This includes navigation, a 9.0in centre console touchscreen, rear parking sensors, LED headlights with active high beam, cruise control and hill-start assist. Volvo prides itself on leading on car safety (earlier this year, research found that there had never been any passenger or driver fatalities from car-on-car collisions in an XC90 in the UK since 2004, when records started) and so it includes three safety systems as standard.
These are City Safety, which can detect pedestrians, cyclists and large animals, and front collision warning with fully automatic emergency braking; Oncoming Lane Mitigation, which automatically provides steering assistance if you drift out of your lane; and Run-off Road Protection, which tightens the front seatbelts if the car leaves the road and front seat frames with a collapsible section to reduce vertical forces and help prevent spinal injuries, says Volvo.
Our option list is extensive but most notable in terms of extra cost are two packs. The first, the £1500 Intellisafe Pro, gives you more safety tech, such as rear collision mitigation and cross traffic alert, as well as auto-folding door mirrors. The second, the £1600 Xenium pack, brings the panoramic sunroof, 360deg parking camera and automatic parallel and 90deg parking.
First impressions? As I’d hoped and expected: the XC40 is instantly comfortable. Comfortable on long and short journeys, with a cosy, enclosing interior that I expect will treat me well over the winter months.
It’s perfect around town and surprisingly nifty getting into small spaces on narrow roads with parallel parking. I haven’t pushed our XC40 on the handling front yet, but that’s not its goal. Instead, the car offers light if not wholly precise steering perfect for urban driving. The R-Design Pro is a harder ride than some of the lesser trims but it is still acceptable over the endless speed bumps on my commute.
I have two minor gripes so far. The notch gearstick takes some getting used to. Presumably, it has been used to keep the feature as compact as possible, but even after a couple of weeks with the car, I sometimes have to check in the driver display that I’m in reverse, not drive, or vice versa.
The other thing is fuel economy. Official combined economy so far is 40.4mpg. We have got it to a best of 28mpg so will be watching it closely as we run the car in to see if or when that figure improves.
I’m really liking the Volvo XC40. It looks great and is comfortable and well-finished. The ride’s a bit lumpy at low speed but, if that’s the price of lower-than-Audi road noise, I’ll take it any day. Surprised at the current sub-30mpg real-world fuel consumption. Maybe it’ll improve with miles. We’ll see…