The Volvo SUV range has a richly deserved reputation for quality, safety and sheer presence on the road. The XC40 may be the smallest of the range, but it's quite deceptive how much space is actually provided in the cabin. Add in a large boot of more than 500l, it is well suited as a family SUV.

The test car was the most powerful petrol version, the T5 that provides 185kW and 350Nm to all 4 wheels through a smooth and efficient 8 speed torque convertor automatic transmission.

The transmission provides multi-modes at the click of a button. From Eco through Comfort, Dynamic and Off-road plus an Individual mode that allows the driver to tailor various functions to your personal taste. This includes steering weight, throttle response, brake pressure and more. Setting this up involves scrolling through many menus on the screen and then setting up to your liking. These settings then remain in memory and then engage at a touch on the infotainment screen.

The tablet style infotainment screen is familiar and offers navigation as well as every possible function and setting that you may require.

The T5 offers almost sports car like performance that can be very enjoyable as well as the additional safety factor provided by the All-Wheel drive system. The only place where you pay the penalty is with the fuel consumption. This is a car that is very difficult to drive sedately, it's just too much fun!

With all the standard Volvo safety equipment added, the only item that seemed to be missing on the test car is blind-spot warning. The lane-keep assist is effective and almost too vigorous in it's response. The camera system provides 360 degree views with options for all directions at a touch of the screen.

Overall, the XC40 provides an excellent blend of performance, safety and luxury spec in a premium medium SUV. Currently priced at R820 322, this includes a 5 year/ 100 000km maintenance plan.

Alan Rosenmeyer:  Motormatters: