Johannesburg: All good things come to an end, as the well-worn proverb often reminds us, and it was with that in mind that we recently said goodbye to our Denim Blue long-term Volvo XC40 T4 Inscription.
But not before taking it on a last road trip from Gauteng to the KZN South Coast, where the XC40 proved to be an excellent companion in every sense of the word.
As the middle model in the range, slotting between the 110kW T3 and 185kW T5 AWD model, the T4 is powered by a 2.0-litre turbopetrol engine that produces 140kW and 300Nm, sent to the front wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Although it doesn’t necessarily boast the briskness or responsiveness of a performance car, it’s got enough power to climb hills and overtake with ease. On the 1 200km journey I never found myself wanting more.
On top of that, the ride quality was certainly comfortable, and I was also impressed by its quietness and the feeling of solidity and stability on the road.
Fuel consumption amounted to 7.8 litres per 100km at the end of the round trip (it averaged 7.4 l/100km on the downward journey), which is not particularly impressive but understandable given the vehicle’s 1 615kg kerb weight. It is a little on the heavy side for sure, but we suspect much of that bulk goes into making this a safe and solid SUV.
But perhaps the vehicle’s sporty lines are guilty of deception. In pictures, the XC40 seems like a compact vehicle but it’s larger than it looks and somewhat wider than its rivals. This all adds up to impressive interior space, and rear occupants have room to stretch their legs, although the back seats unfortunately don’t recline. The boot, which accommodates 450 litres of luggage, should fit most requirements.
For the most part, we loved the interior of the XC40, with its high-end upholsteries and fabrics and classy touches like the Orrefors crystal glass gear selector.
Most of the functions, including ventilation, are controlled via the large portrait-oriented touch screen infotainment system, which is comprehensive and feature-packed. However, it loses a few marks for functionality as there’s no central menu. Instead, occupants must swipe between three screens to access the functions and apps.
As a modern premium SUV, the Volvo XC40 ticks almost all of the boxes, from comfort and refinement to road holding and performance. It’s also comfortably sized and we doubt many prospective buyers will find it too big or too small.
But its strengths go beyond just rational box ticking – the XC40 is a stylish product inside and out, and it has a premium feel to it. Although, with a starting price of R728 300 for the T4 Inscription (base T3s start at R635 500), we’d expect nothing less.
Volvo XC40 T4 Inscription
Engine: 2.0-litre, 4-cyl, turbopetrol
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Drive: Front-wheel drive
Power: 140kW @ 5000rpm
Torque: 300Nm @ 1700-4 000rpm
Fuel use, highway: 7.8 l/100km (tested)
Fuel use, urban: 11.5 l/100km (tested)
Warranty: 5-year/100 000km
Maintenance plan: 5-year/100 000km
Price: R728 300