The world is already well served for premium-branded compact SUVs, but there isn’t one as simple, self-possessing and distinctive as the XC40. There may not be one, either, that delivers against its own particular dynamic brief quite as well.

In its pragmatic, comfort-orientated, functionality-focused way, it is a classic Volvo to its core. But it’s also great to look at; rich, pleasant and refined to travel in; strong, polished, responsive and driveable on the road; and sufficiently cleverly resolved in its ride and handling to be wieldy and enjoyable one moment, and relaxing and protective the next.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
Wieldy, classy and simple. As good as its bigger brothers, if not better

That the XC40’s suspension is prone to the occasional low-speed stumble must also be noted; likewise that its rear seats don’t deliver better comfort for full-sized adults. All considered, this isn’t quite as complete a car as our compact SUV class leader, the Tiguan.

Just as the XC40 plainly isn’t short of visual appeal, though, so it isn’t short of quality, richness, refinement, dynamic ability and performance. Right now, premium-level compact SUV cash could hardly be better spent.

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