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£39,050 when new
Ah, the new Volvo XC40. Let me guess, plodder to drive, lovely to live with? Less than half right. It’s actually not such a plodder to drive at all, which I’ll come on to in due course. The XC40 is, of course, Volvo’s eagerly awaited first time entry into the crossover market. It’s about the same size as a Nissan Qashqai, seats five, has a boot big enough to be useful and comes from Sweden – with all the good connotations that involves. But Volvo already has a car in this market – the V40 Cross Country. And when was the last time you saw one of those? You make a good point though – the V40 hatch is a decent car, but this is built on Volvo’s all new CMA (Compact Modular Architecture) platform – which is likely to spawn a V40 hatch and BMW 3 Series rivaling S40 compact saloon in the fullness of time. But Volvo doesn’t want you to see this as related to the V40 in any way. As good as the hatch may be, it is a more conservative car with an older age profile. The XC40 is different. Not least because it’s a cracking piece of industrial design. It looks tough and robust without being domineering or aggressive. It exudes safety yet manages to convey a certain dynamism. It’s clever, striking and desirable. I really can see people ditching their Q3/X1/GLA and even Evoque in favour of this.