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Road Test: Volvo XC40 D3 & T3

Do the new petrol and diesel engines added to the XC40 range make a difference, asks Jonathan Musk.

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SECTOR Compact SUV   PRICE £28,310   FUEL 51.4mpg D3/39.2mpg T3 (WLTP)  CO2 127 D3/148 T3 g/km (NEDC Correlated)

The XC40 is Volvo’s smallest SUV and won us over when we first tested it, thanks to a compelling blend of design, quality and practicality. However, its engine line-up wasn’t the most fleet-friendly, but adding new 2.0-litre diesel four-cylinder (D3) and 1.5-litre petrol three-cylinder (T3) engines should add to the appeal.

Most notable is Volvo’s first-ever three-cylinder petrol engine, which is effectively the four-pot with one cylinder lopped off, yet it still manages a respectable 154bhp output through its six-speed manual – an eight-speed auto is due later. For an engine this small, torque is comparatively high with a healthy 196lb.ft of grunt able to push the XC40’s weight along, supporting a maximum 1,600kg braked towing weight and a 0-62mph time of 9.4 seconds.

As for diesel, the D3 offers a very similar set of performance figures to the petrol, with 148bhp and 236lb.ft torque. Naturally, it’s the more capable load or long-haul companion, offering low-rev economy and up to 51.4mpg when matched to the six-speed manual. CO2 emissions are also low at 127g/km, which compares favourably to the petrol T3’s 148g/km. In addition, towing capacity increases to 1,800kg across manual and auto transmissions, while performance of 0-62mph in 8.2 seconds makes the D3 feel particularly sprightly off the line.

Despite the petrol engine’s lower specs on paper, it feels the more at ease of the two powerplants, removing much of the diesel vibration and instead replacing it with a characteristic and addictive rumble from the little three-pot. And thanks to high torque, switching gear early is rewarded with decent fuel economy – matching its WLTP-rated figures quite happily. Caveat: a gentle right foot is required.

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Jonathan Musk

Jonathan turned to motoring journalism in 2013 having founded, edited and produced Autovolt - one of the UK's leading electric car publications. He has also written and produced books on both Ferrari and Hispano-Suiza, while working as an international graphic designer for the past 15 years. As the automotive industry moves towards electrification, Jonathan brings a near-unrivalled knowledge of EVs and hybrids to Fleet World Group.