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Volvo XC40 T5 AWD Leader of the Pack

Among the seemingly endless waves of new small crossover SUVs — most of them very capable – even jaded motor press reviewers get a special vibe off the all new Volvo XC40 T5 AWD.

The stylish XC40 offers exceptionally spirited power, and a smart blend of comfort, tech features and roadworthy competence. This subcompact Volvo is near the top of the rankings amongst BMW, Mercedes, Audi, and Lexus contenders, while managing to bring it all home for the lowest base price around $33,000.

The exterior design of the celebrated Volvo SUV XC90 and XC60 family carries through in this smallest sibling. And size does not diminish the sophisticated profile and artful character lines.

Up front an homage to the traditional Volvo grill, with the logo skewered on an angled sabre blade, flanked by integrated fog lamps and cornering lights, makes for a particularly engaging head-on impression.

The XC40 T5 turbo 4 cylinder plant is rated at 248 horsepower and gets an a surefooted kick from the AWD system.

Inside the driver and passenger compartment is surprisingly spacious, possibly at the expense of rear hatch cargo capacity.