Volvo ups its game

In terms of ride comfort, the XC40 impresses with its high-speed stability, but the ride does get a little bumpy at low speeds over broken patches of roads

Volvo’s baby SUV arrived in India back in 2018 as a diesel-only model. This, however, changed late last year when Volvo launched the T4 petrol variant with a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine. The T4, which has arrived in a single, fully-loaded R-Design trim, effectively replaces the previously available diesel variants. Now, the diesel left us very impressed when we last drove it, so just how good is this petrol model?

To start with, the only difference between the petrol and diesel XC40 SUV is the badging — T4 as against the diesel’s D4. The front is typical Volvo, featuring the famous ‘Thor’s hammer’ design for the LED headlights and a gloss-black grille. Over to the side, you get the same 18-inch alloy wheels and a blacked-out roof that looks very cool. At the rear, the boomerang-like tail-lights are unmistakeably Volvo.

Volvo ups its game

Inside, the cabin design is like all new Volvos — the design, build and overall feel exude premiumness, and you do get your money’s worth. The dashboard is dominated by soft-touch materials, subtle piano-black accents around the vents, and the nice-looking vertical touchscreen. Speaking of which, the 9.0-inch touchscreen is similar to the one we have seen before. It is responsive, high on functionality, and despite being the one-stop location for most of the controls, it is user-friendly too.

Volvo ups its game

The steering and the fully-digital instrument cluster see no revisions, but the seats are now all black, as opposed to the bright orange theme that you could opt for with the older car. The seats themselves are superb, though — you get premium leather upholstery, electric adjustability, memory function for the driver side, and they offer excellent support in just the right areas. Unlike the older SUV, you no longer get a seat-heating function, which is a downer for those in the north.

Volvo ups its game

The rear seat is not the best in its class, but you do get enough room here. The backrest is a tad too upright and the low-set seats mean that taller passengers tend to sit knees-up. Practicality is good, with plenty of storage throughout the cabin and a big 460-litre boot.

Coming to the equipment list, the XC40 R-Design gets tech and features seen on cars two segments above. The list includes radar-based safety assists like adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, a collision mitigation system, six airbags, ABS with EBD, brake-assist, hill ascent and descent controls, and a lot more. You also get wireless charging, a tyre pressure monitoring system, front and rear parking sensors, and a reverse camera.

Powering the XC40 T4 is a BS-VI-compliant, 2.0-litre, turbo-petrol engine that makes 190hp and 300Nm of torque. On start-up, refinement levels are excellent; step on the accelerator, though, and you get a thrum that is boomy past the 3,000rpm mark and almost coarse near the redline. Progress, however, isn’t as swift, and the power delivery is linear throughout the rev range. The turbo kicks in around the 2,500rpm mark, which gets you a slight surge, but not exciting enough. You do get drive modes like Eco, Comfort, Dynamic and Off-road, but even in its most responsive, Dynamic setting, there is no punch from the engine. A lot of that has to do with the 8-speed automatic gearbox, which just isn’t responsive enough. Shifts are smooth, but slow.

The XC40, in its T4 iteration, is now also a front-wheel-drive vehicle; and while that has helped save some weight, it feels neither light, nor agile.

Handling is like you would expect in an SUV; and it isn’t a particularly enjoyable car to drive on a winding road. That said, body-roll is well-contained, the grip from the Pirelli P Zero tyres is good, and the steering is consistent and fluid. Also, the brakes are quite sharp, but progressive, and offer a strong bite. In terms of ride comfort, the XC40 impresses with its high-speed stability, but the ride does get a little bumpy at low speeds over broken patches of roads. The cabin is well-insulated, though, and you don’t feel too many of the jolts on the inside.

Priced at ₹39.9 lakh, the XC40 T4 is one of the more expensive SUVs in its segment. However, available only in one, fully-loaded R-Design guise, you do get a lot of car for the money. The design turns heads, the cabin is practical and it’s got the lengthiest features list.

Then there is the petrol engine which, despite not being the best in terms of refinement, has enough grunt to get you around. Yes, the backseat isn’t impressive and the aftersales experience is not as widespread as its German rivals, but it is a small price to pay in exchange for a well-sorted SUV that gives you almost everything you would want.

So, if you are in the market for a compact luxury SUV with a petrol engine, the XC40 T4 is an option worth serious consideration.

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 6:56:58 AM |

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