T3 Drives: Can we achieve lagom with the Volvo XC40?

T3's Product and Style Editor spends a weekend at a luxury hotel and spa to find out...

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We love a good Scandinavian trend here at T3, first the Danish concept of 'hygge' took the UK by storm, and now we're onto the Swedish concept of 'lagom'.

Volvo, the most famous Swedish brand (after Ikea) recently invited me to to a luxury hotel and spa to drive the brand new XC40 (as well as a bit of pampering, of course). 

I had two questions; what the hell is lagom? and can we achieve lagom with the XC40?

The XC40 is Volvo's smallest SUV, it's compact and doesn't take up too much space on the road, but inside it feels spacious, with plenty of ingenious design to make the cabin more practical. 

For example, there's a removable rubbish bin in the centre console, and a foldable boot floor which acts as a load divider and carrier bag hook. They're really neat touches which you can really appreciate.

As I learnt throughout the weekend, this is a great example of lagom. Lagom is all about balance, and can roughly be translated to as 'just the right amount'.

The XC40 perfectly balanced, optimized between being compact while still having plenty of practical space.

Lagom is penetrates all aspects of Swedish culture (not just car design), so as part of this launch I also learnt how to pack a capsule wardrobe for a 48 hour trip at Alexandra Wood Tailoring, had a photography class with Swedish photographer Lowe H. Seger at the  Henry Moore Foundation Studio, and received expert grooming advice from a London barber.

Because, of course, I have to be looking my best while drive this rather handsome car.

In fact, I think the Volvo XC40 is one of the best looking compact SUVs out there. 

Rather than taking the "Russian Doll" approach to design and creating a shrunken XC60, the XC40 has a completely different aesthetic whilst maintaining key Volvo traits, such as the Thor's Hammer LED lights.

The result? It appeals to a much younger customer.

The amount of technology available on this car should also appeal to a young driver, with an options list to match much larger, more expensive SUVs. 

On the basic spec model you have a 12.3 Driver's Information Display, LED Headlights with Active High Beam, Hill Descent Control, Dynamic Chassis, Rear Park Assist, and Rain Sensors as standard.

Delve into the optional extras and you can select 360-degree camera, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Pilot Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control.

That means you have plenty of buttons to play with inside the luxurious cabin, while the large central touchscreen and driver display are the main focuses.

The interior is lovely place to be, as well, with premium feeling switchgear and luxury materials all within arms reach. You can tell it's been put together well.

I can tell what you're thinking, how does this all fit in with lagom?

Well, this compact SUV is stylish and attractive but not ostentatious, the cabin is luxurious but practical, and the car is great to drive but still comfortable. Everything it just right... 

And you'd hope so, too, because the Volvo XC40 is available now, with prices starting at £27,610, ranging up to around £45,000 with all the boxes ticked. 

Personally, I think it's worth every penny.

The XC40 the first Volvo to be offered with the rental plan called "Care By Volvo".

Care is a flat fee covers rental of the car, plus insurance, servicing and roadside assistance, plus other benefits (such as the ability to borrow a larger vehicle).

It sounds like a enticing proposition, although, the convenience offered by the service does come at a price… £799 per month.

I finished off the day of lagom with a traditional Swedish buffet, where, in the most British way possible, I practised the concept on 'not too little, not too much' by loading my plate full of meatballs and eating until I felt ill.

More images from the launch:

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