Why can't I get the Volvo XC40 I want in red?

A reader sees red over Volvo's restriction of the paint colour options of the top trim level of its XC40 family SUV...

Volvo XC40

I recently ordered a new Volvo XC40 T4 Inscription but found I couldn't have it in the colour I want – even though Volvo makes the XC40 in that colour. Inscription is the most expensive and luxurious specification for this car, yet Volvo offers it only in two greys, two blacks, a dark blue, a silver, a brown and a white, which, in my opinion, is a dull pallette.

By contrast, the cheaper Momentum trim includes a red, while R-Design includes a bright blue and a red, meaning buyers choosing the cheaper XC40 variants get a wider choice of colours than those spending more on the top trim.

Volvo XC40

Since interior trim choices are standard across all XC40 variants, why isn’t the full range of bodywork colours? Surely to broaden a car’s appeal to the widest range of customers, a full colour choice is essential. Moreover, buyers spending more than £35,000 on a car should have that choice; Volvo’s restriction just makes no sense.

My local Volvo dealership, Caffyns Eastbourne, can’t get an answer and the only response I could get from Volvo’s UK customer relations department was: “That’s just the way it is.”

Can you find out why Volvo employs such a senseless restriction?

Edmond Burchell

What Car? says...

We asked Volvo why it has chosen to restrict the bodywork colour choices on, but unfortunately we didn't get a great response. The spokesman said: "Different trim levels are often available in different colours, although the availability of the XC40’s colours is largely dictated by the Volvo designers in Sweden." 

Volvo XC40

Anecdotally, we've heard that more expensive models are sometimes offered in more subdued colours because it gives them a more premium image. 

For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here

Best family SUVs - and the ones to avoid

Buying a car that will transport and protect your family is one of life’s most important decisions. That's why we've gathered together our favourite family SUVs that cater for the growing number of people looking for a mix of space, practicality and sensible running costs, but also a raised ride height and off-road looks.

Practicality is paramount, but that shouldn’t come at the expense of a decent drive. We’re looking for tidy handling, smooth engines and a ride that is comfy enough to ensure the kids aren’t left feeling queasy.

And along with good space inside, we’d like to see a high-quality interior and an infotainment system that’s easy to use and packed with the latest features.

10. Toyota C-HR

The C-HR sits below the RAV4 in Toyota's SUV line-up. Even the cheapest Icon trim comes with a decent amount of kit, and there's also a hybrid version that will help keep running costs down.

Decent to drive and generously equipped, the C-HR makes a good case for itself, especially if you're a company car driver and opt for the hybrid version. However, it's pricer to buy than rivals and doesn't have much space for rear-seat passengers.

Read our full Toyota C-HR review, see our latest deals or see our leasing offers

9. Renault Kadjar

Welcome to a French take on the hugely popular Nissan Qashqai – the equally intriguingly named Renault Kadjar. The Kadjar is also a rival to the Kia Sportage, Seat Ateca and Skoda Yeti, but it's the aforementioned Nissan that it has most in common with, because it uses the same underpinnings and engines.

The Renault Kadjar undercuts many of its rivals on costs and CO2 emissions. It's an outstanding option if you’re after a spacious family SUV.

Read our full Renault Kadjar review, see our latest deals or see our leasing offers

8. Audi Q3

The second-generation Audi Q3 offers a stunning interior, complete with Audi's latest MMI infotainment system. It also has plenty of space for both passengers and luggage. All in, it's a very compelling proposition, even if its ride can sometimes be a little firm and some of its engines can sound rough.

Read our full Audi Q3 review, see our latest deals or see our leasing offers