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Road Test: Volvo XC40 T3 Geartronic
For a very long time, car model cycles were nearly a decade. But nowadays, the average is closer to half that.
For Volvo’s XC40, that means it is a very mature product, having been originally launched in late 2017. Despite being targeted at a very competitive market segment, with an abundance of capable German rivals, XC40 has been a stellar vehicle for Volvo.
We spent time with the XC40 T3 Geartronic. It is powered by a 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine (as you’d probably guess, by the nomenclature) and proves that Swedish design, is a thing.
XC40 design and interior
Ikea. Spotify. Skype. From furniture to entertainment and digital communication, the Swedes are excellent. They build a pretty decent aeroplane too, as Saab aviation customers will attest.
The XC40 still looks terrific, nearly five years after it debuted. Conservative but considered proportions. No unnecessary surface creases or silly aero trinkets. It is an instance of good taste.
Inside, the XC40 is even better. All that Swedish design logic, prioritising occupants and their comfort, not to mention ergonomic convenience, is abundantly present with the XC40’s cabin architecture.
The Sensus infotainment system still uses the tablet-like portrait configuration, which works with great intuition. As a family car, for modern digital living, it pairs effortlessly with devices and the voice controls for infotainment functions, are diligently interpreted and executed.
Engine and performance
It’s appealing to look at and great to be inside of, but what is the driving experience like? Unlike similar-sized crossover vehicles from Audi, BMW or Mercedes-Benz, the XC40 doesn’t try to be a compromised performance car.
Volvo prioritizes comfortable ride quality. Considering the diverse quality of South African roads, XC40’s milder suspension damping makes for a better experience. It rolls over rougher roads with fewer thuds than its German rivals.
The steering is very light and parking speeds. That makes it easy to guide in underground parking garages and through low-speed traffic.
You don’t get an outrageous amount of engine performance for the XC40 T3’s R683 500 price. The turbocharged petrol engine produces 110kW and 265Nm and although the 8-speed automatic transmission shifts rapidly, there’s a bit of throttle lag.
Claimed fuel consumption is 6.2l/100km, but we averaged just shy of 8l/100km over a mixed driving cycle, with only a driver and no luggage.
At 1525kg the XC40 T3 isn’t exactly light and therefore might not be that quick, but it is wonderfully relaxing to drive, nearly all of the time. You also benefit from that subconscious shielding, knowing that Volvo’s renowned active and passive crash safety system, are all around you.
Feature image: Lance Branquinho