Volvo XC40 First Drive: Can It Beat the Small German Luxury SUVs?
Video Editor: Rahul Sanpui
The Volvo XC40 could well become the largest-selling car for the company in India, if it gets its pricing right on 4 July 2018 in India. The Volvo XC40 is a compact SUV that will go up against the likes of the BMW X1, Audi Q3 and Mercedes GLA in India at a price point of about Rs 40 lakh plus in India.
Volvo is launching the XC40 in just one trim – the fully kitted out R-Design variant – which also has some funky detailing, indicating it's targeted at a younger buyer.
What We Like About the Volvo XC40
- Butch SUV styling with go-anywhere ability
- Two-litre diesel, 190 PS power & 400 Nm torque with all-wheel drive
- Loaded with safety and convenience features and futuristic tech such as Pilot Assist
What We Don't Like About the Volvo XC40
- Rear seat feels too upright, not a chauffeur-driven choice
- Stiff suspension setup may not be to everyone's liking
- The lava-red felt interior option may not appeal to all
Design & Looks
If you look at the Volvo XC40 from any angle, you can tell it’s a Volvo. It gets the familiar Thor hammer headlamps and trademark grille up front. At the rear it has the tall Volvo tail-lamps. It is only when you look at it from the side, you notice how compact it actually is. It is 4,425 mm long – which is slightly shorter than the BMW X1, but bigger than the Audi Q3.
It appears more aggressive, with its squared-off design and 211 mm of ground clearance.
Engine & Performance
The Volvo XC40 comes with a 2-litre, 190 bhp diesel engine that puts out 400 Nm of torque, with an 8-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. But it’s primarily front-wheel drive.
Ride quality is fairly on the stiffer side because it does not get air suspension. It gets a regular suspension, but it is set up on the sporty side.
One feature I really love about Volvos is the Pilot Assist feature. Using cameras and sensors, if you set adaptive cruise control on the XC40, it will follow the car ahead and stay in its lane no matter what. You can also take your hands off the wheel for nearly 30 seconds, even if there's a curve in the road, just so long as there are lane markings.
This is as close as it comes to autonomous driving. But then this is India, so put both hands on the wheel. Thankfully, it also has city-safe automatic braking (upto 50 kmph) where it will come to a complete stop if it encounters an obstacle.
Like all other Volvos, the XC40 also comes with multiple driving modes. You can select Eco, Comfort, Dynamic, Off-road or Individual. But what sets it apart are the interiors.
Interiors & Features
The interior design is best described as funky. It gets a combination of black and red, as well as an option of plain black. The door pads are scooped out and have red felt padding. The carpets too are a bright red – what Volvo calls lava interiors. It does get mixed reactions.
The Volvo XC40 gets a 460-litre boot, which opens electronically either with the key or a press button. What’s interesting about this boot is that it has a flexible floor, which means you can lift the floor up and fold it upright to hang some loose bags.
The rear seat of the Volvo XC40 is fairly spacious in terms of legroom as well as headroom. However, the backrest is a bit upright and that may not be too comfortable for long trips. This SUV is best suited for two adults and kids, but not for the chauffeur-driven.
You do get a whole host of goodies such as dual zone automatic climate control, quite a few cubbyholes to store your stuff, a wireless charging pad for your smartphones and a large panoramic sunroof. Oh, the other stuff is standard – seven airbags, traction control, automatic braking, automatic parking, adaptive cruise control, adaptive LED headlamps, and a 13-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, among others.
Considering the XC40 will compete with other SUVs in the Rs 40 lakh plus price range, this R-Design variant is completely loaded. Can it outsell the BMW X1 or Audi Q3? That depends on whether buyers want the snob value of badges or would prefer a plethora of safety and convenience features.
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