Volvo XC40 B5 AWD

R-Design Pro

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

ANYONE looking for a high performance Volvo XC40 will be impressed by the acceleration time of the latest B5 AWD R-design Pro version.

But a glance at the car's top speed on the spec sheet might leave them thinking it's a misprint.

For while in previous incarnations you would be expecting a top speed of 130-plus miles per hour the latest one has been reduced to just 112 mph. And it's no mistake.

The move is all part of the Swedish company's plan to dramatically reduce serious injuries and fatalities on the world's roads.

So from now on its 112 mph no matter which model Volvo you buy.

For everyone who normally opts to stay within the legal speed limit - unless you plan to drive on the unrestricted sections of some German autobahns - it's no disadvantage. But whether it affects sales remains to be seen.

Either way my time with the XC40 proved what an ideal winter companion it is when snow fell over the Christmas holiday.

We all know they get pretty bad winters in Sweden which is probably why this car is so well equipped to deal with them.

Not only did the all-wheel-drive ensure I never got into trouble while other cars around were struggling to keep going in a straight line but the onboard creature comforts meant winter well and truly stayed outside.

A superbly efficient heating system combined with heated seats meant it was always snug in the cabin while a heated steering wheel eliminated the need for gloves.

And it wasn't just me that was snug but fellow travellers too, as the car driven here also came with heated seats in the rear.

Add to that a heated front screen and a Harman Kardon sound system and you are well prepared for what nature can throw at you.

Admittedly the Inscription Pro model is at the high end of the spec level and therefore carries a price tag of almost £40,000 - "my" model with a number of extras was nearer £47,000 - but you do get a awful lot of car for your money.

Other features on board - many as option packages - included satellite navigation with full European mapping, a panoramic glass sunroof, a reversing camera with 360 surround view and a fully automatic parking system.

On the road the XC40 B5 is quick off the mark, quiet and exceptionally comfortable.

The eight-speed auto box is smooth and seamless while the response to a sharp kick down with your right foot is dynamic.

There are no paddles to change gear Formula 1-style on this model but you can still change gear manually if the mood takes you by pulling on the gearshift to engage manual and then flicking the shift to the left or right to change up or down.

And at the push of a button you can change the driving mode from eco to comfort or dynamic, not to mention individual settings.

There's also an off-road (rough road) mode which only engages below 20 miles per hour. It activates the all-wheel-drive system, the low speed function and the hill descent control while at the same time lightening the steering.

The cabin is spacious and upmarket with its leather-faced seats and nine-inch centre console touch screen.

And Volvo's first compact SUV offers good all round vision thanks to its height which also makes it easy to get into and out off - a major requirement of many motorists.

And being a Volvo it's packed to the gunnels with safety features - including the aforementioned restricted top speed. And where Volvo leads others are inclined to follow.

FAST FACTS

Volvo XC40 B5 AWD R-Design Pro

Price: £39,865

Mechanical: 250bhp, 1,969cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving all wheels via eight speed automatic gearbox.

Max Speed: 112 mph

0-62mph: 6.4 secs

Combined MPG: 36.7

Insurance Group: 29

C02 emissions: 174 g/km

Bik rating: 37%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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