- The little status symbol of the sensible
- Volvo has lost the square and box-shaped
- Development of self-driving cars stalled at Volvo
- The typical Volvo cosiness has remained
The little status symbol of the sensible
Style editor WELT am SONNTAG
The Volvo XC40 is pretty big for a compact SUV
Source: Jakob Hoff
The XC40 is Volvo’s first compact SUV. It looks good, is still affordable and has many original details. But it also shows that the road to self-driving cars is still a long one.
S.It’s sweet how the little Swedish flag peeks out from under the hood of the Volvo XC40. In the introductory phase of this new model, all vehicles are equipped with the blue and yellow plastic emblem; in future it will remain available as an accessory. Look, here comes a real Swede, it seems to want to say.
That should please the Volvo fans, who like to pretend that they have opted for a particularly durable and a bit stoic, but somehow also clever car that can withstand every encounter with a moose. The Volvo is the status symbol of the sensible.
With the XC40, the carmaker from Gothenburg (since 2010 a wholly owned subsidiary of the Chinese Geely Group, whose owner and chairman Lu Shifu recently bought significant shares in Daimler AG attracted attention) his first compact SUV before.
Volvo demands at least 31,350 euros for the XC40
Source: Jakob Hoff
Volvo is thus entering a segment that is enjoying continued popularity because it offers the maximum number of cars at a price that can be easily reconciled with a medium to high five-digit annual salary – depending on the requirements for equipment and comfort.
The range is enormous: the more or less bare basic model of the XC40 is available for 31,350 euros. Those who value four-wheel drive, however, have to spend at least 44,800 euros, and the test car equipped with all the trimmings costs as much as 56,190 euros.
Volvo has lost the square and box-shaped
In addition to the Swedish flag, there are a few other pretty details with which the car stands out from direct competitors such as the Audi Q3 and the Jaguar E-Pace or the BMW X2 takes off, including a drawer under the driver’s seat and a removable waste bin in the center console. Additional storage space has been created on the inside of the doors by placing the bass boxes behind the instrument panel.
The vertical ventilation slots and the horizontal decorative elements look classy, but not ostentatious. The transparent plastic clip on the inside of the windshield, to which parking tickets can be attached, is also very practical, so that they are no longer fluttering around somewhere in front, but can be easily seen by any inspectors.
Through the diagonal on the wide grilleand the now typical L-shaped rear lights can still be recognized as a Volvo right away. The roof looks like a spoiler and is optionally painted in a contrasting color, which gives the car a sporty look.
The little Swedish flag peeking out from under the hood of the Volvo XC40 is a fun detail
Source: Jakob Hoff
However, it has nothing of the cockiness and subliminal aggressiveness that can lead to hasty conclusions about the character traits of its occupants in some other SUV models that you encounter on the road. It is therefore quite understandable that 60 auto journalists from 23 European countries named the Volvo XC40 "Car of the Year 2018" have chosen. The award has been presented since 1964 and is associated with high prestige for manufacturers.
The interior of the XC40, on the other hand, is a reminder of how misleading the designation compact SUV is. Or am I the only one who imagines a smaller car when he hears that word? The panoramic roof may reinforce the impression, but the car looks so big that it is hard to believe that with the XC90, Volvo also offers an SUV that is not just one but two sizes larger. Behind the wheel, you feel like you’re on a throne.
Development of self-driving cars stalled at Volvo
Over a long weekend we drive the XC40 to the Giant Mountains on the other side of the Polish border, where a local microclimate ensures that the snow stays there for a long time. While the Skodas of the local day-trippers slide with spinning tires over the snow-covered parking spaces of the ski area on the ridge of the Schneekoppe, the XC40 pushes itself over the smooth surface as confidently as a snow plow. Only the shift stub in the center console bothers a bit when maneuvering, as it easily gets stuck in idle when moving from "D" to "R".
A drive through snow and mud also shows the limits of the capabilities of assistance systems that are currently being sold to us as preliminary stages of self-driving cars, in which we will supposedly be moving in the not too distant future. If the optical sensors are dirty and the lane markings are covered with slush, the electronic helpers inevitably leave the driver in the lurch.
The XC40 is unmistakably a Volvo, but it doesn’t look like the little brother of the XC60 or XC90
Source: Jakob Hoff
Under difficult weather conditions, of all things, he is on his own again and has to get along without the support of a reversing camera or lane change warning system, to which he may have just gotten used to.
The fact that the road to self-driving cars is even further than the evangelists of digitization and smart mobility would like to admit became clear recently in the US state of Arizona, where a driverless test vehicle from the travel agent Uber killed a passer-by. However, the Swedish manufacturer cannot be blamed for the fact that the accident car was a Volvo XC90.
The typical Volvo cosiness has remained
Volvo has only agreed to deliver 24,000 vehicles for testing purposes, with no control over what Uber does-Hire technicians with it. But Volvo also seems to be developing self-driving cars not to have progressed as far as expected.
A few years ago, the company announced full-bodied that it would be sending a fleet of 100 self-driving test vehicles to the Gothenburg ring road by 2018 as part of the “Drive Me” pilot project. Finally, there was only a meek talk of initially two families who support the project and carry out tests in a controlled environment.
In the XC40, the assistance functions are at least so well developed that in favorable traffic and weather conditions you can cover several hundred kilometers on the motorway without using the pedals even once.
You might be tempted to give the car the typical Volvo comfort with which it rolls – but with a teaching weight of over 1.8 tons, which is moved by a slim 2-liter diesel engine with 190 hp, you can hardly do that Sports car agility expect. Here, too, reason has triumphed.
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10 thoughts on “Volvo XC40 in the test: the Car of the Year 2018 is that good”
Visited this car on the day it was released.
1. The B-pillar is far too far forward. Getting in means squeezing in. Something else is comfortable.
2. No head-up display available. Weak in this price range.
3. Misleading presentation on the internet. The presentation at the dealer is very bad. 2 vehicles were there, of which the top model could not even be viewed because it was already locked "sold". The dealer looked unprepared. Obviously the presentation date came too suddenly.
every new car pollutes the environment more than an old diesel. No matter if gasoline or electric
Who actually needs a car as a status symbol??
Take a look inside a BMW or a New Mini. The people you see in it need it…
Without exception, I like the new Volvos very much – except for this one. I don’t like the tail or the sidelines. In a direct comparison with the Alfa Stelvio displayed in the advertising bar, my dislike comes to the fore even more.
What overpriced boxes. I prefer to grab the cheap Dacia Duster and have a fully equipped SUV 4×4 for € 18,000. The normal German painter can perhaps still afford that from his meager salary.
We have two of these boxes in the company, they have the nickname "Ceaușescu’s final vengeance."
Who needs a car as a status symbol??
A small SUV that is still available for a mere EUR 56,190 "affordable" Heard cars?
With my EUR 2,000 Golf (20 years old) I can get from A to B – and I’m even cheaper in terms of maintenance costs…
So I wouldn‘t pay 2,000 euros for a 20-year-old Golf …