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Test Drive: the Volvo XC40 is the best way to go

Test Drive: the Volvo XC40 is the best way to go

We put the Volvo XC40 to the test to see if it could live up to our need for speed, design, and of course the Volvo classic; safety.

Test Drive: the Volvo XC40 is the best way to go

When we first looked upon Volvo’s new XC40 R-Design T5 compact SUV we were a little starstruck. Expecting to find a car hidden in the shape of a box, with a few modern design features and a safety rating to boot, we were a little surprised to find something of a beauty in front of our eyes.

Determined to see if the XC40 performed as good as it looked, we sent Tui Fleming, mum of two and entrepreneurial girl boss, out to really put the pedal to the metal.

Tui usually drives a sporty black manual Subaru Impreza with roof racks “to take me from the streets to the sea.” So her list of requirements was a long one that included design, functionality, and feel; clearly, the Volvo was going to have to jump through many hoops. However, Fleming says her new love, recently named the 2018 European Car of the Year, had her at hello. “The outside is elegant with an edge to it; it’s got sass, it dares you to turn the volume up, wind the windows down and enjoy it.” She went on to add that she’s always found the idea of having an SUV too daunting, but said of the new Volvo, “This one is just the right size. I could get into it easily and I seemed to fit perfectly.”

The real test happened when Tui put her foot down, giving the little Volvo a chance to show if it had the guts to go with the glamour. But once again, the XC40 was flawless and drove like a dream. “It was like I had sat in the driver’s seat and the car had been designed around me,” Tui said of the little speed machine, “The car communicated with me: the bucket seats hugged me, the navigation panel talked to me, the stereo system uplifted me.”

When you’re always on the go like Tui is, smart design can turn a busy schedule into a breeze. The Volvo SUV has been designed with impeccable attention to detail, making it a dream for any on-the-go mum to every busy commuter. “The cameras and self- parking features allowed me to relax, the fresh air through the sunroof refreshed me, the clever boot divider was genius for grocery shopping, and the inbuilt removable rubbish bin is a mum’s best friend,” Tui said, clearly a huge fan of the thought that has gone into the design of the car.

If you’re worried that since becoming design savvy Volvo would have compromised its safety reputation, you’ll be relieved to know that the new SUV has been described as one of the best-equipped compact SUVs around. Coby Duggan, the company’s NZ general manager, says the XC40 helps drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and other road users deal with the complex challenges of urban living. Its range of semi-autonomous safety and driver assistance systems actively identifies and mitigates potential conflicts. Fleming agrees: “Knowing the car will automatically stop if there’s something obstructed from view when reversing brings huge peace of mind.”

The $72,900 question for Flemming is whether she would consider buying it.

Without a moment’s hesitation, she replied. “In a heartbeat.”

With that kind of review, we want to drive off into the sunset too. Join us, and test drive the new XC40 R-Design T5 compact SUV for yourself today.

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