Swedish automobile manufacturer, Volvo Cars, is going to need a bigger glass cabinet to hold all the awards it has won for its new XC40 premium compact SUV.

Having been initially awarded the highly coveted title of ‘European Car of the Year 2018’, it was recently crowned overall ‘Irish Car of the Year 2019’ as well as being the winner in its own category too.

The new Volvo XC40 is a strong contender in the market for premium, compact SUV’s and is pitched against such talented rivals as the Audi Q3, BMW X1, Jaguar E-PACE and Mercedes-Benz GLA.

The new XC40 successfully blends comfort and cruising refinement, allowing all occupants to enjoy the trendy, minimalist cabin and the wonderful infotainment system.

Based on looks alone, the new XC40 is noticeably more youthful than its larger siblings – the XC60 and XC90.

The new XC40 was designed by British car designer Ian Kettle, who said that the inspiration for the car’s styling came from small robots that he saw in science-fiction movies.

The end result is lots of simple, clean, resolved lines – and an appearance that manages to look chunky and cute at the same time.

It’s helped by a further evolution of Volvo’s ‘Thor’s Hammer’ headlight motif at the front end.

Currently, engine options in the new XC40 include a T3 petrol engine (front wheel drive) with 156bhp, a T4 petrol engine (all-wheel drive) with 190bhp, a D3 diesel (front wheel drive) with 150bhp and a D4 diesel (all-wheel drive) with 190bhp.

Manual and Automatic gearboxes are available depending on the model chosen, as is the option of 2WD or 4WD drivetrains.

There are four trim levels available in the new XC40 – an entry-level model just referred to as ‘XC40’, Momentum, R-Design and Inscription.

Standard equipment across the entire range includes alloy wheels, LED headlights with ‘Thor’s Hammer’ LED daytime driving lights, a 12.3-inch Active TFT Crystal drivers information display, Rear Park Assist, cruise control with speed limiter.

Other features include Hill Start Assist, Hill Decent Control, tyre pressure monitoring system, heated front seats, auto dimming interior and exterior mirrors, alarm system, multiple airbags, road-sign information system, Driver Alert Control with Lane Keeping Aid and many other safety, security and comfort features.

My test car was a new Volvo XC40 T3 ‘Inscription’ FWD model finished in Denim Blue metallic paint and mated to a slick 6-speed manual gearbox.

The range-topping Inscription specification is based on the impressively equipped ‘Momentum’ model but also benefits from the addition of a power operated tailgate, leather upholstery, power drivers seat with memory function, chrome window trim on lower section, keyless entry and Park Assist front & rear.

Other notable features auto-folding exterior mirrors, ‘Inscription’ logo in headrest upholstery, interior illumination package with second-row courtesy lighting, ‘Driftwood’ trim inlays, dual integrated exhaust pipes, front LED fog-lights, 18” 6-spoke matt-black diamond-cut alloy wheels, and ‘Inscription’ tread plates, while a whole host of optional features and combination packages are available for ultimate personalisation.

The 1.5-litre petrol engine in my test car produces an impressive 156bhp and 265Nm of torque for swift acceleration and confidence inspiring overtaking ability.

As little as 9.4-seconds is all that is required to catapult this 1.5-tonne SUV from 0 to 100km/h and on to a top speed of 200km/h.

A towing capacity (with a brake-equipped trailer) of between 1600kg and 2100kg is possible across the XC40 range – depending on the engine and transmission chosen.

Under the new WLTP-I fuel consumption test system, the 1.5-litre petrol engine in my test car consumes as little as 7.1l/100km on a combined driving cycle (or 4.8l/100km on the NEDC test system).

Interior comfort in the new XC40 is fantastic, with the seats offering just the right amount of comfort, support and adjustability.

Head, leg and elbowroom in the cabin of the XC40 should be to everyone’s liking, thanks to the cars upright stance and broad aspect.

Prices for the new Volvo XC40 range start at €36,450 (excluding delivery & related charges) for the T3 FWD model I drove, with the D3 (turbo-diesel) FWD model priced from €39,230.

Funky on the outside, beautifully luxurious on the inside, comfortable and relaxing to drive, the new Volvo XC40 is a deserving winner of all the accolades it has received so far. I can sense more awards in the offing.

Facts:

1) European Car of the Year 2018
2) Irish Car of the Year 2019
3) 4 Impressive Specification Levels
4) Outstanding Safety Features
5) Priced From €36,450 (excluding delivery)