The Volvo XC40’s interior has a classy minimalist design and an eye-catching infotainment screen. Sadly, it’s not the easiest system to use and the XC40 also suffers from patchy build quality
The Volvo XC40’s interior has a premium look and feel that marks it out from well-built but dowdy mainstream alternatives such as the Volkswagen Tiguan. In fact, it’s classy enough to be considered an alternative to posh SUVs such as the Mercedes GLA, Audi Q2 and BMW X1.
That said, none of them have the Volvo XC40’s portrait style, 9.0-inch infotainment screen. It means that conventional buttons are kept to a neat single row in the centre of the dash, including a large volume knob in the centre that is easy to reach for when you’re on the move.
The infotainment system’s design is exactly as you’ll find on larger Volvos, but the XC40’s youthful, bright Lava Orange carpet and door trims (available on R-Design models) certainly aren’t.
That’ll help the XC40 appeal to you if you’re young and you’ll also like its soft-to-the-touch plastics and expensive looking trims. The only problem is the construction, which has inconsistent gaps between panels that you wouldn’t find in an Audi Q2.
On the upside, even entry-level Volvo XC40 Momentum models get textile-vinyl (friends will assume they’re half-leather) seats and Urban Grid Aluminium trim pieces that look very nice.
Sportier-looking R-Design models get leather-nubuck upholstery, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear knob, as well as aluminium inlays.
Inscription models are the poshest, and come with a full leather interior and unvarnished wooden trim pieces that looks as good as anything Mercedes has to offer.
That huge iPad-like display on the XC40's dashboard looks good and comes as standard across the range
If you’ve ever used an Apple iPad then you’ll have no problem operating the Volvo XC40’s 9.0-inch infotainment display. It lets you swipe between menus and pinch to zoom in on maps, and has a conventional ‘home’ button at the bottom of the screen so you can skip quickly to the main menu.
Entering a postcode is easily done while you’re parked – either by writing in the letters with your finger or by typing them in via the onscreen keyboard – but it’s fiddlier to do when you’re driving than it is in the BMW X1 or Audi Q2
In fairness, the Volvo XC40 wins some points back by offering an app for your smartphone, so you can programme the sat-nav without even having to leave the house. You can also use it to preset the cabin temperature or open the car remotely.
On top of the central infotainment screen, you get another 12.3-inch digital driver’s display that’s an option on the BMW and Audi. It’s customisable, so you can flick between conventional dials or having a large map display for the sat-nav right in front of your eyes.
Completing the Volvo XC40’s audio-visual package is a standard stereo that has a very healthy 250W output and eight speakers. That should be enough for casual music fans, but if you’re a full-blown enthusiast you’ll want to tick the box for the 13-speaker, 650W Harman Kardon system that can envelop you in a wave of sound.