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2023 Volvo XC40 B5

This week we were sorting the 2023 Volvo XC40 B5. I am already a fan of Volvo for how smooth all their vehicles drive and this was no exception.

The car feels sturdy and steering is fluid. The compact size of the hatchback adds to its agility. Great for longer commutes or even those days you don’t want to drive. The XC40 is intuitive and built with the driver in mind.

The wheel is solid and simple, a clean design with only what you need at your fingertips. Equipped with a soften texture for a better grip and a nice matte finish on the buttons for a more enjoyable push down.

The front seats were just as soft and supple, but I would have liked a tighter hold to avoid body rolling and the feeling inertia when taking corner faster. There was a least a good amount of lumbar adjustment available and fine tuning to have your seating at your most optimal comfort. However the height and distant adjustment of the wheel was manual and clumsy by comparison.

I am not a fan of the driver assist. Whereas everything about the car is gradual and smooth: the way the windows wind down, the way the lights cascade on, and the way to engine grows alive; the driver assist is an assault. When it takes over it is sudden and jarring. It feels like a firm hand is going against your take of the wheel. Therefore you need to be aware of your surroundings and acknowledge how you are driving at all times. If you don’t, you could be caught off guard, potentially creating more problems than it was designed to solve.

When driving at night, the gearshift does not light up, so I was left, searching for the over head light to shine some clarity on what was what. You could also look around and behind the steering wheel to see what mode is lit on the dash.

Lights were available over the dash and over either backseat door. A gentle stoking over the square pad turns it on in a gradient glow. A similar motion across a track pad opens the sky light. I liked the ease of this and the sensation it had on your fingertips. And therefore would have liked it for the adjustment of the side mirrors as well. And not the joy stick handle we were given to tilt left or right.

I appreciated the two panel, panoramic, sky light and all the light it let in. This allowed for the better taking in of the decorative details of the 2023 Volvo XC40. Like the hash patterned panels and the hole hook gear shift. Both unique to this model.

Similarly, I was surprised to see an ash tray built into the centre console. This was a little compartment that opened on a hinge. And just behind it was a wireless phone charging pad, which was not placed conveniently. Laid flat out in the centre of a pocket compartment, one that most would designate for their keys. Therefore if your phone is charging here, you lose the compartment’s ability to store. And then when charging you have to be weary of the exact placement of your device. I found charging fickle and slow. Albeit I was using my phone for UPS and to stream music that played over the car’s Bluetooth, but in other vehicles I would still see a substantial charge, here it simply held the juice.

I was also not a fan of the distorted rear view camera. It made it look like you are coming out of a narrow tunnel, which I found hard to rely in real time. I also found it odd that on the dash there was nothing to point out the direction of the gas tank. You would assume it is on the driver’s side for ease of filling, but you would be wrong.

Another critique was the overuse of carpet. The material chosen to line the car’s floor crept up the sides of the centre console and appeared the concave insert of the door. This coarse and scratchy textile felt misplaced visually, and did much to deter from the car’s luxury status. An eye sore especially so close to the shined up chrome Harman Kardon name plaque of the speakers.

As per most Harman Kardon speakers, their name processes them. The Volvo XC40 was equipped with great quality audio, where the base hits you in your heart the beat bumps out of your chest. You feel the vibrations and hear the music surrounding and engulfing you in melody. Volvo prides themselves on audio quality and presenting the best system in each of their vehicles, and the multiple speakers and surround sound optics did not disappoint here.

In closing, I continue to be a fan of Volvo for its easy drive-ability and find the 2023 XC40 a great option for those who like a smaller vehicle for a function driven daily driver.


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