REVIEWED: Volvo XC40 R-Design Pro Automatic AWD, Swedish Seduction

What Have We Got?

Having recently tried Volvo’s smallest SUV offering with the competent XC40 Momentum Pro, we now jump seats and try their sporty XC40 R-Design fitted with the same 190hp T4 petrol engine.

I’ve not been a fan of the R-Design spec Volvo’s, so does this R-Design “do it” for me?

Driving



First thing you notice about the XC40 R-Design is its ride. It’s notably firmer in its springing rates. Something you would expect from the sporty lineup. 

Strangely I’m rather won over by it. For a high sided car, It felt composed and taught. And despite what I said about the Momentum and its perfect choice of gearing, the R-Design gives you wheel paddles that allow you to engage in a more enthusiastic driving experience.  The only problem with the sporty model is the throttle response to gentle pressings just didn’t feel as progressive or fluid. Here is where it encourages enthusiasm by having adopting its own driving style. 

Adhesion, already impressive with FWD, is further boosted in this AWD system. It encourages you and rewards you with a drive that you should expect from a small SUV.

Inside

One thing that is worthy of note is the use of recycled bottles, turned into fluffy material and used in the door cards and transmission tunnel. It has a warmth and feels like a faithful dog pressing against your left leg. 

R-Design also has such niceties as door illuminations making the car feel more affluent in the range than in some ways, it should feel. 

The downside is that in the day, the R-Design is a touch too dark on the inside. What it gives you at night, it takes away in the day. 

Living With It

The XC40 R-Design is easy to engage with when you want to travel fast. It will reward you with its taught road behaviour and cosset you at night with its soothing ambience which feels a mile away from what it is.. 

The Verdict

I’ve not been kind to the R-Designs in the Volvo ranges and when driven back-to-back with other models I am still not sold. What then happened was I’ve been seduced by this R-Design. 

Jumping from the Momentum Pro T4 in the range, you notice its driving manners immediately and this time, they really are noticeably different. But it’s not bad. I even contacted Volvo PR Barnaby Jones to tell him that I’ve changed. 

Its sporty prowess is exaggerated by the use of a 4 wheel drive system. It gives added encouragement to really use the T4 petrols 190hp and though it does hit the economy, it’s the payoff you expect to pay in a sporty model. It’s just that, at almost £4000 more than the Momentum Pro, it has a lot to offer but does it justify that extra? I’ll let you decide when you go to Volvo to take a look.

Love

Minimal sharp edges within cabin trim

Handling

Supportive seats

Loathe

Price

Dark interior 

Lacking fluidity

The Lowdown

Car –  Volvo XC40 R-Design Pro Automatic AWD

Price – £ 42,485 (as tested)

MPG – 32.8 – 35.3 mpg (WLTP combined)

Power – 190hp

0-62mph –  8.2 seconds

Top Speed –  130 mph

Co2 – 163 (g/km)

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