My Volvo XC40 ownership review: Ride, handling, mileage & other updates

Both fuel efficiency & performance remain mostly identical even after shifting from XP100 to XP95 fuel.

BHPian Karuz16 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

The experience has been amazing so far. The ride quality of this car is just perfect! The balance between firmness and softness could not have been better. Add on to that the superior comfort of the front seats and a good amount of power and torque, it’s easy to see why all reviews online up to 2021 rated this car as the overall best in the segment. Long drives are mostly effortless. The Aisin gearbox which is the same as the X1 is smooth as long as I don’t push the throttle too much. It’s just a nice place to be in. Ample torque too, in fact, I remember getting some accidental wheel spin during my initial week of experimenting with the dynamic mode.

The only gripe I have with this car and it is a big one, is that the rear seats are too upright and might as well be the worst in class or at least close to it. As my aged parents frequent these seats, I am still trying to make it comfier. Added back cushions and neck pillows to give that recliner feel but still not quite there yet. One interesting omission is the grab handle for rear passengers. My mom has some shoulder issues and avoids putting the weight of her arm on her rotator cuff during long drives. She pointed this out to me(might not be an issue for younger people). So I just make her sit in front if we are driving to my hometown (Himachal). I sometimes compare the recline angle at the back to the economy seat in an aircraft without moving the seat back. Still okay, but could be better.

Fortunately, the ride quality is great no matter which seat you’re in. Even on the drive to my village, the mountain roads were dealt with without much body roll. Not once did I feel out of control and my driving confidence remains strong throughout. Surprisingly, even the middle seat passenger gets a seat belt unbuckled warning! I know not many people like to wear a seat belt when seated in the middle, but my car, my rules!

As for mileage, I’ve been getting 13 km/l with mixed driving. Was using XP100 for a long, but after an incident where the xp100 fuel stained my cars paint (fuel drops that trickled onto the paint when the petrol pump attendant pulled out the fuel nozzle left a brown stain) I’ve changed over to XP95 for good. I did not see much change in mileage even after switching to XP95. Btw, I have it on good authority (a friend who works for Indian oil) that the XP100 is the only pure un-blended petrol.

The XP91 and XP95 are actually lower octane petrol blended with ethanol to enhance the octane number and meet the fuel requirements. Consequently, the xp95 actually has a slightly higher octane number ~97 due to the blend. This is actually cheating as they charge us for petrol even if part of it is a cheaper fluid. When you compare the price difference between XP95 and XP100 it’s easier to believe that such blending might be taking place. However, performance-wise I didn’t see any measurable difference. Mileage figures were almost identical.

FYI, after some trial and error, I have settled on 36psi to be the best tyre pressure giving the best ride and higher fuel economy without sacrificing comfort. It’s even mentioned on the tyre pressure sticker that 38psi is recommended for higher economy. I found this 38psi pressure to give a very stiff ride. At 32-33psi it felt a bit like I was dragging on the road and giving a poor economy (9-10kmpl). At 36psi the car feels considerably smoother (almost glides on the road). Do try this pressure, if you haven’t already, and give me your feedback. You might see some improved economy too as a side effect.

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