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First Drive

First Drive: Volvo XC40 T3

The story:
Volvo has added more power and an automatic gearbox to its smallest SUV’s entry engine as part of a model year update to the Company Car Today 2019 CCT100 Premium Small Crossover of the Year
Category:Premium small crossover
Key rival:BMW X3
MPG:39.2 mpg
On sale:Now

Volvo’s XC40 is possibly the model that best competes at the sharp end of its sector against the premium German rivals, excellently combining the qualities that are helping the Swedish brand to make inroads into the fleet sector.

The small crossover model has had a minor workover to the range, the highlight being both extra power and, for the first time, an automatic gearbox for the entry model to the range, the T3 petrol unit. It now offers 163hp, up by 7hp, but it is also a couple of g/km more efficient. That said, the likes of the Audi Q3 and 150hp BMW X1 are a fair distance ahead of the Volvo for emissions.

The automatic gearbox adds 5g/km and £1550 so there is a £27 per month BiK impact for higher-rate taxpayers, but it’s still cheaper to buy and to pay company car tax on than the diesel, at least until such a time as Volvo adds an RDE2-compliant diesel engine.

First Drive-November 2019-Volvo XC40-Image 1The petrol engine is a gem, feeling more powerful than the figures suggest, while also being very refined. The new auto gearbox, engaged via the stubby lever in the cabin, is a good fit with this engine.

New standard equipment across the range includes auto-fold mirrors, a 12V power outlet in the locking glovebox and a load-protection net.

Otherwise, the XC40 remains a strong competitor, combining distinctive good looks, excellent interior space, a high-class cabin and decent driving experience.

Running costs also impress, thanks in part to top-notch residual values that give it an overall running cost advantage over key rivals.


paul barker

The verdict

A new automatic gearbox for this T3 petrol engine adds another string to the XC40’s bow, and the entry engine feels a far from budget choice. Only slightly high efficiency figures let the petrol XC40 down.