New Volvo XC40 vs BMW X1 vs Volkswagen Tiguan

After the success of its larger XC60 and XC90 SUVs, Volvo is wading into an even tougher fight with the XC40. Its first task is to beat the BMW X1 and VW Tiguan...

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What Car? team
23 Jan 2017 23:0 | Last updated: 14 Jun 2018 0:3

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.

New Volvo XC40 vs BMW X1 vs Volkswagen Tiguan

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.

New Volvo XC40 vs BMW X1 vs Volkswagen Tiguan

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.