo XC40, front action 2
Volvo XC40, front action
Volvo XC40, side action
Volvo XC40, rear action

HOW times change.

Not so long ago, a typical Volvo owner would be middle-class, keep a black lab or maybe two and wear corduroy trousers - possibly with an elastic waistband.

Today, with the new breed of Volvos, he's more likely to be a hipster or a young go-getter in advertising or in the city.

So what's so different to warrant the new clientele? Just about everything actually, including the marque's ownership which almost a decade ago passed from Ford into the hands of China's Geely Holdings.

Newest arrival to the Volvo stable is the XC40, one of the best examples of a compact SUV in an already crowded market.

Looking like a scaled down XC90 or XC60, the proportions and non-aggressive styling work a treat and matched with a swish, high grade cabin the Swede takes the fight right to the German market leaders BMW, Audi and VW.

There's a wide choice of petrol and diesel options, but it's still the miserly diesel that wins most owners' votes despite Volvo's firm commitment to petrol/electric over a longer period.

The D4 AWD (all-wheel-drive) I tried comes with a 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine knocking out a healthy 190bhp and delivering 50-plus mpg in real life conditions with a delicate right foot.

Despite its practical nature and roomy cabin with space for five adults and 460 litres of luggage, it's a nippy performer with acceleration to 62mph in under 8.0 seconds and a max of 130mph. More significant than fast traffic light getaways is the mid-range torque that makes easy work of overtaking.

There's a bit of diesel clatter at tickover but on the move the engine note is muted, adding to the car's refined nature.

Although it's a high rider, there's a nimbleness about the XC40's handling that puts it towards the top of the SUV league. Steering is sharp and responsive and roll angles are limited despite there being sufficient body movement to soak poor road surfaces.

The cabin is a pleasant place to spend time in thanks to some smart design and clever thinking. The door pockets are roomy enough to carry a laptop and a water bottle while the glovebox has a fold-out hook to hang your takeaway curry on or attach a shopping bag.

There's more storage space under the driver's seat and a designated place on the centre console to rest your mobile. The materials used for the dash are tactile and high quality. A nine-inch iPad-like touchscreen above the console operates most functions and works in a logical easy-to-use fashion.

The D4 R-Design comes with leather Nubuck upholstery, sat nav, alloy wheels, power tailgate, LED headlights and 13 speaker sound system. I was less impressed by the lava orange coloured carpet was described as ‘vibrant'.

My car was also fitted with parking camera, park assist and power tilt-slide panoramic sunroof which boosted the price by £1,600. The glass roof really brightened the cabin and seems a worthwhile extra.

FAST FACTS

Volvo XC40 D4 Design Plus

Price: £36,870

Mechanical:190bhp, 1,969cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four-wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 130mph

0-62mph: 7.8 seconds

Combined MPG: 56.5

Insurance Group: 30

C02 emissions: 133g/km

Bik rating: 34%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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