Driving position and dashboard
The front seats are some of the best you’ll find in any family SUV. There’s a wide range of adjustment for tilt and height, plus four-way electric lumbar adjustment on all versions. Go for Inscription trim or any Pro model and you'll also get a fully electric driver’s seat.
You sit higher than you do in many rivals, particularly the BMW X1. So instead of feeling like a slightly jacked-up family hatchback, the XC40 imparts the sensation that you’re in a proper SUV.
Digital instruments are standard and prove easy to read at a glance, and because the minimalist dashboard design carries few physical buttons, it’s easy to recognise and navigate those that are there. Our only criticism is that the degree of minimalism means you have to delve into the touchscreen simply to adjust the climate control. At least you can tweak the interior temperature by using voice control.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
Slim windscreen pillars combine with the elevated seating to give you a good view forward, while the large door mirrors let you see clearly what's drawing up alongside . Standard LED headlights also make it easy to navigate at night.
Over-the-shoulder vision is compromised by the way the window line kicks up towards the rear of the car — it's fortunate, then, that rear parking sensors are standard across the range (front parking sensors are also fitted to Inscription cars and are optional on other models). A rear-view camera and a bird's-eye-view camera are relatively inexpensive extras on all models.
Sat nav and infotainment
As in other modern Volvos, the dashboard of the XC40 is dominated by a 9.0in tablet-style touchscreen that has allowed the designers to slash the number of buttons and create a minimalist ambience.
Not that the absence of buttons is all good news. While the idea of a screen that lets you swipe, pinch and scroll – like you do with an iPad – sounds good in theory, in reality it means you really have to concentrate on simple tasks likes changing the radio station or tapping an address into the sat-nav. Things aren't helped by the fact that some of the icons are small and the screen doesn’t always react that quickly to commands.
Still, at least the screen is crystal clear and there are plenty of features, including standard satellite-navigation and a DAB radio. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring is available as an option.
When it comes to interior quality Volvo now ranks alongside the best in the business and the XC40 is no exception. It looks and feels so exceptionally classy inside that the Range Rover Evoque, and BMW's X1 and X2, are the only other family SUVs that can hold a candle to the Volvo.
All the surfaces you'll frequently touch feel suitably upmarket, thanks to plush, soft-faced materials and smart wood veneer or metal highlights. And everything feels robust, too, so should stand the test of time and the rigours of family use.
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