By Asian Journal Auto Editor

2018 Volvo XC40 R-design pic 1Volvo’s newest model to join its growing line up is the XC40, a compact SUV that’s both stylish and practical with a unique premium unique look. There is Volvo’s corporate grille up front along and T-shape headlights while the side profile is smart and effective looking. An available contrasting white or black roof that extends partway down to the stylish. A stand out feature is the large notched C-pillar that give the XC40 a distinctive side profile, while the XC40’s signature LED taillights are also unmistakable. It’s the ideal sized SUV for most people and arrives beautifully packaged. Sole engine is a 248-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder, touted by Volvo as more powerful than any of its segment competitors. The direct-injection, unit produces 258 pound-feet of torque from 1,800 to 4,800 rpm. The only available transmission is eight-speed automatic, transmitting power to all four wheels, that allows the Volvo to accelerate to 100 km/h in 6.5 seconds. The Volvo XC40 arrives in three models, starting at $41,915 for the Momentum trim level, $46,115 for the sport-orientated R-Design, and $48,615 for the top Inscription version. We tested the R-Design that adds upgrades such with 19-inch black finished wheels, a black-accented grille, a special three-spoke steering wheel, interior trim upgrades, a black headliner, and metal R-Design front tread plates.

2018 Volvo-XC40 PIC 2The cabin of the XC40 is very impressive, High-quality materials and excellent finish are a hallmark. While a two-tone interior set off nice satin metal trim to finish it off. A well-designed dash offers a smart tablet-like 9.0-inch center touchscreen display (with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto) and a 12.3-inch digital driver display as its focal point and includes Volvo’s excellent Sensus infotainment system —with super clear graphics that operates most of the XC40’s crossover’s functions, such as climate, audio, navigation and phone. The two screens, one in front of the driver, the other in the central dash can be configured a number of ways. Also included is a Wi-Fi hotspot, three USB ports (two front, one rear), a 250-watt sound system, Bluetooth, Sirius XM radio, and Volvo’s On Call app with controls for remote start, door locks, There’s also a cell phone charge pad. Options include available Sensus Navigation, a 600-watt Harmon Kardon sound system, wireless phone charging, and a 360-degree surround view camera.

The seats are, in the typical Volvo mould, very comfortable and supportive on long journeys. Lots of cargo room, too, while storage is excellent with a cubby beneath the driver’s seat, a built-in waste receptacle, and a reconfigurable trunk floor. Rear passengers benefit from ample legroom and headroom, with plenty of light coming through the available panoramic sunroof. The XC40’s trunk accommodates 21 cubic feet of storage, and can expand to 47.2 cu. ft. with the rear seats folded. The rear seats are 60/40 split while a power lift gate with hands-free opening. Note, the R-Design has a kick-to-open feature for the tailgate.

As usual, safety is a high feature on all Volvo’s and the XC40 is no exception. In addition to passive safety features like a full suite of airbags, the XC40 arrives active driver aids, such as automatic emergency braking, road sign information, lane keeping assistance, oncoming lane mitigation, and pedestrian detection. Available driver assistance features include adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and braking, and parking assistance. Other safety features, include a vision system that detects pedestrians, cyclists, and a blind-spot warning system. Volvo’s semi-autonomous Pilot Assist system with adaptive cruise control, is part of the optional ($1,600) Convenience Package. It works to a degree, but like all driver-assistance technology from all manufacturers need refinement. The adaptive cruise control, meanwhile is excellent. The XC40 comes standard with multiple drive modes, including Eco, Comfort, Off-Road, Dynamic, and Individual (a customizable setting for steering and powertrain response). Each mode adjusts various engine, transmission, and chassis, generally there are no issues on road, with the decent enough acceleration, supple ride quality, and good cornering. Highly recommended and good to see a premium Volvo SUV within the reach of most buyers. A more discerning alternative to the usual German competition.

2018 Volvo XC40 R-Design model — priced from $46,115. More info at