Behind the wheel
Driving position, visibility, build quality
All of our contenders have fine driving positions, complete with a comfortable seat and a height and reach-adjustable steering wheel, but the XC40’s is the best, for two reasons. On R-Design Pro trim, you get multi-way electric seat adjustment, including adjustable lumbar support. The Tiguan gets manual adjustment, also including adjustable lumbar support. Both of these cost extra on the X1.
The other reason is the XC40’s lofty driving position. It’s the highest here, with the X1’s by far the lowest, making the Volvo feel the most SUV-like.
We do have one criticism of the XC40: its climate control system. You adjust it via the touchscreen, which is far more of a faff than the physical controls in the others, although you can also do it with voice control, which works well.
Being so high up also gives you a clear view forward, although the XC40’s raked-up rear windows limit your view when reversing. All three cars get rear parking sensors but require you to pay extra for a rear-view camera.
Both the X1 and XC40 score highly for interior quality. Their construction gives the impression they’ll deal with a battering from kids and dogs, yet they still look and feel plush, being laden with lush, soft materials. The Tiguan feels solid but has the most hard plastics and doesn’t have quite the same classy air as its rivals.
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