Car reviews - Volvo - XC40 - T5 R-Design
Volvo’s appealing city-centric XC40 is a cut above its direct rivals
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3 Sep 2018
By NEIL DOWLING
FROM the people who brought to motoring fundamentalists around the world a string of “boxy but safe” vehicles comes a new wave of cars that bear simply no relationship to the designs that put the Volvo name on the map.
Thanks to a clean sweep of fresh designers and more globally conscious owners, Volvo has transformed from a Euro-centric brand for buyers who wanted something different, to one that slips perfectly into contemporary road traffic.
Along the way it has retained a strong following by the previous generation of owners, and more importantly, picked up a new wave of buyers attracted by the sensibility of the brand, the fir-tree-and-rollmop romanticisms of Sweden, and the environmental ideals earnestly promoted by Volvo.
The XC40 is the fourth family member to reflect these values. It follows the first all-new vehicle released by Geely – which bought loss-making Volvo from Ford in 2010 – in 2014, the XC90. This uses Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture one-size-platform that fits the larger vehicles and has more recently successfully underpinned the S90 sedan, V90 wagon and XC60 mid-size SUV.
Now the XC40 follows through with its version of the platform, this time called Compact Modular Architecture, and to become common to other Geely children, including Volvo, Geely and Lynk & Co badges.
The new small SUV now faces up against the Jaguar E-Pace, Lexus NX, BMW X2, Audi Q2 and Q3, Mercedes-Benz GLA and others. Outside of this pond, it also lures buyers from upmarket versions of SUVs from Toyota, Mazda and Hyundai.
We spent a week with the petrol-powered XC40 T5 R-Design to see how Sweden was faring.
Model release date: 1 May 2018
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