Volvo has rounded out its SUV lineup with the chunky, compact XC40 SUV. It might look like a scaled-down version of the XC60 and XC90, but Volvo's smallest four-wheel drive has some big ideas of its own, including a novel new way to spec, buy and pay for the car.
The diminutive XC40 is still built around the same ideals as the rest of the Volvo range. That means it's fully loaded with active and passive safety features as standard. This includes the full City Safety suite, which includes auto-emergency braking, an active steering function to mitigate head-on collisions, while the body benefits from a smart mix of materials if you do end up crashing.
From the outside, you could be forgiven for thinking the XC40 is just an XC60 hit with a shrink ray. It has the same square-jawed proportions, along with similar detailing in both the head- and brake-lights. But as a part of its quest to lure younger buyers, Volvo has added a huge range of customization options to the mix, including brighter colors and a contrast roof. We'd argue the finished product is more handsome than the similar-size Audi Q2 or Mini Countryman, but style has never been our strong suit.
The interior of the XC40 is just as customizable. The leather seats can be had in red, blue, black or beige, while the air vents and trim pieces all look like expensive jewellery. Volvo has made a big deal of the storage options scattered around the cabin. From smartphone storage slots to bag hooks, there should be space for all the paraphernalia that most inner-city drivers lug around daily. A nine-inch, vertically-oriented touchscreen is standard across the range.
Along with the range of colors and trim choices, Volvo is targeting younger buyers with a the Care by Volvo payment model. By bundling all the payments associated with owning a car – lease, servicing, insurance and (in some cases) fuelling and cleaning – into a mobile phone-style 24 month contract. When the contract ends, owner/subscribers can drive off in a new car.
Care by Volvo is also designed to make it easier to share the car among family and friends, by allowing a smartphone app to act in place of the key. Anyone who's invited to share the car by an owner can make bookings through the Volvo app, and doesn't need a key to get in and start driving. Instead, their phone provides access. It sounds very similar to the model outlined by Lynk & Co which, like Volvo, is owned by Geely.
The engines on offer in the XC40 will vary from region-to-region, but expect to see a range of compact four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, along with a hybrid option. In the UK, buyers will be able to choose from engines with outputs ranging from 150 to 250 hp (112 to 186 kW). Both two- and four-wheel drive options will be available, with "other powertrains" to be offered later in the car's life.
In the UK, pricing for the XC40 will start at £27,905 (US$37,880). Order books are open, with deliveries set to start early in 2018.
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