‘What car would you buy with your own money’ is a question we’re frequently asked.  It shouldn’t be an easy one to answer, given the high number of models tested over the last two decades.  At the risk of this sounding like a sponsored post (which it is not).. for practical everyday use and enjoyment (requiring more boot and interior space than a sports car can offer) it’s a close-run thing at present….The Discovery is just so good… But this latest and possibly greatest from Volvo’s current line-up, its XC40 is right at the top of our list too.  


Since its fairly recent launch, it has already snatched awards world-wide from quality competition, so we’re certainly not alone in my sentiments.  Compact, handsome and capable, spacious, safe, economical and versatile – and at a touch under the £40K mark for the First Edition D4 AWD on test – what’s not to like.


This is a car that’s really demonstrated Volvo has its fingers on the pulse design wise now.   The XC40 may be compact, but in the metal it has real presence.   It’s striking, bold, even bordering on aggressive looking, and appears solid and well built too.


The cabins of all of today’s models from this Swedish institution are a master class in clean lines, space and resistance to pop in anything that doesn’t function or give understated and tasteful flair  – and this is no different for the XC40.    It’s a haven of uncluttered calm – which happens to be full to the brim of advanced and useful technology, including Volvo’s pioneering semi-autonomous Pilot Assist system, available on all models, and the Sensus nine-inch touchscreen and voice-activated control systems that allow easy access to the car’s infotainment and connectivity functions.


Engine-wise, this model is a delight to drive.   Its 190hp D4 plant produces 400Nm of torque, available all the way from 1,750 to 2,500rpm, for effortless, flexible performance, even when fully laden and towing. The all-wheel drive gives reassuring grip on all surfaces and even in our typically British changeable conditions.   And, with a raft of innovative safety tech too,  it’s no surprise this is one of the highest rated cars for safety in tests.


The XC40’s relatively compact dimensions make for easy and agile manoeuvring, while the cleverly designed interior provides plenty of space for passengers and cargo.  There are 460 litres of luggage space available behind the rear seats, which extends to an impressive 1,336 litres with the rear seats folded down.


You can specify your XC40 for life in the great outdoors with a wide choice of accessories, including roof boxes ranging in volume from 320 to 430 litres, special carriers for bikes, skis and canoes, and even a dog harness for the back seats.


Volvo’s XC40 is an excellent car.  A cracking all-rounder and one we’d highly recommend.

Volvo Cars

Lisa Curtiss/Luke Penny          Images Luke Penny