We drove the Volvo XC40 T4 petrol variant, and here’s a lowdown of the technological highlights of this Swedish luxury compact SUV
The new Volvo XC40 T4 petrol variant has replaced the diesel version of the luxury compact SUV, which has now been discontinued. Auto Tech Review was invited by Volvo Cars India to drive the XC40 T4 petrol variant in Goa, and experience all that the new powertrain had to offer. Here is our perspective of the technologies that make the XC40 a Volvo in the true sense of the name.
The Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) body style has witnessed tremendous demand in the global markets as well as in India. Auto companies have traditionally offered SUVs that have a large footprint combined with butch exteriors and minimal interiors, but this trend has been changing towards smaller sized vehicles with more comfort and safety features.
This trend has marked the entry of the compact SUVs across all vehicle categories from pretty much all manufacturers across the globe. This segment offers the best of the typical SUV design elements packaged into a smaller size, which is now friendlier, in terms of being used in urban centres with high levels of congestion and lower parking spaces.
The Volvo XC40 was introduced in India in 2018, but back then the luxury SUV was launched only with a 2 l, D4 diesel engine, and now in December 2019, Volvo has launched the XC40 with the T4 petrol engine in the R-Design trim alone. The new Volvo XC40 T4 petrol variant has replaced the diesel version of the luxury compact SUV, which the company has discontinued without divulging the reasons for the same. Perhaps it is in line with Volvo’s initiative to transform its entire product portfolio to petrol and other cleaner forms of powertrain!
The XC40 is the first, and presently the only model to be based on Volvo’s Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform that was created to produce small-sized vehicle models in line with its global transformation strategy. This platform has enabled Volvo’s engineers to retain numerous features distinct to the XC40’s bigger siblings, while at the same time exploring a radical design for the exterior of the vehicle, which is quite unique.
In addition, this CMA platform enables engineers to continue equipping the smaller XC40 with safety and convenience technologies witnessed in the larger models of Volvo. The company said this has been deliberately kept in mind so that all its models can offer the highest levels of technological equipment to the customer.
The engine powering the new XC40 T4 is a 1,969 cc, four-cylinder, BS VI-compliant petrol unit that develops a maximum power of 190 hp, combined with a peak torque of 300 Nm. The engine is mated to an eight-speed Geartronic automatic transmission that powers the front wheels. The diesel variant of the XC40 had featured a Haldex all-wheel drive (AWD) set-up, which was subsequently removed. Volvo said its research showed that owners of the XC40 seldom take their vehicles off-road, making the AWD feature an unnecessary component in the mix. Additionally, the omission of the AWD system has helped Volvo slash about Rs 3 lakh from the vehicle cost, helping the company maintain the cost-competiveness of the XC40 in the segment that it plays in, even though this is a completely built-up unit (CBU) (imported route).
The XC40 T4 continues to offer drive modes, which transform the acceleration and assistance functions of the vehicle according to the selected mode. The gear lever of the luxury compact UV is an electrically-control drive-by-wire unit, which is equipped to make gearshifts instant and smooth. This holds true while driving with a light foot around traffic and in city conditions. However, when the vehicle is driven with enthusiasm, the gear changes, especially downshifts take place with a lag, which is the case even in the Dynamic driving mode. The purpose of the drive-by-wire feature of the gear lever is questioned when the transmission becomes a tad lethargic, while trying to get the most of the powertrain while driving with a heavy foot.
The XC40 is packed with technologies, encompassing safety, driving assistance, convenience and comfort. It is the only vehicle in its segment to feature radar-based safety features, which are now being offered across all Volvo Car models. The level of radar-based safety and driver assistance systems that the XC40 is equipped with is witnessed only in the Mercedes-Benz S-Class in India. This shows the high level of equipment that the XC40 features with regards to active safety, which is over and above the passive safety features. The passive safety features in the vehicle include seven airbags, all seats belt reminder, whiplash protection for front seats, pyrotechnical pre-tensioners for front and rear seats, and a safety cage.
Active safety systems that provide assistance during driving are also aplenty in the Volvo XC40 T4 luxury compact SUV. Such systems include adaptive cruise control, frontal collision mitigation support, lane keeping aid, hill-start assist and hill descent control. It should be noted that the adaptive cruise control, combined with the other assistance systems, ensure that the XC40 maintains specified speeds and distance with regards to vehicles that are ahead on the road. Further, the lane keeping assistance and road sign recognition work extremely well in properly marked roads.
Added aids and convenience functions of the XC40 include dynamic rear parking camera, park assist for front and rear, rain sensor and automatic headlights. The vehicle diagnostics system enables the occupants to monitor most of the critical parameters of the vehicle while on the road, with the tyre pressure monitoring system being an important feature, especially with the increasing reports of tyre-burst incidents being recorded on highways. All these features and functions can be viewed clearly on the 9-inch touchscreen centre display that is present in other Volvo models.
The car also comes with a 12.3-inch display for the instrument cluster, which provides speed and engine rpm information clearly. The same display also accommodates navigation information with a visual map once a destination has been set or the navigation is in use. This helps the driver from moving his eyes away from the road during driving, while also allowing him to view the map and listen to directions. The infotainment system is finally completed by the Harmon/Kardon premium sound system, which offers 600 W of power through 14 speakers for crisp and clear audio. The centre panel of the XC40 is provided with two USB charging ports along with an induction charging pad for wireless charging of Qi-enabled smartphones.
EXTERIOR, INTERIOR DESIGN
The XC40 T4 continues to be identical to the discontinued diesel variant of the luxury compact SUV, with typical design cues associated with larger SUVs. The front features the flat nose with a concave grill design in glossy black flanked by the company’s signature Thor’s Hammer LED DRLs. The clam shell bonnet combined with the bumper feature creases add to the captivating front-end of the XC40. The vehicle has been offered only in the R-Design trim, which comes with dual-tone exteriors, where the roof and outside rear-view mirrors are painted in glossy black.
However, the XC40 T4 petrol luxury compact SUV now comes with all-black interiors, which Volvo said is in line with its customers’ preference. The orange faux-wool mats and door pads give way to dark grey and black components for a rugged yet an upmarket visual effect. This dark-themed interior brings out the visual appeal of the aluminium decor inlays that were present in the earlier version much more, given that the colour contrast is now higher. Besides this change, the entire outlay and configuration of the new XC40 T4 remains identical to the previous variant.
Volvo has launched the XC40 T4 R-Design BS VI-compliant petrol variant of its luxury compact SUV at Rs 39.9 lakh. The XC40 is an entry-level vehicle, in terms of pricing when compared to the company’s product portfolio, but by no means is entry-level when it comes to the features and technologies offered. The vehicle continues to compete against the likes of the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA, but definitely offers greater value, in terms of technology packaging when compared to others.
TEXT: Naveen Arul
PHOTO: Bharat Bhushan Upadhyay