If you follow us on Instagram surely you've seen snapshots of our exciting Malacca outing. You would have also seen us using a couple of Volvo XC40s to get ourselves to the coastal historical city.
What you can also see through the pictures is how Volvo’s compact SUV presents one of the prettiest yet powerful small sports utility vehicle silhouettes ever created. What you can’t see however is how extremely pleasant it is to drive one. But don’t worry, let us tell you everything you need to know about it, because trust us -- you’d want to know.
Volvo seems to be doing everything right with their SUVs of late. Whether it’s their mammoth XC90 or mid-sized XC60, they all just to seem to have ticked the right boxes. They even fit into a cyclist’s life pretty well, for example World Champion Alejandro Valverde, who can often be seen in his plush XC90.
You would expect that much from a big SUV though, because it can pretty much carry anything. When the XC40 debuted it did look a bit small, that is until you get up close and personal with it, like we did.
Obviously with a roof rack, any vehicle can pretty much transport bicycles around. However, the XC40 can carry bikes on its roof as well as on the inside. We tested this out with the help of Minoura’s Vergo Cabin mount, which allowed us to carry two road bikes in the car vertically.
This is a big feat for a vehicle that is labelled as a compact vehicle, but somehow Volvo has cleverly designed the interior to provide sufficient space for all kinds of things. We also managed to carry three passengers and bikes in one car with two bikes on the roof and one inside.
For a passenger in the back, we also felt that the XC40 was spacious, not something that you would expect when you first lay your eyes on it. In front, at no time did we feel like we were in a small vehicle -- there was ample space for everything including bottles, wallets, Smart Tag, house keys, phones, cameras and more.
The interior is surrounded with soft touch materials that feel great and you do get the feeling that Volvo should have had a higher price for the car. The front two electric seats are plush and comfortable and really do put you in the right driving position, be it for a spirited drive or a relaxed touring excursion.
Although the dashboard looks quite minimalistic, it does somehow give you that trendy Ikea feel to it -- we particularly loved the look of the air conditioning vents. The large touchscreen centre infotainment system is nothing new and is pretty much the same as in its other SUV siblings. It will deliver simple navigation as well as functioning as a hub for all the settings needed to tailor the vehicle to your needs.
One of the other things we considered outstanding is the XC40’s drivetrain. It has a 2-litre turbocharged petrol engine which churns out 252hp and 350nm of torque. If those figures mean nothing to you let’s just say that you can actually give a Golf GTI a run for its money.
In fact, the Golf GTI has less Hp than this Swedish compact SUV. But we didn’t use all of that power on the way to Malacca, instead we utilised one of the best features the vehicle has -- its “Pilot Assist”.
Would you believe it if we said that we never touched the pedals in between the Sungai Besi Toll and the Ayer Keroh Malacca exit? Of course you wouldn’t, but we surely did. In a nutshell, the Pilot Assist is an extremely fancy cruise control. It does all the things you would expect from a standard cruise control except that it can also keep the vehicle in lane and safely follow the speed of the car in front of you.
Technically you could free your hands from the steering altogether, but this is never recommended and the vehicle will check from time to time through some fancy wizardry that your hands are on the wheel. Nevertheless, it was pretty much aware of its surroundings and always managed to slow the vehicle down when needed and accelerated when clear of obstacles.
It’s also clever enough to let you change lanes safely and follow the speed of the vehicle in that new lane. This was something that we enjoyed a lot, making it a truly relaxing drive down to Malacca. Some say that the drivetrain has a lot of turbolag, but honestly there’s not enough of it to really bother you. We actually barely noticed it.
In all, at RM255,888 some might consider this car to be on the pricier side, but when you consider the fact that Volvo has made sure all of its parts can withstand daily abuse up to at least 100,000km, the price might just be right.
With all that engine power, safety features as well as conveniences such as the Pilot Assist, the XC40 is not just a looker, but also a vehicle that seems to have strength from the inside out.
Engine- 1,969cc, 4-cyl turbo, 252hp, 350nm
Fuel Economy- 7.7L/100km
Performance- 0-100kph in 6.4sec, 230kph
Elegant, powerful and versatile.
A sweet package from the current masters of SUVs.