What is it: Volvo XC40
Why we're driving it: It's the 2019 Wheels Car of the Year, and Sydney is a great place to test out its street smarts and its compressed luxury chops. How does the five-seat, five-door Volvo XC40 handle the rough and tumble of real life?
Jetting around Sydney, it’s become clear why the Volvo XC40 recently won the Wheels Car of the Year awards. I've been lucky enough to give the XC40 its maiden voyages around town, and I found that the Volvo is safe, smooth and seamless. With all its bells and whistles, it’s passed the test for both heavy city driving and open road exploring, and here’s why.
Safety reigns supreme
The XC40 has the smarts to keep you safe and sound no matter where you're headed. With an impressive array of sensors, alerts and cameras, you’d have to be exceptionally unfortunate to be involved in an accident. And that's what Volvo is aiming for by next year, by pledging that no one will be seriously hurt or killed in one of its cars by 2020.
Initially, I’ll admit I found it all a little overwhelming when the car is alerting you to what feels like anything and everything, but it doesn’t take many kilometres to feel more at ease with the alerts and sensors.
WhichCar TV Volvo XC40 wins Wheels Car of the Year 2019
It tells you if someone is zooming up beside you or whether someone is behind you when you're reversing out of a driveway, and if you don't like the sensors beeping and buzzing, they can be turned down or off to make for a more peaceful, though a bit less safe, experience.
Not too big, not too small
The XC40 provided the perfect balance of size and space I was looking for. It is small enough to whip around the likes of the Bondi Junction car park without trouble and you don’t require a degree in parallel parking to squeeze into marginal spaces.
On the flip side, it also fits more gear than you thought possible for a girl’s weekend away. You could swear we had packed everything but the kitchen sink, but it fit snug as a bug in the boot.
Handles like a race car
As responsive as an out of office email, the XC40 Volvo handles beautifully. Adapting and easily rising to the challenge of both the open country roads and paddocks of the Southern Highlands, as well as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, it's smooth, comfortable and stable ride from start to finish.
It is diverse and impressive in the sense that it suits both city and country, it’s a great size for all occasions and ultimately, a practical, smooth companion.
Comfort is king
The XC40 has a smooth leather interior as well as space to kick back and relax, and all the controls to keep the whole car happy are easy to access.
Whether you're heating the front and cooling the back, or orientating the speakers to blast louder for the back seats, you can tell that Volvo has put considerable thought into how best ensure its passengers feel comfortable getting from A to B. It’s comfy and stylish, which is not always an easy feat to achieve.
If you are looking tick the boxes for size and space, comfortable handling and style, the XC40 is certainly a top-notch option. I’d highly recommend it./Kate Hood