The Volvo XC40 arrived for our tests with a reputation to uphold as What Car?‘s reigning Car of the Year. It’s hugely impressive as a tow car, too, so much so that we’ve named it ‘Best Family SUV’.

That’s the term What Car? uses for SUVs of this size, slightly smaller than the likes of the Audi Q5 and BMW X3 which also impressed our judges so much this year.

Despite its relatively compact dimensions, the XC40 is still quite heavy with a kerbweight of 1735kg.
That heft makes it a sensible match for a broad range of caravans.

It certainly has no trouble pulling a tourer weighing 85% of its kerbweight, either in terms of stability or speed.

The 30-60mph acceleration test took a brisk 12.1 seconds, and the stopping distance of 11 metres from 30mph is shorter than many cars in this weight class achieved.

There was a slight shimmy from the caravan when slowing from motorway speeds, but we’ve no complaints at all about the Volvo’s performance in the lane-change test. There was absolutely no drama at all even on the fastest attempt at the manoeuvre.

Inside, the Volvo is beautifully put together. There’s more room inside than you might think, with enough space for adults to get comfortable in the back. However, the transmission tunnel will get in the way of a third rear passenger’s feet.

More boot space would have boosted a nonetheless impressive practicality score.

Model pictured: First Edition

Category Winners
2019 Up to 1400kg

Škoda Octavia

Hatch 1.5 TSI 150PS SE L DSG

2019 1400-1549kg

Seat Ateca

2.0 TSI 190PS FR DSG

2019 1550-1699kg

Volkswagen Arteon

2.0 TDI 150PS Elegance DSG

2019 1700-1899kg

BMW 520d

Touring xDrive M Sport

2019 1900kg+

Land Rover Discovery

3.0 SDV6 HSE

2019 Best Budget 4x4

Dacia Duster

1.5 dCi Ambiance 4x4

2019 Best Plug-In Hybrid

Land Rover Range Rover Sport

P400e HSE Dynamic

2019 Best Ultralight Tow Car

Seat Arona

1.0 TSI 115 FR

2019 Fuel Economy Award

Ford Focus Estate

1.5 EcoBlue 120PS Titanium X

Previous Winners

BMW 520d

Touring xDrive M Sport


Land Rover Discovery

3.0 Td6 HSE*


Skoda Superb Hatch

2.0 TDI 150PS SE Business


Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI BMT 150PS SE Business DSG


Nissan Qashqai

1.6 dCi (130PS) Stop/Start System Acenta Premium

Up to 1424kg

Skoda Octavia

2.0 TDI CR 150PS Elegance


Jaguar XF

2.2D Premium Luxury


Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI 170 Bluemotion Sport


Land Rover Discovery 4

3.0 TDV6 XS


Volvo XC60

D5 SE Geartronic


Ford Mondeo Estate

2.0 TDCi Titanium auto


Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI Sport 4Motion

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