Swedish and sexy: the best kind of SUV

Customisation is in vogue at the moment, but choice can be seriously confusing. In our new configurator challenge, we’re going to let the CarAdvice team loose on a manufacturer’s website to create their ideal spec of a certain model.

For this edition of the Configurator Challenge, we’re designing the perfect Volvo XC40 using the company's UK website.

Let us know what you think in the comments, and which cars you’d like to see next!


Mandy Turner, Road Tester & Podcast Host

Dang, this is one good-looking SUV. Volvo just seems to nail this segment.

I’ve selected the XC40 Inscription Pro in T5 AWD spec. It is covered in Maple Brown paint because there’s just not enough brown cars on the road (my Dad owns a brown car, ok?).

I’ve gone minimal with the wheels, choosing the 19-inch five-spoke diamond cut with matte black accents. I always believe if you have a dark exterior, you need to lighten the interior, so I’ve chosen Blond upholstery for, surprisingly, no extra cost.

I haven’t optioned too much, ticking the Intellisafe Surround pack with rear cross-traffic alert, rear collision mitigation, and auto-dimming mirrors. A 360-degree surround view parking camera is one of my favourite features on cars today, so tick that too.

So that brings this XC40 to $72,576 according to the UK configurator – eesh.


Kez Casey, Road Tester

Simplicity is key for cars like the XC40, which means picking base Momentum trim, which still includes gear like cruise control, a partial leather interior, dual zone climate control, and a fully-digital instrument cluster.

The engine choice was a tough one, but the 116kW T3 petrol is about as brawny as you can go with a six-speed manual transmission (on the UK configurator, that is) so 1.5-litres and three cylinders of front-wheel drive fury it is then.

For a bit of visual punch the simple design looks best in soft 60s-esque Amazon Blue, and while I toyed with single-tone paint the ugly C-pillar seam is best hidden with by a contrasting Ice White roof.

Normally chubby tyres would be the way to go, but there’s only one dowdy-looking 18-inch wheel choice necessitating the fitment of polished face 19s. Modern Concrete interior trim in cloth and leather keeps the base model theme going and is the only available trim that matches the beige headlining.

Interior highlights are available in aluminium finish, but Volvo’s black textured ‘city map’ trim is far more interesting and therefore gets the go ahead along with adaptive dampers, Apple CarPlay connectivity, Harman Kardon audio, and a spare tyre (yup, that’s an option) and a big ‘ol panoramic roof to make the most of the sunshine.

It may be humble but this is the right way to spec an XC40.


Scott Collie, Journalist

Volvo isn't known for making sporty cars at the moment, but its models generally look best in R-Design trim.

That's why my XC40 is an R-Design T5, riding on optional 20-inch wheels and 245/45 tyres – complete with red paint and a black roof, naturally.

Inside, the seats are trimmed in charcoal leather, contrasting with Lava Orange floor mats and R-Design aluminium dashboard trim (unfortunately, the orange floor mats aren't pictured). A leather-trimmed gear knob is also standard. Cool, right?

Options? There are plenty! The Convenience Pack adds a flexible load floor, luggage protection net, 12V power outlet, power-folding rear seat backs and storage under the driver seat cushion.

Although active safety features are wildly over-valued in my mind, adaptive cruise control is a really handy feature, and one the XC40 should have. Therefore, my car has Intellisafe Pro, which adds blind-spot monitoring, auto-dimming mirrors, rear cross-traffic alert and adaptive cruise to the mix.

I've also added a rear-view camera, the premium stereo and keyless entry.

This, rather than the E-Pace from a few weeks ago, is the compact SUV that you should buy. Go out and do it – then let me know you bought one in Collie-spec!


James Wong, Journalist

We've saved the best until last, obviously. Behold – the Wongy-spec XC40 T5 Inscription Pro.

The flagship Inscription trim isn't coming to Australia initially, but I couldn't resist the allure of extra luxe for my little Volvo SUV.

For the exterior I've chosen Luminous Sand, an elegant yet understated shade of beige that says "I'm rich, b****" without screaming "look at me".

The lovely 20-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels are a £750 ($1383) option, and add an extra element of understated class to the exterior.

Inside, I've gone for the Blond leather upholstery and Drift Wood inlays – the latter the only option with this colour combination – which no doubt give a light and airy feel to the cabin.

While the UK's array option packages even on the top-spec model seem excessive, I basically ticked all of them because I love my comfort and technology features.

The Xenium Pack (£1600/$2950) adds a 360-degree camera, automatic parking assistant and a panoramic sunroof, while the Intellisafe Pro package (£1500/$2766) brings driver-assist tech like adaptive cruise control with Pilot Assist, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and reverse autonomous emergency braking, along with auto-dimming rear-view and exterior mirrors.

Finally, I've ticked the box for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (£300/$553, really?!) because it's a great feature to have.

That brings my XC40 Inscription Pro to a British on-road price of £41,770 ($77,018) – I guess money can buy you class.


Melissa Ong, Social Media and Community Manager

I have chosen the XC40 R-Design Pro in T3 Manual specification, and of course it's Crystal White.

The R-Design comes with some stylish kit – 20-inch double-spoke diamond-cut rims, leather/suede upholstery, Lava Orange carpet and interior trimmings, along with carbon-look inlays. Very nice indeed!

I've added the Convenience Pack, as all cars should be - convenient! It adds a flexible load floor with grocery bag holder (Yas!), luggage net, 12V rear power outlet in the cargo area (rear dash cam, think of this peeps), power-folding rear seats, and driver's under-cushion storage.

The Xenium Pack was another option I've added, which includes a 360-degree camera, park assist and a powered glass tilt-and-slide sunroof.

Intellisafe Surround was also a necessity, mainly for the auto-dimming mirrors.

Optional equipment for me includes a heated steering wheel (I'm precious), powered passenger seat (more for me when vacuuming), smartphone integration (Spotify is life), heated rear seats (you never know when you'd need to sleep in the back of your car, in winter...), and wireless phone charging (again, I'm precious, and I bust a lot of phone cables).