Considering the huge number of cars they sell, it’s probably wrong to criticise German prestige brands for using the ‘Russian doll’ design mentality that leads to such a strong resemblance between models. It can often leave you struggling to tell one version from another, though, so it's jolly refreshing when a rival is a bit braver, as Volvo has been with the distinctive design of its smallest SUV, the Volvo XC40.
Of course, the XC40 retains some unique Volvo design cues — its ‘Thor Hammer’ headlights and equally striking LED rear lights ape the company’s other models and keep the bloodline intact — but the rest of the car's detailing, as well as the overall proportions of this family SUV, are quite different. It certainly doesn't look as if Volvo has popped the blueprints for the XC60 or XC90 into a photocopier, selected ‘reduce size’ and pushed print.
Proof that the Swedes want to lead, not follow, can also be found in other areas beyond the car’s design. The XC40 was the first model in Volvo's range to be offered on a subscription scheme called Care by Volvo. This helps your budgeting by wrapping up costs including insurance, taxes, maintenance and roadside assistance in one simple monthly payment.
Meanwhile, and less of a surprise given the brand's history, Volvo claims that the XC40 is the safest car of its type, with a long list of high-tech driver aids borrowed from more expensive models in its range.
Now, this car is a previous What Car? Car of the Year, so it's no secret that it's good. But that was in 2018, so is the XC40 still better than the likes of the BMW X1, Range Rover Evoque and Volkswagen Tiguan? Read on to find out.
If you decide to buy an XC40, or any other new car for that matter, take a look at our new car deals to see how much you could save without any unsavoury haggling involved.