The Volvo XC40 T5 R-Design goes for a starting price of $37,700 and goes up from there as you tick the checkboxes on the options sheet for additional features. But for the money, this SUV is a grand buy—especially with the powertrain it offers. The T5 AWD models are powered by a 2.0 L turbocharged DOHC 16-valve inline-four, built with aluminum block and head plus direct fuel injection.

The model lineup is the same no matter which engine you choose. The R-Design trim is slotted between the base Momentum and the uber Inscription model. The price of entry into the Volvo XC40 family starts at $35,200 for the T4 FWD Momentum. Choosing the more powerful T5 AWD powertrain adds $2,000 to the price.

The R-Design trim, my test model, adds $2,500 to the base price. It includes an attractive tailpipe and a black roof that extends halfway down the C-pillar, giving the R-Design more of a sporty and modern look.

The engine produces plenty of power, with a torque of 258 lb.-ft. at 1,800 rpm and 248 horsepower at 5,500 rpm, making it easy to understand the recent test result of the 0–60 mph sprint in 6.2 seconds. Engine power is carried by an eight-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode. Admittedly, it was a little sluggish to move from automatic to manual mode. My average mileage was 28 mpg, while the EPA registered 31 mpg combined.

There are also T4 FWD models powered by a less aggressive engine—a 2.0 L turbocharged four-cylinder. But it only produces 187 horsepower and 221 lb.-ft. of torque. The XC40 is a good-sized vehicle, with a length of 174.2 inches and a hefty weight of 4,895 pounds. The 19-inch wheels and tires are standard, but you can upgrade to 20-inch wheels.

Inside the XC40 R Design. (Courtesy of Volvo)

The spacious interior of my test vehicle was black with orange Lava floor carpeting, which was a really interesting combination. It definitely keeps you awake. The cabin, with its velvety Nubuck leather upholstery, seats five comfortably. Behind the wheel is the epicenter for driver control—a 12.3-inch graphical display showcases quality technology. At the top of the center console, a 9-inch infotainment touchscreen handles everything from trip mileage to outside temperature.

My favorite feature, especially with the current long hot spell in North Texas, is the Volvo On Call app. This smartphone app allows you to start your car remotely and adjust the climate control so that the cabin will already be cool when you are ready to take the wheel.

Another interesting technology is called Car Sharing, which allows you to give a friend or family member access to your car without them having the keys. Should you have a teenager, you may wish to proceed cautiously.

Volvo has a reputation for developing new safety devices, and this is why I feel that it is one of the leading manufacturers in car safety. The company is developing features with these priorities: city safety collision avoidance, adaptive cruise control, pilot assist, and active bending lights, to name a few.

This luxury compact SUV handles well on the straightaway with minimum movement of the body on the curve. The vehicle’s torque is good for its size but takes a slight breath and pauses at about 70 mph. The engine then comes back strong afterwards.

The Volvo XC40 is entering a crowded field. About a dozen brands already compete in the 160,000 sold-units segment, but I believe this segment is going to grow and Volvo will get its share of the market.

Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or at [email protected].

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