UK car production is back on the way up, not a lot but enough for the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders to breathe a sigh of relief after the Covid was at its worse.
Britain made 68,306 cars in April cars compared to less than 200 in April last year ago when Covid restrictions had effectively halted manufacturing. So far this year UK factories have turned out 374,864 cars, with April’s performance offsetting earlier declines to drive a 17.3% overall increase, but again 15.0% down on the same four-month period in 2019.
But the company which has just merely shrugged its shoulders at these figures is Volvo. Their figures might be down but they continue to produce brilliant cars and with China being their biggest market they have little to worry about.
Volvo was once part of the Ford empire, but Sweden’s number-one car brand is now owned by China’s biggest independent carmaker, Geely. Volvo’s HQ is in Sweden but some manufacturing now also takes place in China and there are thousands of Chinese people can’t wait to get their hands on a new Volvo.
Volvo has increasingly pursued a green agenda with its range of efficient Drive-E powertrains which include plug-in hybrid vehicles plus the fact Volvo’s emphasis continues to be on safety as well as build quality. Their cars combine quality, tax efficiency and desirability with Scandinavian styling, cutting-edge connectivity and safety. The across-the-board availability of electrified powertrains adds a crucial dimension to Volvo’s appeal to customers seeking both lower emissions and strong performance.
So annually Volvo continue to collect awards and honours and recently at the 2021 Fleet World Great British Fleet Awards the XC40 was crowned Best Medium SUV.
The XC40 is in its fourth year on sale and Fleet World are among dozen of magazine who can’t get enough of this quite brilliant car. Plug-in or full electric versions of the XC40 were launched in the last year, adding to the range of efficient engines that they already have.
There are a number of versions and prices go from around £26,000 to a massive £56,000 which gives you all the bells and whistles you could ever want in a motor car!
There are ten different trims – seven engines, which include electric, hybrid and petrol. Sadly Volvo are leaving the diesel market but there is a three year, 60,000 mile warranty and not including the electric charge, you should be able to get 40 miles to the gallon. The batteries of Recharge plug-in models are covered by an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty.
While the experts go for the 1.5-litre T3 petrol model which has a good 161bhp and can do 0-62mph in under 10 seconds I had the B4 version (194bhp) which has a 2.0-litre petrol engine with mild hybrid tech which aids performance and efficiency and I had no complaints ay all.
The reason why the XC40 has done well among the awards is that it is better than the rivals when it comes down to comfort and ride. Not even the Range Rover nor the Jaguar can keep up with them. The XC40 deals with the rough British roads like a knife through butter; it certainly isn’t a sporty SUV but it is easy to drive. The plug-in hybrid models are extremely quiet in pure electric mode but you can easily tell when the engine starts up. The regenerative brakes work well.
The XC40’s boot gives you 452 litres and if you choose not to have for a spare wheel, you get a large underfloor storage area as well.
There is no lip to negotiate at the boot’s entrance. Split-folding rear seats are standard with the seatbacks split 60/40
There are bags of details to consider. For example you get a rubbish bin between the front seats, and carpeted door pockets that are each big enough to take a laptop or two large bottles of water.
The XC40 is pretty roomy both in the front and the back so tall passengers have no problems.
There is a wide rear bench with three adults able to sit side by side plus there is plenty of space under the front seats. There are large door bins and cupholders in the rear centre armrest.
Caption: Where there is one there’s another!