Getting inside the XC40 is a refreshing change, especially if you have spent time in cars from this segment. Unlike the Germans who use plenty of beige and horizontally-biased surfacing for the dashboard, this Volvo primarily uses black to set the ambience and features vertically-stacked elements. You get a lot of stuff from the XC60 and the XC90, namely the digital instrument panel, the lovely three-spoke wheel and the vertical touchscreen display and the air vents.
As for the quality, the cabin includes plenty of nice looking brushed metal inserts around the centre console and the door pads. Volvo has also used high grade leather and chrome bits for the clean and rather cool looking dashboard and the lack of buttons and a clean layout makes the whole thing clutter-free. What’s unique to the XC40 is the Lava orange felt lining that covers the entire foot well and chunks of the door pads. Volvo says they have introduced this contrasting look in keeping with the trendy appeal of this car, however, we suspect some buyers would find it a little too loud.
The 9-inch touchscreen display is a familiar thing and because its UI is quite similar to that of an electronic tablet, using it on the go quickly becomes second nature – the diverse range of functions and information is presented in a clear manner, with the screen responding well to touch inputs. The whole infotainment system, in fact, is just as feature-rich as Volvo’s bigger SUVs except for the sound system – you miss out on the ultra-premium Bowers and Wilkins system for a 13-speaker Harman Kardon unit which sounds great nonetheless.
The XC40 has among the most supportive front seats in this segment - they are large and adequately wide with just the right amount of contour and perfect cushioning. Also, it’s easy to find a suitable driving position thanks to a plethora of steering and seat adjustment. The leather/alcantara seats even include manually extendable seat base for more under thigh support. Sadly, things don’t look as promising as you move onto the back – while the rear bench is well contoured for good lateral support and there’s decent legroom and headroom, the cabin is woefully narrow, making this car a strict four seater. The ingress, too, is narrow which means getting in and out of the rear is bit of a task. Lastly, even though there’s a large sunroof overhead, there is no escaping the helmed in feeling that one may get from the small rear windows and the all-black upholstery.
Volvo’s newer generation cars, as we know, are packed with features and safety equipment and the XC40 is no different. Despite catering to what is essentially an entry-level market, the XC40 is equipped to the brim. Initially, Volvo will be selling this car in R-Design trim only which comes standard with high-end features such as the digital instrument cluster, LED headlamps, panoramic sunroof, front and rear parking sensors and automatic parking. Now it may be an entry-level Volvo, but the XC40 still gets a full suite of driving aids including lane-keep assist, lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control. We tried out the lane-keep assist on the fast and windy Outer Ring Road in Hyderabad and found the system to be fairly effective as long as the roads were properly marked.