SIMPLY THE BEST?

ONE CAR OF THE YEAR THAT DEFINITELY GOES THE DISTANCE

ANDY ENRIGHT

VOLVO XC40 T5 Price as tested: $62,710 This month: 401km @ 10.8L/100km

ITíS A road testerís nightmare. Weíre talking about those cars that initially blind you with their brilliance but which, after a few weeks, turn out to be a chore to live with. We often only get a limited amount of seat time to deliver you a reliable verdict, so weíre naturally cautious of these superficial dazzlers and prefer to give those that might be satisfying slow burners the benefit of the doubt.

Winning the judges over at Car of the Year is almost certainly a good indicator that a car will shine over the long haul, but weíve had a few years that have raised eyebrows among readers. Leyland P76 (1973), Honda CR-Z (2011) and BMW i3 (2014), Iím looking at you. Iím utterly certain, however, that the XC40 wonít attract such controversy. It convinced at the event and, after six months with the car in every condition imaginable, it continues to shine.

Itís easy to see why. The XC40 is bigger than its key rivals inside. To net something thatís comparably sized and sports a premium badge, you need to spend more. A lot more. This T5 R-Design delivers 185kW of AWD goodness from a base of $56 grand. You could buy a $60K Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 and only end up with 155kW of the good stuff, and youíd still have to ladle on gear like the $2K AMG Line kit, the $2.5K COMAND pack, another $2.5K for the driver-assist pack, a grand for the parking assistance pack and then youíre into nearly $70,000 for something smaller, slower and due for replacement.

Itís no wonder the fob for the XC40 remains one of the first to disappear off the office key board. Iím sadly saying adjŲ to the Swedish SUV and handing the keys over to Alex Rae, our newest signing. You can look forward to something even faster and considerably more yellow from me next month, but Iím certainly going to miss what might just be the best long-termer Iíve had the privilege to run.

ANDY ENRIGHT