XC40: Volvo delivers a practical SUV with plenty of upmarket appeal
The plans to thrust Volvo into the mainstream start with the XC40, and it’s very, very good, says Michael Taylor
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 ...