Drive plush & safe, the compact way

Drive plush & safe, the compact way

The luxury car market does not fail to surprise, with each arriving model striving to outdo the previous one. With spotless beauty and plush luxury, these vehicles also pack in safety and the best in automobile engineering. And driving this effort with finesse is Sweden’s Volvo Cars, which has successfully anchored its fortunes in the opportune Indian market.

Leaving no stone unturned whatsoever, Volvo Cars is known for its ‘no compromise’ attitude when evolving the quality of its brilliant products. The grandeur of engineering that this company’s designers depict while making their cars is what makes the latter feel and be special within the car industry around the world.

Since many luxury car buyers have already been bowled over by Volvo’s earlier offerings such as the XC90, S90, V90 Cross Country and the recent fully-loaded XC60, now it’s time to check if the much-awaited XC40 has the chutzpah to be a leader in the booming compact luxury SUV space.

For us, taking the Volvo XC40 for a drive across a multitude of roads and terrains, it’s yet another glimpse into the wonderful stable that the company has to offer in India, with each car being magnificent in its own right. 

First impressions

The first impression of the new Volvo XC40 is that the onlooker will feel that its features are more than necessary. Be it the wheel dimensions, wheel base, length and width, and spacious interiors. The Volvo XC40 is no less than any fully-loaded luxury SUV, though it is designed to be compact.

Though this is the third offering in the XC series of Volvo, the carmaker is clear in the differentiation of the new offering from its older siblings, while the XC40 is built on a completely new platform – Compact Modular Architecture (CMA).

Taller and wider

When we compare the XC40 with its competitors, it is quite taller and wider than the rest. Beefing up the sporty looks, the car has an all-black front grille and top, which is standard in all the body colours. Volvo’s trademark design feature, ‘Thor’s Hammer’ - the LED DRL mark embellishing the front two headlamps - makes the compact SUV appear more dashing. From the side, the 18-inch 235/55 Pirelli tyres renders the car a more muscular persona. The designers might have put in some extra effort in order to present a different look for the car from the rear. Though the vertical shaped tail-lights give an impression of a design typical of Volvo Cars, it is distinct when compared with the two larger XC90 and XC60. The dual exhaust is also an add-on feature that adds to its sporty look.

Lava Orange

The interior is where some of the most interesting parts of Volvo’s cars rest. When compared to their competitors, the carmakers are distinct in the interiors and luxury features they offer.

We are welcomed by the two dashing dual-colour combinations of Black and Lava Orange (as claimed by the makers). The rare colour is used in very selective places, which makes the shade more appealing. The orange shade is seen on the floor and most part of the door. This is an attractive feature in the Volvo XC40’s interiors. It’s quite spacious just like the other Volvo cars on the road.

However, with the distinctive colour combination, the XC40 has derived most of its features from its two elder siblings. The panoramic sunroof, multi-functional steering wheel, the digital instrument cluster, door-mounted air conditioner vents, big boot space and spacious rear seat are the other key highlights of the car.

While a lot of the other luxury car manufacturers boast of offering the same, if not more of such features, the sheer perfection and grace by which Volvo crafts its cars must be appreciated. The design details and equipment on board are modern, yet relevant. These cues set the company’s cars in a niche segment within the global luxury car industry.   

Driving in compact style

Like most other Volvo cars, the XC40 is a vehicle that you will fall in love with the moment you sit within its cabin. The 2-litre diesel engine with an 8-speed geartronic automatic transmission will deliver an impressive peak power of 190 hp @ 400 Nm. With a solid ground clearance of 211 mm, which is much higher when compared with other beasts offered by the competitors, the new Volvo XC40 can and will go places, with comfort and safety.

This compact SUV has more power and will perform well both on the road and off it. The makers have come out way ahead from the traditional gear lever, and made the transmission feel even smoother. Hill ascent and descent technology is much improved on this model, where the feature effectively works on the rocks, in mud, slush and on other terrains. This can also beat any hard roads, as the ground clearance is sufficient.

Think Volvo, think safety! One can experience the runoff road technology, which is said to be the first in the industry. This feature can also be added to one of the safety features of the car, that comes to the rescue of the passengers when the driver loses control of the car. Different from keeping the road on the track, this feature gets the car to move on the markings so that the driver is alerted when the car is getting out of control. Hopefully, this will be the first step in the launch of self-drive cars in the future; another area where Volvo can be called a pioneer.

Adding to the comfort along with safety, the XC40 has shock absorbers in the seat, which are intended to reduce injuries to passengers. Besides the 7-air bags inside the car, the shock absorbers in the seat are another plus-point in the car, where Volvo has again proved its ‘never compromise’ mantra in the safety aspect

Volvo Cars actually fulfills the major demand on safety, comfort and luxury aspects, all in one. Even the latest XC40 is more likely to make a mark in the Indian market with its special features, and its drive to offer as much goodies as some bigger models. However, as the makers are yet to reveal the cost, the market is in for a fond surprise.