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Volvo XC40 T5 AWD R-Design: Class act compact SUV

By Ghaith Madadha - Apr 30,2018 - Last updated at Apr 30,2018

Photos courtesy of Volvo

The latest and smallest of Volvo’s reinvigorated and thoroughly modernised three model SUV line-up, the XC40 brings with it plenty of big car safety and convenience features, and a subscription-based usage model that is being optionally rolled out for European markets to start with.

Launched globally late last year and in the Middle East in recent weeks, the XC40 is also the first model built on the Swedish manufacturer’s versatile Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform, set to also underpin joined by other mid-size and compact models.


Assertive aesthetic


Though still a fresh newcomer, the XC40 already has already garnered a 2018 European Car of the Year award and, as of earlier this month, the 2018 Middle East Car of the Year’s Small Premium SUV award. Stylish on the outside and classy yet with a vibrant ambiance on the inside, depending on trim level, the XC40 model line is expected to include three- and four-cylinder turbocharged petrol, diesel and hybrid models. But with two engine options as of launch, the Middle East will receive the powerful range-topping T5 AWD petrol version.

Subtly more aggressive than its larger XC60 and XC90 Swedish SUV stablemates, the smaller XC40 however shares a clear aesthetic relation, with its ridged and sculpted bodywork. Moodier and feistier, the XC40 features a broad grille, a more pronounced jutting rear spoiler and tailgate. Its headlights are more heavily browed and feature Volvo’s trademark Thor’s hammer LED signature, while its flanks and clamshell bonnet feature convex and concave surfacing. Driven in sportier R-Design top spec trim level, it features blacked out and more assertive bumper elements, integrated dual exhaust ports, and contrasting body and roof colours.


Punchy performer


Arriving soon to the Jordanian market, the range-topping XC40 T5 model is powered by a transversely-mounted turbocharged direct injection 2-litre four-cylinder engine driving all four wheels. Perky, responsive and eager from low down in the rev range, the T5’s turbos spool up quickly and it launches quick and tidy from standstill. Flexible on the move, the T5 features a broad and generous mid range for versatile overtaking and is driven through a smooth and slick 8-speed automatic gearbox — with steering-mounted manual mode paddle shifters in R-Design spec — to better utilise its available power for performance and efficiency.

Developing a gutsy 258lb/ft wave of torque from as low as 1,800rpm through to 4,800rpm, the XC40 T5 is smooth, refined and consistent in delivery. Transitioning cleanly from its mid-range torque sweet spot and surging eagerly through to its rev limit, the T5 develops its maximum 247BHP at a somewhat low, but usefully accessible 5,500rpm. Capable of brisk hot hatch-like 6.5-seconds 0-100km/h acceleration despite a 1684kg weight, the T5’s generous torque and CD 0.34 aerodynamic drag co-efficiency however allow for a 230km/h top speed. Fuel efficiency is meanwhile modest, and returns as low as 8.3l/100km on the combined cycle.


Agility and stability


Built on Volvo’s all-new CMA architecture with front MacPherson, rear multi-link suspension and rack-mounted steering assistance, the XC40 comes with a choice of standard and sport tuned fixed rate suspension, or adaptive dampers, as driven in T5 R-design specification. Agile and nimble for small city and country routes, the XC40 is manoeuvrable and user-friendly. Tidy and eager into a corner, the XC40 felt alert yet committed, while steering was quick, accurate and with decent feel for its segment. Well containing body roll with dampers in Sport mode, while in Comfort mode, it was smooth and absorbent, as driven on Milanese roads.

Eager to change direction and manoeuvrable through corners yet stable and reassuring, the XC40 benefits from a relatively short wheelbase and wide track, while its front biased four-wheel-drive system can reallocate power rearwards when needed for traction. Meanwhile, its optional large and low profile 245/45R20 tyres provided good grip without being too firm in ride quality. Settled, smooth and buttoned down over imperfections despite its compact size, the XC40 was also stable and refined at speed, yet felt alert rather than heavy on the ground.


Style and safety


Dynamically well-resolved for ride and handling, and fresh and stylish on the outside, the XC40’s cabin is meanwhile a master class in design and ergonomics in its segment and is soft textured and well-assembled. Spacious for a compact CUV, the XC40’s cabin is classy and comfortable, with supportive seating, alert driving position, good adjustability and chunky sport steering wheel. Its style is elegant yet vibrant and youthful in R-Design specification, and especially with the contrast between black dash and console and silver trim strips, set against optional textured orange Lava carpeting and door inserts.

Fitted with an intuitive infotainment system, plenty of mod cons and good space and comfort levels, the XC40 also features a 360° surround view camera, inductive phone charging, and numerous and innovative storage spaces, including a under-seat trays and a removable centre console bin, while 460-litre boot space expands to 1336-litres with rear seats folded down. Advanced safety systems include City Safety, which automatically brakes to prevent potential collisions, Run-off Road and Oncoming Lane mitigation systems and lane keeping assistance. Options include semi-automated Pilot Assist with steering assistance at up to 130km/h, Blind Spot, Rear Collision and Cross-Traffic alerts, and adaptive cruise control.



  • Engine: 2-litre, turbocharged, all-aluminium, transverse 4-cylinders
  • Bore x stroke: 82 x 93.2mm
  • Compression ratio: 10.8:1
  • Valve-train: 16-valve, DOHC, direct injection, variable valve timing
  • Gearbox: 8-speed automatic, four-wheel-drive
  • Ratios: 1st 5.25:1; 2nd 3.029:1; 3rd 1.95:1; 4th 1.457:1; 5th 1.221:1; 6th 1.0:1; 7th 0.809:1; 8th 0.673:1 
  • Reverse/final drive: 4.015:1/3.329
  • Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 247 (250) [182] @5,500rpm
  • Specific power: 125BHP/litre
  • Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 258 (350) @1800-4800rpm
  • Specific torque: 177.75Nm/litre
  • 0-100km/h: 6.5-seconds
  • Top speed: 230km/h
  • Fuel consumption, combined: 8.3-9.1 litres/100km 
  • Fuel capacity: 54-litres
  • Length: 4,425mm
  • Width: 1,863mm
  • Height: 1,652mm
  • Wheelbase: 2,702mm
  • Track, F/R: 1,601/1,626mm
  • Ground clearance: 211mm
  • Approach/break-over/departure angles: 21.7°/21.9°/30.4°
  • Aerodynamic drag co-efficient: 0.34
  • Headroom, F/R: 955/974mm (w/sunroof)
  • Legroom, F/R; 1,040/917mm
  • Shoulder room, F/R: 1440/1429mm
  • Luggage volume, min/max: 460-/1,336-litres
  • Kerb weight: 1684kg
  • Steering: Electric-assisted rack & pinion
  • Turning Circle: 11.4-metres
  • Suspension, F/R: MacPherson struts/multi-link, adaptive dampers
  • Brakes: Ventilated discs
  • Braking distance, 100-0km/h: 36-metres
  • Tyres: 245/45R20



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