A Volvo XC40 stopped in the street in Oslo as pedestrians cross the road in foreground

CITY

Exploring Oslo in the XC40

Oslo’s mix of busy streets and laid-back Scandinavian attitude is the backdrop as we discover what makes the new XC40 the perfect SUV for the city.

WORDS: LEO WILKINSON

The Volvo XC40 is perfect for negotiating Oslo’s busy streets

The excitement of discovering a new city is hard to beat. Unfamiliar sights and sounds assault the senses, and the potential for adventure is always just around the next corner. Having the right companion along for the ride can make all the difference, of course – and so can the right car. And the Volvo XC40 is an SUV that makes exploring any city fun, as we found out on a trip to Norway’s capital, Oslo.

From the first glance, it’s apparent that the XC40 is built for city adventures, with a high ride height and large wheels to soak up urban lumps and bumps, and an authentic SUV stance that promises go-anywhere agility. Inside, the XC40 delivers on this promise. Visibility is excellent thanks to the high driving position, while the contemporary, uncluttered interior puts you at ease.

We’re in Oslo to spend a day exploring and enjoying the drive. There’s no agenda, and no timetable, because that’s often the best way to discover somewhere new. And the XC40 makes things easy because its commanding view, smooth controls and responsive steering inspire such confidence behind the wheel.

A morning passes happily as we move from the historic centre of Oslo to the Barcode Project – a recent development of high-rise buildings that encapsulates the progressive nature of this city. In the afternoon we focus on the streets around Karl Johans gate – the main shopping district – where cars not only jostle for space with buses, cyclists and pedestrians, but also Oslo’s blue-and-white trams.

“The commanding view, smooth controls and responsive steering mean that you always feel in command driving the XC40”

The streets here are busy, and it’s reassuring to know that the XC40 has our backs. You can’t see its standard City Safety feature, but you know that it’s there in the background, using cameras and radar to monitor the road and spot any vehicles, pedestrians or cyclists ahead. It’s good to know that City Safety can help warn us of potential danger and brake automatically, if necessary, to help avoid a collision.

Side view of a Volvo XC40 crossing tram rails on a junction in Oslo

We head down Kongens gate, turn a corner, and traffic is almost bumper to bumper as we edge past the Opera House, its angular shape shrouded in mist. A left turn takes us onto Nylandsveien and the road clears. Occasions like these are the perfect opportunity to put your foot down and experience the responsive acceleration of the 247hp turbocharged petrol engine.

After a tour of Grünerløkka – Oslo’s ‘hipster’ district – we decide to grab a coffee at Fuglen – a chic café packed with stylish mid-century Norwegian design pieces. The only available parking space nearby is tight, but the 360º Camera gives a bird’s-eye view of both car and surroundings on the centre display, making it easy to see – and avoid – other cars and obstacles.

As we look out to the street daylight starts to fade, but the day’s not over yet. There’s plenty of time left to discover the city. There can’t be any better car to do it in than the Volvo XC40.