Difficult to choose a vehicle when you plan to travel nearly 3,000 km with it. Some will fall for a look, others for a motorization. For my part, it is a default choice. The XC40 being the only model of the Swedish brand that I had not yet driven, so I set my sights on this compact SUV.
Our 3,000 km journey will therefore bring our XC40 back to its original land, but not to the place where it is manufactured since it is assembled in Ghent, Belgium. For this immersion in the North of Europe, we crossed Germany, Denmark, joined Stockholm then climbed even further North to finally descend towards Götebord, the stronghold of Volvo.
When I left Paris, I am quite proud of myself because I played the card of reason. The XC40 is indeed the smallest, the least powerful, the cheapest, the only two-wheel drive of the five vehicles in this roadtrip. But beware, it is the only one to have received the title of car of the year, it was in 2018. Enough to make his fellow travelers jealous. Of course, it remains to be seen what our verdict will be at the end of this week-long adventure …
Aesthetically, the XC40 logically has a design typical of the XC range. The lines are muscular without being too angular, except for the marked rear shoulder of the body.
The radiator grille or T-shaped daytime running lights are some of the defining features of today's Volvo cars, including the XC40.
Using the styling codes of SUVs with its horizontal hood and large diameter wheels, the XC40 shares many points with the brand's other models, such as the large grille made up solely of vertical bars and adorned in its center by the logo (circle crossed by an arrow, old chemical symbol of iron reminiscent of Swedish steel) which has not changed since the brand was created in 1927. The light signature is also common with T-shaped daytime running lights to refer to the hammer of the Norse god Thor, while the rear ones have a shape close to the L. The only peculiarity lies in the rear window divided into two parts with a side quarter.
At 4.43 m long, this XC40 is the smallest of Volvo's SUVs. It is therefore positioned below the XC60 and XC90. Next to its big brothers at the Champ de Mars, this difference is noticed immediately, although the XC40 is still of a respectable size.
In the passenger compartment, without any surprises, it takes up the dashboard dear to the Swedish manufacturer. It consists of 100% digital instrumentation and a 9-inch touch screen multimedia screen installed vertically. Its presentation is clearly offset compared to other models of the SUV. We also advise you to opt for a light interior color, which will enhance the Zen side and also the visual appeal. The quality of the materials is a bit disappointing. So certainly, the plastics are foamed on the top but the bottom of the dashboard is hard plastic. Too bad for a premium vehicle.
The storage spaces are very numerous and rather large, like those in the door or at the center console, the latter allowing you to store various and varied objects such as cans, keys or even charge your mobile phone by induction. Very handy when you are about to take a long trip. Some tips are welcome, like the removable basket placed in front of the armrest.
Another essential point in this type of adventure, the trunk. That of the XC40 claims a volume of 460 liters, which is average for the category. Verdict, after having loaded two very large suitcases (when you don't know how to travel light, you do with it), there was not much room, especially in height because it is reduced between the floor and the trunk board . Another complaint is the height of the loading threshold, which forces you to do weight training sessions each time you load or empty luggage, especially since the XC40 does not have air suspension, which lowers the body height.