Reviewed the universally praised Volvo XC40 SUV

In Car Reviews, Volvo by Neil Lyndon

The new Volvo XC40 has been universally praised and heaped with awards.

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Its natty design, glorious interior, rock-solid build-quality and stirring performance have made it Car of the Year in a hatful of competitions (including my vote in both awards where I have a voice).

Neil Lyndon enjoys the Volvo XC40 so much he wants one

Amid all the acclamation, however, one quality of this splendid car seems to have been overlooked: a week with an XC40 proves that it has an unexpected character as a cliché-killer.

Not only does it disprove the hoary notion that absence makes the heart grow fonder; but it also drives a stake through the weary platitude that familiarity breeds contempt. In both cases, the opposite turned out to be true.

Having enjoyed extended experiences with the XC40 in the last 12 months, I wasn’t much enthused to find one standing on our drive, having been delivered for a week’s loan. Truth to tell, I was a bit ho-hum about the whole prospect. Absence hadn’t made this heart grow fonder. If anything, it had induced a degree of indifference.

That jaded world-weariness lasted about three seconds. First of all, my heart got a big lift out of our XC40’s paint-job.

Not since I was 12, when I was standing beside a Nash Metropolitan at my first Earl’s Court Motor Show 60 years ago, have I been so tickled by a combination of off-white roof, sea-blue flanks and white wheels. If ever a car was decorated in the colours of Palm Beach on a day when the sun is high and the breeze is wafting in off the sea, this is the one (slightly out of place in grey and wintry Fife, then, but who cares?).

While some might think that appearance offers an appropriate setting for bleached hair and fake tits, it was a nice surprise to find – over the extended experience of a week’s driving – that the XC40’s character isn’t all female. From the moment I first sat in an XC40, I knew instinctively that my wife would love it and wanted to be in a position to buy one for her. During my week with our test car, however, the more muscular and possibly male aspects of the XC40’s make-up made themselves felt, especially when hammering around country roads in Scotland, where I live.

The 150 bhp D3 version we borrowed with eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive rides on Volvo’s CMA (Compact Modular Architecture) platform which will underpin all of Volvo’s coming 40 series models.

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With 0-60 mph in 10 seconds, performance is not exactly fiery but what matters more is its rock-solid handling and electric responsiveness. I loved it more and more with every drive.

A few imperfections made themselves felt over the week. Finding radio stations that haven’t been preset through the iPad-like 9” centre console display is such a fiddly business and takes so many seconds with eyes off the road that it’s positively hazardous. And there was something else I didn’t like but it must have been trivial because I can’t bring it to mind now.

Overall, then, far from breeding contempt, my week with the XC40 endeared it so deeply to my heart that I now want one not just for my wife but, primarily, for myself


Car reviewed: Volvo XC40 D3 AWD Momentum Pro Auto  – On the road £33,820 model with options as tested £39,670 0-62mph 10.4 secs Top speed 124mph Fuel Economy combined 52.3mpg CO2 emissions 142g/km Engine 1969cc 4-cylinder diesel EU6 Max Power Engine [email protected] Engine Torque [email protected] Transmission 8-speed automatic


  • A great looking SUV

  • Superbly appointed interior

  • Two-tone paint job

  • Fiddly radio settings

What the others say about the Volvo XC40 on YouTube...

About the author
Neil Lyndon

Neil Lyndon

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Neil Lyndon has been a journalist, broadcaster and writer on the UK's national stage for 40 years, writing for every "quality" newspaper on Fleet Street. He started writing about cars and motorbikes for The Sunday Times in the 1980s and was Motoring Correspondent of the Sunday Telegraph for 20 years, having previously written a column on motorbikes for Esquire. He is also recognised as a leading commentator on gender politics, having published No More Sex War in 1992 - the first ever critique of feminism from a radical, egalitarian point of view.

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Volvo XC40
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