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Volvo XC 40 R-Design: The Safest compact SUV

+ The Safest car not only in this segment, but a segment above. Please watch the YouTube video of XC40 being crash tested and rollover. After 3 flips is when the body shell starts to destroy. The steel used in the center for occupants protection is of the highest grade in the world. I always believed that Airbags are overrated. Its the body shell and seatbelts that matter more.
+ This car screams quality everywhere. Phenomenal, built like an artillery Tank
+ Massive ground clearance of 205mm means you would never touch a speed breaker. (XE, are you there?)
+ Those brakes are lit, Mahindra please hire their brake engineer too. (While I write this, the XUV goes for 5th brake pad replacement in 70k km)
– The steering feedback is ‘okay’ at higher speeds but at lower speeds, I would rather prefer to sit in the rear
– Oh wait, I was kidding. Under thigh support is less and so is the space in-spite of having the longest wheelbase in class
– The XC40 is strictly for enthusiastic sedate drivers. Although Turbocharged, You miss that Wow factor when you tap the accelerator and the car begs to downshift itself more than what’s required
–  The car is noisy compared to its rivals
– The Diesel was available in AWD and this is only in FWD. When I asked for the reason in press conference, they said There are hardly any takers for it and this move would optimise the cost. Kind of makes sense though. I would NEVER take my XC40 off roading. Yes, AWD isn’t all about off roading.
– The 400nm Torque of Diesel will be missed, Volvo has discontinued it for XC40 and going forward no new Diesel engines will be developed.

Volvo has been very consistent with the design since day 1, especially after the introduction of v2 designs with the advent of Thor shaped DRL. Volvo is raising benchmarks with every new launch of theirs. The Volvo XC40 looks extremely sporty, stylish and striking at the same time. I wouldn’t shy away from badging it the best looking SUV in its category.

When the diesel XC40 was first launched, it was available in the R-Design trim only but then Volvo discontinued this variant and launched the Momentum and Inscription trims. However, the petrol variant is only available with the R-Design trim. Well, not much has changed on the outside and this SUV does look the best in its segment. In fact, I’d say the design makes this car look a bit more expensive than it actually is. There’s barely any unnecessary chrome on the outside and a lot of design elements have blacked out and the Thor’s hammer headlamps add a lot of flair to the car. The design looks proportionate and this classy approach works really well.


Volvos have always been fascinating with their simplistic yet elegant interiors. The materials are top-notch with very premium feel. The vertical AC vents are carried away from elder siblings. The AC is a bone chiller. The gear knob is small but very intuitive to use. The visibility from driver’s seat is top notch and the seats offer supreme levels of comfort in the front, however things aren’t great at the rear. The Volvo XC40 petrol comes with a single interior colour option for now, and that is all-black. The diesel variant used to come with a black and orange layout with the white exterior colour option and honestly it looked very cool and made the XC40 even stand out from other cars. The R design variant comes with features like a large 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system with 14 Harman Kardon speakers. Not sure, if the market is ready for a fully-touchscreen infotainment system.


Drive the T4, and a few things instantly become apparent. It surely doesn’t feel as quick as the petrol-powered BMW X1, but its power delivery is quite linear. Its 300Nm of torque kicks in from as low as 1,750rpm to ensure that the motor doesn’t feel lethargic at any point. While comparing this to the 35 TDI from the Lord of the rings would be an apple-to-orange comparison, still its difficult to steer away from the Q3 at this price point.

The engine is refined and quite silent too – unless you go hard on the throttle that is. At higher revs, it does get a bit noisy inside the cabin, but it isn’t all that unpleasant. Like in the diesel, the XC40’s 8-speed transmission isn’t the quickest out there. While it shifts smoothly, it lacks the eagerness with which BMW tunes its ZF 8-speed. Fortunately, the XC40 comes with paddle shifters, which means that you can shift for yourself if you so choose. Don’t miss this lovely shade of Blue though.

Ride and Handling:


Volvo has set really high standards in terms of ride quality with the larger XC offerings, but it must be noted that they sit on air suspension, while this baby XC rides on steel springs. Despite this, the XC40 gives us no reason to complain, even on less-than-perfect roads.

The high-speed stability is impressive, and the vertical movement is well controlled too. Unlike the diesel, the T4 that we have here is a front-wheel drive, which means that there is a bit of understeer on twisty roads. The feedback from the steering could’ve been better too. Although not the most fun car in its class, the XC40 is quite predictable all the same.

Final words

If you are looking for a compact SUV in the luxury segment that goes bonkers in petrol, stay away from the XC 40. But, if you are shopping for a composed all-rounder which screams safety from the showroom shelves, look no further than this Swedish House Mafia. Packed to the teeth with features, sophisticated looks and safety features that still make others look like bumper cars at an amusement park. Put up against the likes of Mercedes GLA and BMW X1, the single-variant XC 40 T4 – priced at 39.90 lakh (ex showroom) will end up possibly disappointing those looking for adrenaline rush galore but then again, you would never want to hit the Nurburgring or the Autobahn in the XC 40, its about getting there the way it deserves to be. SAFE.

105 thoughts on “Volvo XC 40 R-Design: The Safest compact SUV”

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