The luggage area isn’t the largest one (460l) touted today, but it is the most practical. The floor is admirably flat, but the optional "Convenience" pack can be z-folded up onto itself, slotting into a notch on its base. That gives it a shorter floor, effectively locking shopping bags or suitcases in place against the rear seats.
There are also useful storage hollows beneath the floor and it is all just easy to use, even pushing the luggage area out to its 1,336l maximum.
The rear seats have a slightly too-flat base, but masses of head room. They also have masses of foot room beneath the front seats and the armrest folds down to be at the same height as the ones on the doors. The only hiccups are that the bottom edge of the door opening is short, so it needs a concerted pivot to get out without kicking the massively thick B-pillar and the waistline is so high that younglings will have trouble seeing out the side windows.
Thought has been given to practicality, without compromising the style Volvo has tried to instill in its third SUV, including huge door pockets, a glovebox with a sturdy flip-out curry hook, big cubby holes beneath the seats and even a lift-out trash bin in the centre console.
The infotainment takes a bit of getting used to, with its touchscreen functionality helping to keep the cabin free of cluttering buttons and its collapsing-tile philosophy user system works well once you get the hang of it. Its navigation system is clean and clear and surprisingly intuitive to fiddle with.
The steering is more communicative in the T5 than the diesel (but then, so is just about everything) and the car corners with an admirably flat body and is solidly predictable in a series of corners. It successfully walks the fine line between being faultlessly predictable in corners, without feeling dull.
With more than 100 pre-orders, Volvo is obviously confident that its XC40 can make an impact in the local market, particularly with pricing from under R500,000 to about R650,000. The new model is a terrific effort and one that shakes up contemporary interior design and adds unexpected dynamic prowess with useful interior space.