Volvo XC40 long-term test review
The Volvo XC40 saw off all comers to be named the 2018 What Car? Car of the Year. We’ve added one to our long-term test fleet to see if it’s as impressive when you live with it every day...
- The car Volvo XC40 D4 First Edition
- Run by Steve Huntingford, editor
- Why it’s here To see if this class-leading family SUV has any flaws that weren’t obvious when we tested it against rivals
- Needs to Offer outstanding comfort and practicality, a quality interior and low running costs
Price £39,905 Price as tested £39,905 Miles 5200 Official economy 56.5mpg Test economy 37.4mpg Options fitted None
25 July 2018 – the same but different
There was a time when upgrading to a more expensive trim got you velour seats, a clock and maybe, if you were really lucky, an illuminated glovebox. However, it didn't fundamentally change a car's character, so you could take the high-spec dealer demonstrator for a test drive safe in the knowledge that other versions would ride and handle in much the same way.
No longer. These days, almost every car manufacturer offers multiple suspension options and wheel sizes that can have a huge impact on the way a car drives, so unless you order the exact same model – or read the What Car? review – you can't be sure what the car you've ordered is going to feel like until it arrives.
Take the Volvo XC40. Last month, I briefly swapped my D4 First Edition for a T3 Momentum Pro. This not only gave me my first taste of the entry-level petrol engine, but also my first experience of an XC40 with standard suspension (rather than my car's sportier, R-Design set-up) and 19in wheels (in place of my 20s).
Combined, these changes mean the T3 suffers from more body float over fast, undulating roads, but less of the side-to-side jostling that you get in my car over uneven city streets.
In addition, the T3 doesn't feel quite as sharp as my car, due to its extra body lean in corners and the fact that its Continental tyres offer less grip than the Pirellis that clothe the 20in wheels. But the T3 is much better at shutting out road noise, with the tyres once again the most likely difference.
Which is better overall depends on your priorities. But it emphasises the need to try – or at least do your research – before you buy.
For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here