2018 Volvo XC40: A Home Run For $600 A Month

No matter how many pleasant sedans and wagons Volvo can come up with, its amazing renewal is fueled by SUV sales. But while the XC60 and XC90 are both built on the larger SPA platform (just like the S90 and the V90), the XC40 is based on Volvo’s new CMA. This is a smaller but equally scalable platform developed in Sweden to be used both by Volvo and parent company Geely.

2018 Volvo XC40

Today, its safe to say that Ian Kettle, the British designer responsible for the XC40’s exterior, understood the task. It has probably helped that he was just 26 when he started working on it. Now, he refers to the result as being a cousin instead of a brother or sister of the larger offerings, also calling it a “tough little robot.”

While the wider rear track certainly helps its stance, further design features include a clamshell hood, a concave grille that’s basically a flipped version of the XC90’s convex front, and LED lighting with no visible hot or cold spots. From the side, a number of visual tricks were applied to break up the form and reduce the visual weight, including the contrasting roof.

The suspension is a MacPherson strut setup at the front, with a four-link system at the rear. The R-Design has stiffer springs and single tube dampers, while the Momentum uses softer duals. Later on, the XC40 will also be available with electronically variable active shocks, as well as with 3-cylinders, hybrid drivetrains, or as a full EV.

I would love to tell you more about the sportier R-Design’s ride quality, but the ridiculously perfect roads around Barcelona did not help the evaluation.

Volvo uses a new kind of electro-mechanical rack-and-pinion steering system on this car, but the resulting feel is fairly similar of the bigger siblings.’ Overall, it is fairly slow, but always predictable, providing just enough feedback to make you feel in control at all times. Admittedly, that is exactly what the Swedes were aiming for. In case you’re curious, the turning circle is 37.4 ft.

Having only driven the more powerful T5, I can say that 248 horses and the turbo engine’s low-end torque is plenty to move a car that wasn’t designed for speeding anyway. The eight-speed auto works as nicely as ever, and if you want to make your XC40 R-Design a bit more peppy, the dynamic or individual driving modes can help, putting more load on the steering while shortening the pedal travel, as well as remapping the entire drivetrain.

The first thing you notice when you shut the door is that there is no speaker in there. That was relocated into the dash, so that the soft carpeted door bin can hold a laptop as well as two large bottles without breaking a sweat. And thanks to the carpet, your items don’t move around that much either.

Left of the steering wheel, there are card slots in for parking tickets, cash cards, whatever you need. Under the driver’s seat, there’s a storage shelf. The center tunnel hides a compartment large enough for a box of tissues, or, as it turns out, a Canon 70D with the 18-135 mm IS STM lens. Needless to say, that’s one hell of a bulky prosumer SLR for a compact car’s trans tunnel to swallow.

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