Volvo XC40 launches as Volvo’s first compact SUV

Volvo XC40 front side view

Volvo’s first compact SUV, the Volvo XC40, has been launched, using a new platform that will spawn a raft of models under parent company Geely.

While initially kicking off with both petrol and diesel models, the XC40’s platform – called the Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) – has been designed with electrification in mind, allowing for both a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) option as well as fully electric powertrain to be released down the track.

Volvo XC40 side view

The XC40 is a unibody crossover, meaning it has a steel monocoque structure, an east-west mounted engine and the suspension is your standard MacPherson struts up front and a multilink rear setup.

With its four-door, five seat layout, it’s a conventional compact SUV, meaning it goes up against the Audi Q3, BMW X1, Jaguar E-Pace and Range Rover Evoque, but of course, being a Volvo, its emphasis is on being the safest crossover in its class.

Volvo XC40 rear view

To begin with, the XC40 launches in two guises: the petrol-powered T5 and the diesel-powered D4, both with Volvo’s “Drive-E” tech.

The petrol engine is a four-cylinder turbocharged unit making 185kW (248hp) and 350Nm of torque. The diesel engine is also turbocharged, with its four-pot unit offering 140kW (187hp) and 400Nm of torque.

Later on, a T3 (154hp), T4 (187hp) and D3 (148hp) will be available, as well as the first three-cylinder petrol Volvo has ever made. All higher output engines (T4, T5 and D4) come in all-wheel-drive with an automatic transmission, while lesser engines get a choice of front- and all-wheel-drive, and depending on the market, manual or automatic.

Volvo XC40 interior

The suite of safety features offered is comprehensive. There is a semi-autonomous mode Volvo calls Pilot Assist, the autonomous braking (City Safety) is standard, while auto parking and a 360 degree camera system make it easier to park in smaller spaces.

There’s also something Volvo calls “Run-off Road protection and mitigation” and a rear cross traffic alert that also brakes if need be.

Volvo’s excellent and intuitive portrait oriented infotainment screen is lifted straight from the XC90 and XC60 (called Volvo Sensus) which gets smartphone integration for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Volvo XC40 seats

Three trim levels will be available: Momentum, R-Design and Inscription.

Momentum can be picked by its horizontal grille vanes, 18-inch wheels as standard, and there’s an optional white roof and mirror pack.

Inside is cloth trim, three USB ports, two zone climate control, rear parking sensors, Volvo Sensus infotainment, City Safety with pedestrian detection, and an “Oncoming Lane Mitigation” function which will alert you if you wander across into oncoming traffic. It’ll also steer you away if need be.

The R-Design trim level gets vertical grille slats, black roof, twin exhaust pipes, and as befitting the name also gets sports suspension, 18-inch wheels with diamond cut finish, and nicer seats with more leather.

Volvo XC40 Harman Kardon

The Inscription option gets a powered tailgate, front parking sensors (in addition to the rear sensors), electric driver’s seat, chrome highlights and woodgrain inserts.

Expect plenty of upgrades on the options list as well.

Of course, there’s plenty of passive safety keeping passengers safe as well. In fact, check out our video of the XC40 in its crash test here.

Volvo dealers are currently taking orders for the new compact SUV.

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About Karl Peskett 435 Articles
A passionate writer, editor and driver, Karl is the go-to man when it comes to four wheels. With stints in television, radio, print and online, Karl has been writing about cars for more than a decade. He drives around 100 vehicles every year and has tested everything from Bugattis to Suzukis. Sometimes on track, sometimes off-road, his focus is on producing objective journalism without fear or favour.

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