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It's a quirk of the XC40's production process that the engine Volvo expects to be by far the biggest seller - the 150hp diesel - won't be available until this summer.
Instead, the car initially hits UK showrooms with a 190hp diesel and the most powerful petrol engine planned for the range, the 247hp T5. Although the latter will be a niche fleet choice, given the current adverse publicity surrounding diesel those with deep pockets might just be able to justify it as their company car.
Historically, the T5 tag has been reserved for Volvo's performance models and this XC40 certainly lives up to that reputation. Its 247hp engine will rocket the car from 0-62mph as rapidly as a Golf GTi.
Thankfully, the punchy power delivery does not come at the cost of refinement. Sure, the engine note may not be the most pleasant under sustained heavy acceleration, but in everyday driving circumstances, the automatic gearbox goes about its business slickly and efficiently, while the engine remains smooth and hushed.
Our car featured Volvo's sports suspension and the chassis isn't overawed by the power. Push on a bit in bends and you will notice a certain amount of body lean, but it's by no means excessive for a relatively high-riding SUV. Equally, while a hint of understeer can be sensed while cornering, the car always feels grippy, nimble and well balanced, making it fun to drive on B-roads.
Back on the straightaway, the suspension remains composed, dealing effectively with all manner of Beast from the East-induced carnage, while delivering a reassuringly comfortable ride quality.
All XC40s feature a 9in touchscreen, which should be intuitive for any smartphone user - it's a simple matter to swipe between its various menus. Also, while manufacturers are often criticised for integrating climate controls into touchscreen menus, at least Volvo's system gives you a list of temperatures to choose from, which is much easier than adjusting with arrows or scrolling. The driver also gets a crisp 12.3in information display, featuring a well-integrated sat-nav map and clear graphic instructions.
As with most modern Volvos, the rest of the cabin is of a quality good enough to challenge the German manufacturers, with tastefully chosen materials that match well with the smartly styled exterior. The seats are supportive, but although not hard could perhaps do with a touch more give. Rear passengers do get good legroom, although headroom is a little bit snug. The decent-sized boot has a flat floor and, as an option fitted to our car, it can be folded up to form divided compartments.
Playing it safe
Volvo has a reputation for safety that is second to none and the company is in no mood to relinquish that status. New among the XC40's plethora of driver assistance features is the addition of autonomous braking to the optional cross-traffic alert system, meaning the car stops itself if a hazard approaches when reversing out of a parking space.
There's no escaping the fact that choosing the T5 XC40 means thinking of performance, rather than your wallet. Even with the imminent 4% diesel surcharge, the most powerful diesel in the XC40 range will still sit in a lower BIK band than the T5, while official combined fuel economy is more than 16mpg better than with the petrol.
The T5 is certainly fun, but the XC40 is a good car no matter which engine it comes with, so the cost-conscious will surely default to the less powerful engines.