There were always two phases to Geely’s rescue plan for Volvo: upgrade the models it already had, then launch a bunch of new ones to push it forward. In its petrol-powered form, the XC40 is a beautifully judged piece of engineering, balancing interior comfort, practicality and design demands with the often-conflicting demands from the engineering teams. It’s not quite the same car as a diesel, though, and it feels quite wooden, stoic and dull with the more economical powertrain fitted up front. However, the T5 petrol is a convincing car. Powered by a 182kW version of the same 2.0l four-cylinder Volvo already uses in the XC90, the S90 and even the new XC60 (coming to SA in mid-2018). The engine should feel lively, too, because at 4,425mm long and weighing 1,684kg, the XC40 gives it the easiest job it’s ever had. It’s not a motor built for speed, but it still manages to drive through to 100km/h in 6.5 seconds and on to a 230km/h top speed. It’s not really the pace it shows that makes ...

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