As we are sipping our mocktail (no cocktail – we have to drive a brand new car – what did you expect) we are asked to select a white and a black iPhones and take place behind one of the iPads around the tables. We have no clue what’s going to happen but straight away the Volvo team starts talking us through the brand new ‘Find your car’ app, a neat car sharing service which allows you, your family and friends to share the Volvo XC40 without the need for keys. Thanks to the new digital key technology the owner of the Volvo XC40 can manage via ‘Volvo on Call’ all the requests from acquaintances to use his car. You as an applicant can apply for a certain period and immediately find out through the app whether the car in that period is still available or not. Once you as an owner grant access you enable the person that requested to use the car to locate the car through an interactive map and unlock it without keys.
Volvo XC40 Owner
Volvo XC40 guest
Ten minutes later the app summoned us to enter a car park with… about a dozen of Volvo XC40’s. Oh my God, what did we have to do know. I push an icon on the app and all of the sudden a Volvo XC40 a bit further starts horning and flashing its lights. It’s a very amusing phenomenon when less than a minute later some twenty journalists all arrive at the same time and about twenty Volvo XC40 ‘s start honking. Amusing for us but definitely annoying for the people living around. It was as if the car park got crazy. But don’t worry. The chance that about ten Volvo’s start honking at the same time is rather small and car sharing is the future.
But what about the driving? Designed and engineered in Sweden, born in Ghent – yes, yes the car is assembled in Belgium – the Volvo XC40 is ideal to cover your daily kilometers in utmost safety. Wherever we sit in this crossover, head- and legroom is always generous with a pleasant high up position behind the wheel which adds to the feeling of safety. On this theme, the Swedish brand pushes the boundaries even further. That’s at least what we discover at our next stop in Barcelona: HAV surfboards. While the passionate guys of this company known for its handmade custom surfboards explain us all about the influence of the size of the surf board on your surf experience we admire the way how the surfboards are made by hand.
From the safety measures you have tot take into account during an adventurous sport as surfing it’s just a small step to the safety aspect of the new Volvo XC40. Safety and driver-assistance features include Volvo’s semi-autonomous Pilot Assist system, the latest generation of City Safety (a system which warns when a collision is imminent and which brakes automatically when you don’t react fast enough, and which is standard on all XC40 models), Run-off Road Protection and Mitigation and Cross Traffic Alert with auto brake. All safety measures to make the driving more relax, so we experience. We can enjoy the city to the fullest even while driving. Last but not least, our test car is equipped with a 360° camera that helps us manoeuvre the car even into the tightest parking space.
Monthly (grocery) shopping? No problem with the XC40! The luggage space is with 460 liters somewhat smaller than the competition but offers enough space for a whole range of shopping bags with practical hooks on the proper places to stock everything neatly. In order to provide better storage space in the doors, Volvo chose a radical new approach. By developing a world-first, air-ventilated dashboard-mounted subwoofer the car manufacturer could remove speakers from the door and create enough storage in the door compartment for a laptop and a tablet, or a couple of 1 liter water bottles. If that’s not enough both front seats offer a storage space under the seat, which is large enough to put a mini tablet. In the tunnel console, under the armrest, there is a large storage area with room for a tissue box and a removable bin allows you to discard and quickly get rid of waste.
We applaud the 190 HP diesel engine which is powerful as well as silent, even when we floor the throttle. This seems not to be always a good idea however, as the 8-speed auto box reacts quite hesitantly in these circumstances. On winding stretches it is also clear that this crossover is not made to be thrown around in a sporting manner, but this does not disturb us unduly. This compact SUV knows what it wants. It focuses on (family) life in the city but offers thanks to the large ground clearance also the possibility to leave the trodden path to enjoy a picknick out in the open.
OUR TEST CAR Volvo XC40 D4 AWD R-design, diesel, 190 HP
TEST CONSUMPTION 8,7 l/100 km
CO2 EMISSION 131g/100 km
BUDGET from €30.400 – Price test car: €45.200 BIV €789 Euro – Road tax 496,23 Euro.
Quiet diesel engine
Practical storage facilities
The automatic gearbox hesitant in certain driving conditions
Luggage space somewhat smaller than concurrents
Lane assist function not flawless in the dark.