Earlier this week, I headed up to Johannesburg for the local launch of Volvo's first premium compact SUV, the XC40 which was also recently named the 2018 European Car of the Year.
What’s it like?
Well, bearing the 2018 European Car of the Year title, you can only imagine that it's beautiful, comfortable, safe, and smart. Everything you'd expect from the car manufacturer.
Our Amazon Blue T5 Geartronic Momentum version definitely left a lasting first impression. Apart from stunning, smooth looks, the XC40's ride quality is excellent - though the vehicle is solid, it is light and therefore extremely agile and easy to manoeuvre. Less understeer results in more accurate cornering.
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For a premium compact SUV, the Volvo XC40 has quite a fun side to it as well. I couldn't really pinpoint anything about the design that I disliked. It's beautiful. It sports an interesting optional contrasting black or white roof, white mirror caps and wheels, Oxide Red leather and ‘lava’ carpets, which are made from 100% recycled materials (#browniepoints) for those who'd like to tailor their vehicle according to their personality.
Not that I'd personally choose the 'lava' carpets necessarily... Although, it could take 'the floor is lava
' to a whole new level.*
On to the technology, the car is pretty well-equipped with everything from visual park assist 360º cameras which, during low-speed manoeuvres, provide you with additional information relating to the car's surroundings. A birds-eye view of the car is provided via four hidden cameras, digitally stitched together to create a seamless image on the centre screen.
With the help of all these cameras and smart technology, it can even park itself with 'park pilot' in extremely tight parking spots. The car prompts the driver to control the throttle, braking, and gear inputs. I mean, bring it on, small-street, tight parking capital, Cape Town!
What about engine and safety stuff?
The T5 Geartronic AWD Momentum with its eight-speed automatic gearbox has a four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine which delivers 185kW of power and 350Nm of torque.
The Volvo XC40 launches in SA with a choice of two trim levels (the sporty R-Design and elegant Momentum), two engines (D4 diesel or T5 petrol), and all-wheel drive on all models. Top-of-the-range inscription derivatives arrive later in 2018, as well as the T3 front-wheel drive version.
Safety and driver assistance features on the XC40 include a 'pilot assist' system, 'city safety' which senses potential collisions, 'run-off road' protection and mitigation, lane keeping aid and cross traffic alert with brake support. The pedestrian, cyclist and large animal detection technology detects and automatically brakes the vehicle should any of the aforementioned step/swerve/jump out in front of the car.
Another really great feature of the XC40 is its airbags that adapt their level of inflation based on the impact of a collision.
The XC40 has ample space. The designers put plenty of thought into using space cleverly, with nifty storage spots in all the right places throughout the vehicle. These include things like a removable rubbish bin, under-seat storage drawer, a dedicated smartphone storage area with wireless (inductive) charging, and a multi-adaptable boot floor, among others.
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How many bucks?
The T5 Geartronic AWD Momentum comes with a price tag of R610,900 (VAT and CO2 tax incl.) which includes a five-year/100,000km warranty and five-year/100,000km full maintenance plan. The 115 kW three-cylinder 1,5-litre T3 manual that is due to arrive later this year, however, will retail for just under R490,000.
According to Greg Maruszewski, MD Volvo Car South Africa, the new Volvo XC40 is equipped with a higher level of standard specification than any of its competitors.
So, looking at safety, spaciousness, ride quality, and capability - if it falls in your price range - the Volvo XC40 is value for money and a clever buy. The premium compact SUV will take you on plenty awesome, comfortable journeys around the city and out on the open road. *Please note that I do not encourage anyone to play 'the floor is lava' in their new XC40 with lava carpets...