There has been a lot of hype around it. It is the European Car of the Year. It is the first 3-cylinder vehicle for the Swedish brand. And it is an absolute triumph.
By KEVIN DU PLESSIS
Now available in South Africa in its manual derivative, the XC40 took me on an exploration of the beautiful Magoebaskloof valley in Limpopo. It is the perfect companion on the stunning open roads of the north, especially with its very impressive array of driving assistance features. Adaptive Cruise Control and Pilot Assist left me free to truly appreciate the natural beauty on the road, not that the car can be left to drive itself, but in essence it does have the capability. The on-board tech is impressive with Autobrake and Collision Warning, Pedestrian and Animal Detection, Lane Keeping Aid, Blind Spot Information System, Park Assist Pilot and the nifty Visual Park Assist 360° which gives you a birds-eye view of the car via four hidden cameras when in any parking situation.
These functions all create a truly advanced driving experience that allows confidence and comfort. The 6-speed manual transmission is effortless and the engine’s purr is very satisfying while performing well. With a high ground clearance and suspension that swallows bumps, it is also smooth as butter.
Exterior styling is devilishly sexy, my favourite being the sleek front-end design and headlights. It has a lot of loading space and a multi-adaptive boot floor, along with a space-saving spare wheel, which is better than a repair kit, I suppose.
The digital instrument cluster is user-friendly and acts as your constant guide, while the 9-inch touch screen infotainment has a great layout other than its user-unfriendly smartphone entertainment integration. One other tiny flaw is that the cup holders are inconveniently placed in front of the gear lever. The interior is absolutely beautiful and the seats are probably the most comfortable I have ever experienced in a car.
My prediction is that the XC40 could be a great seller in South Africa if Volvo puts in the marketing.