IT’S A road tester’s nightmare. We’re talking about those cars that initially blind you with their brilliance but which, after a few weeks, turn out to be a chore to live with. We often only get a limited amount of seat time to deliver you a reliable verdict, so we’re naturally cautious of these superficial dazzlers and prefer to give those that might be satisfying slow burners the benefit of the doubt.
Winning the judges over at Car of the Year is almost certainly a good indicator that a car will shine over the long haul, but we’ve had a few years that have raised eyebrows among readers. Leyland P76 (1973), Honda CR-Z (2011) and BMW i3 (2014), I’m looking at you. I’m utterly certain, however, that the XC40 won’t attract such controversy. It convinced at the event and, after six months with the car in every condition imaginable, it continues to shine.
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It’s easy to see why. The XC40 is bigger than its key rivals inside. To net something that’s comparably sized and sports a premium badge, you need to spend more. A lot more. This T5 R-Design delivers 185kW of AWD goodness from a base of $56 grand. You could buy a $60K Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 and only end up with 155kW of the good stuff, and you’d still have to ladle on gear like the $2K AMG Line kit, the $2.5K COMAND pack, another $2.5K for the driver-assist pack, a grand for the parking assistance pack and then you’re into nearly $70,000 for something smaller, slower and due for replacement.
It’s no wonder the fob for the XC40 remains one of the first to disappear off the office key board. I’m sadly saying adjö to the Swedish SUV and handing the keys over to Alex Rae, our newest signing. You can look forward to something even faster and considerably more yellow from me next month, but I’m certainly going to miss what might just be the best long-termer I’ve had the privilege to run.