On a near-spring end of March I’m on board the Volvo XC40 R-Design for a review, what more could I ask for? After the presentation to the Italian press, my curiosity was even stronger. At first, I was skeptical about how this SUV would stand out its rivals, reaching so much interest in Italy. From the first moments at the wheel of the Volvo XC40, however, I changed my mind, and finally I had the opportunity to test it even more thoroughly.
For this road test of the Volvo XC40 I am in the surroundings of Lastra a Signa, near Florence, more precisely in Villa Piandaccoli. A complex with more than a thousand years of history, always used as a luxurious residence and now surrounded by a beautiful park and an Italian garden. Heading to the villa, I deepen my knowledge about this car, managing to appreciate it in every context, from the highway to the mountain roads, obviously passing through the city. The leitmotiv is always one: comfort … always! As soon as I got onboard the Volvo XC40, even before turning it on, I spent a moment to admire the amazing work that Volvo has done with the interiors.
The materials are soft to the touch, everything is well assembled. As all the latest cars from the Gothenburg house, there is a large central display that contains all the functions of the infotainment system called Sensus. As for the bigger sisters, the system is fluid and without any gaps in terms of functionality. The icing on the cake is the Harman Kardon sound system which offers good quality and strong bass tones. The only drawback, in my opinion, is the adjustment of the air conditioning that could be implemented also with physical buttons, instead of only the touch screen display. In the cockpit of the Volvo XC40 the natural light filters through the huge panoramic sunroof, a really remarkable option. The seats are amazing, the comfort is so high that I feel like at home! Plus, all seat adjustments are electric. The trunk opening is also electric, it opens and closes in a matter of seconds, a real comfort!
On the highway I appreciate the safety feeling that the XC40 is able to transmit to me. Again, I must underline the Pilot Assist system. This semi-autonomous driving system can be activated up to 135km/h and, in addition to the classic ACC functions, can actively maintain the lane. The intervention on the steering is marked but, in compliance with the regulations, it does not allow you to be distracted while driving and remove your hands from the steering wheel. Once out of the highway, I head to some mountain roads, where I can appreciate the by now consolidated combination of D4 engine, 8-speed Geartronic and all-wheel drive.
Despite the size of the car, the 190 hp 2L Diesel with 400nm of torque always offers excellent performances, the recovery is good and thanks to the 8 gears of the Geartronic gearbox the engine always deliver optimal performances, without ever filtering too much noise inside the cockpit. Volvo XC40 is a car that prefers comfortable driving but, considering the type of the car, the dynamic qualities are unexpectedly good.
Arriving at destination I can finally judge the exterior design of the Volvo XC40. The pearl white color has very interesting reflections depending on the type of light. The contrasting black roof breaks the monotony of the white color, giving it an attractive and youthful design. The R-Design version replace chrome with completely black moldings that favor the feeling of sportiness. Headlight are with Full-LED technology that, as on all the latest Volvo, have a form of “Hammer of Thor”.
Night lighting is effective, allowing for optimal visibility in all conditions. Another small note of merit: at night the door handles are illuminated by ice white LEDs, a really nice effect. In the rear we also find led lights with a shape that, as Volvo has accustomed us, is almost reaching the roof.
Overall, I really liked XC40, in this R-Design version filled with almost all accessories. A very comfortable car also equipped with an unexpected sporting vein.
Article: Federico Schipani
Pictures: Federico Schipani, Francesco Giovannini