The XC40 a good-looking car, and it's much larger in the flesh than I'd expected. Its look is both unique and refreshing, with unmistakable SUV proportions blended with smart and stylish design touches.
The angular nose of the XC40 appears to sit quite high, but is nicely framed by Volvo’s signature Hammer of Thor LED daytime running lights. Its side-on profile looks like a younger and more stout version of its older sibling, the XC60, and is the best angle to appreciate the car's two-tone roof finish. The 20-inch alloy wheels and rear spoiler combine to convey a sporty feel.
Before getting in the car, my eye is drawn to the small Swedish flag sticking out from the front flank - a nice little design touch. Inside, the large proportions I mentioned earlier are immediately evident, with a spacious and light cabin; the latter helped in no small measure by the large panoramic roof.
The smart styling continues inside, providing a nice blend of simplicity and sophistication. Decorated with a generous amount of premium materials, it makes for an incredibly pleasant place to sit. The power-adjustable cloth-and-leather seats are comfortable and provide ample support in all the right places.
There was a heap of space for the kids to spread out, with air vents, cup holders in the arm rest and bottle holders in the doors to keep them occupied. I sat behind my driving position and had a hand-width of space between my knees and the seat in front, and with headroom to spare as well.
It's worth noting our Launch Edition version has a laundry list of additional features over the regular R-Design. These include that panoramic sunroof, tinted windows, an alarm, heated front seats, power folding backrest and headrest, adaptive cruise control with semi-automated Pilot Assist, semi-automated Parking Assist, a 360-degree camera, and a 13-speaker Harman Kardon premium stereo.
Around the suburban back streets, the XC40 displayed impeccable road manners with a ride that was comfortable and composed. Our R-Design came with sports suspension, meaning it was firmer, but well short of anything sharp or jarring.
It feels surprisingly light and agile around the corners, with plenty of punch coming from the turbocharged engine to propel all four of us forward with heaps of urgency. What’s more, Volvo has done an excellent job of minimising traffic, road and engine noise - the back seat arguments proved the only real noise in the cabin.
Our numerous trips throughout the day provided ample time to appreciate the 12.3-inch digital driver information display. Easy to use, it did an excellent job of providing key information at a glance.