That’s the thing with Volvos. People seem to have fond memories of boxy Volvos of old, such as the 200 Series or 850, and none of the bad memories of idiotic drivers on the roads like, totally hypothetically speaking (cough), they might have of a BMW or Mercedes driver…
Anyway, back to the car at hand. So far, it has done plenty of trips around the M25 and up the M1 to my home, the home counties, proving itself to be an excellent motorway cruiser. There is absolutely nothing of note on these journeys except how comfortable and peaceful it is.
There was a trip to the Shuttleworth Collection, a celebration of heritage planes but also cars, reminding us of the wonders of vehicle engineering over more than a century, helping us to progress to today – and cars as impressive as the XC40.
My partner and I took custody of my niece and nephew for an afternoon, perfectly demonstrating the family friendliness of the car. Two child seats went in easily, both in terms of fitting and size, and my three-year-old niece (“I’m four in November,” we heard a lot) approved of the car. Now that she’s noticed that aunty regularly turns up in a number of different cars, she’s a harsh critic.
Still, she was easily won over by the panoramic sunroof, and even more so when we let her control it briefly. The other weekend jaunt in the Volvo was to Thame Food Festival, full of chutney, fudge and deliciously fattening food. It was also the first chance I’ve had to take my all-wheel-drive XC40 off road. Admittedly, it was some very dry but bumpy grass, so that didn’t push its limits, but it held its own well, with far less juddering than plenty of its two-wheel-drive rivals on uneven ground.
It feels too premium and pretty to want to push the limits with it off road – which is why I predict almost no owners will use it in such a way – but still, it’s nice to know it’s there. It’s particularly comforting when thinking about the winter months ahead and my journeys to my parents on non-gritted hilly country lanes.
This outing of over-eating demonstrated decent space in the back, too. My unwilling friend (as the photo shows) was happy with the XC40’s ample leg room, even if she wasn’t allowed to eat churros in there…
The only negative comment I’ve had so far concerns the price. When family and friends ask how much the car costs and I say “around 40 grand”, their response is “well, it should be bloody nice!”. There’s no like-for-like rival in the Audi Q3 line-up but its range-topping model, the 2.0 TFSI 180PS Black Edition quattro, costs £36,945. Volvo’s ultimate range-topper – one up from ours – is the D5, which in this trim costs £37,320. The point is the Volvo might be a tad more expensive than other premium compact SUVs, but not enough to be a major negative factor in buying decisions.
BROAD APPEAL Getting lots of good attention from friends.
IRRITATING DRIVER TECH Some of its driving assistance systems are deeply annoying.