New Volvo XC40 hops into Southern-African market

We were recently invited to the launch of the all-new Volvo XC 40 in Johannesburg to test this new vehicle in the busy urban terrain.

I heard about this XC40, but what is it?

Although new to the South African market, the XC40 comes into the country with much to boast about. Recently crowned as the European Car of the Year, the XC40 is a perfect combination between a small city slicker and a safe and spacious urban Sports Utility Vehicle.

The XC40 is a downsize model from the more “open road” XC60 and XC90. Well, when we say “down size”, we are actually just referring to size and not the quality as the XC40 holds the safety and technological features of the exclusive XC90.

Volvo themselves mention that this is segment-leading car in terms of safety and general mobility.

So what do I get?

Tested at the launch, are the T5 (Petrol) and D4 (Diesel) models (both All-Wheel-Drive with 211mm ground clearence). With the car being designed by one of Volvo’s youngest designers, the new XC40 has is stylish with sharp lines an interesting curves. However, this car would definitely appeal to all age groups.

Add the sporty R-Design or Momentum packages, and your XC40 promises to look and perform even better.

Both engines are extremely quiet in city- and open road terrain, D4 and T5 perform very well, with just a hint of wheel noise, should you fit the 20-inch rims. Both models are automatic, with the D4 delivering 140kW and 400Nm. The T5 is a bit more lively, with 185kW and 350Nm and will get to the 100km/h mark in 6.4 seconds (1.5 sec faster than the D4). That said, the D4, with more torque, will be capable of consuming only 5.1 liter / 100km, a figure the T5 misses by 2 liters.

Power delivery is more than adequate, although this is not the main focus of the XC40. Being Volvo, the XC40 excels in safety and comfort.

Smallest XC model with segment leading safety features

Even on our short launch route, the XC40 showcased numerous of its safety features, such as the lane keeping aid and rear collision warning. Following the Volvo ideology, and something we already noted during the V90 Cross Country test, is the elegance of the warning system.

Soft sounds and subtle warnings play a key role in keeping you safely on the road. Unlike many other systems, which scare you, rather than attending to the risk mitigation at hand.

Standard in the XC40, are safety measures like: “City Safety with Front collision warning and full autobrake” and “pedestrian, cyclist and large animal detection”. Other safety measures (as extra’s or standard) include “rear collision warning with braking at standstill”, “road sign information system”, “pilot assist”, “Blind spot Information system with cross traffic alert”, Park Pilot assist”, “Run-Off Road mitigation and run-off road protection” and “Driver alert control”.

A very handy feature also includes the “Visual Park assist 360-degree cameras”, which shows a birds-eye view of your XC40 at low speeds. This feature comes in very handy, should you reverse-park into a tight space.

The car also comes with something Volvo calls “Smart Airbags”. This means that all the airbags in the XC40 will blow up to the intensity of the impact.

So there is no denying that the XC40 is a segment leader in safety, but what about general mobility and practicality?

Glad you asked as this is… another point which the XC40 excels at. Volvo focuses on a modern, yet minimalistic design. A 9-inch Sensus Connect infotainment system takes away the confusion of a clustered central control panel. Another option will also be the high quality Harman Kardon sound system with excellent sound quality.

Inside, the XC40 includes efficient storage spaces, making much more use of the 460-liter luggage space (1336-liter with the rear seats folded down).

The XC40 also has smart features such as removable rubbish bins, a cubby hole hook (for shopping bags up to 2kg), dedicated smartphone storage area with wireless (inductive) charging and a multi-adaptable and smart boot floor with electronic folding chair support.

In conclusion, it is very difficult to find fault with the XC40. Yes, some of the striking exterior and interior colours are not for everyone, but this can be changed to black or white. With the growing trend in urban mobility and predominantly younger generations urbanising, the XC40 definitely follows this trend. It aims to make urban mobility easier and safer.

A characteristic the XC40 has definitely excelled at.

This car can be parked in my driveway any time! Here you are getting a smaller, yet as well instrumented vehicle as the exclusive XC90.

Our full review and list of extras will follow with our next full report.


*The T3 will be launched at a later stage during 2018

  • T3 Manual Momentum R 489 500
  • T3 Manual Inscription R 521 300
  • T3 Manual R-Design R 528 400
  • D4 Geartronic AWD Momentum R 600 300
  • T5 Geartronic AWD Momentum R610 900
  • D4 Geartronic AWD Inscription R632 100
  • D4 Geartronic AWD R-Design R 639 200
  • T5 Geartronic AWD Inscription R 642 600
  • T5 Geartronic AWD R-Design R649 700

All of the XC40 models will include a full 5-year / 100 000 km warranty and maintenance plan as well as a 5 year / unlimited mileage Roadside Assistance (includes a Skytrax tracker unit).

Text: Franco Theron
Pictures: Galimoto Media

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