Plus: returning CEO confirms all Lambos will be plug-in hybrid by 2024
You are here
The Top Gear car review: Volvo XC40
On the inside
Layout, finish and space
The cabin is amped-up a bit compared with the calm nordic vibe of the bigger Volvos. The air vents stand out from the dash in little oblong nacelles, and the dash garnish strips are scalloped out of the main surface. They’re also top-lit, and come in chequerboard machined aluminium as an alternative to birch-forest natural-matte wood.
Rather than covering the doors entirely in leather or fake pleather, Volvo wraps a major section of the XC40’s door inner in a fuzzy material colour-matched to the carpet. Refreshingly bold or revoltingly barmy? We think the former.
All versions get both a full-size centre-dash connected screen with fully traffic-aware navigation, and a full-TFT driver display. This is the sort of kit that rival premium makers always show in their adverts (and fit to their press test cars) but actually charge extra for. Same goes for LED headlights and 18-inch wheels.
As always with Volvo’s touchscreen system, it’s got nice graphics and understandable menus. But easy to fathom isn’t the same as easy to use. Many functions demand a series of multiple screen-presses, which is hard to do when you’re bouncing down the road. None of it can be done by haptics alone, so you have to take your eyes off the driving. More actual hardware switches would help.
The seats are terrific, and the driving position is generally fine. It’s an SUV position, with your back upright and your legs down. As we’ve seen in its dynamics, it doesn’t pretend to be a low-slung sportster.
Rear leg and headroom are fine for adults. Kids might find the rising window line chops off their sideways view. Or do kids ever look out of the window these days? They’re all on their devices. And the XC40 provides plenty of ports to charge them, as well as wifi.
Cabin storage is the sum of some clever ideas. The hi-fi bass units are in the dash rather than the doors, which frees up enough space in each door bin to swallow a laptop. Meanwhile the console includes two lidded bins behind the cupholders.
One is the deep armrest bin. The second bin is removable, so you can use it as a rubbish bin and rapidly void the cabin of accumulated sweet wrappers, parking tickets and orange peel. A curry hook folds out from the glovebox lid in case you’re doing a little freelance Deliverooing.
The boot floor does a clever origami up-fold that divides the boot into two, making a deep trough to stop shopping bags toppling. The parcel shelf fits under the floor too. The sort of boring stuff that doesn’t sell a car, but does make it easier to live with.