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By Jonathan Crouch
Volvo's compact XC40 SUV has delivered some new beginnings for the company. Jonathan Crouch drives it.
Ten Second Reviewword count: 53
Volvo's XC40 is much more than just a smaller version of the brand's larger SUVs. It gets its own 'CMA' platform, a very distinct design to set itself apart and lots of potential for electrification. The result is a slightly unusual alternative to premium-branded compact SUVs like Audi's Q3 and the BMW X1.
Backgroundword count: 104
Volvo took its time in developing a contender for the industry's fastest-growing market segment, that for compact family hatchback-based SUVs. The XC40 put that right. Under the skin lies a bespoke 'Compact Modular Architecture' platform that Volvo created with its Chinese owner Geely. It's a chassis that will in future be used by a whole range of new compact Volvo models, but it's hard to believe that many of them will be much more significant than this one. Established premium brand compact SUV contenders like BMW's X1, Mercedes' GLA and Audi's Q3 are all within this XC40's sights. So it'll have to be good.
Driving Experienceword count: 208
The XC40's 'CMA' platform has been based around provision for a whole range of future cutting-edge Volvo powerplants, including three cylinder engines plus Plug-in hybrid and a fully-electric versions. All the combustion units now fuel from the green pump and the range starts with a three cylinder 1.5-litre engine used in 129hp form in the T2 and in 163hp guise in the T3 variant. Both only come with front wheel drive and the T3 can be had with the option of auto transmission. Further up the petrol range, there's Volvo's 2.0-litre mild hybrid unit which has to be mated to auto transmission. It's available in 197hp form in the B4 petrol derivative (offered with front or four-wheel drive). If you want an electrified XC40, that 1.5-litre petrol engine also features in 129hp form mated to an 82hp electric motor in the Recharge T4 Twin Engine Plug-in hybrid model. And in 180hp form mated to an 82hp electric motor in the Recharge T5 Twin Engine Plug-in hybrid variant. There's also a full-electric model, the P8 Pure electric AWD Automatic, which has a 408hp fully electrified powertrain. Across the range, available driving systems include the brand's 'Pilot Assist' autonomous set-up which can steer and brake for you on the highway.
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Category: Crossover or SUV 4x4s
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