These past few days I have been fortunate enough to celebrate the launch of Volvo’s new and stylish compact SUV; the XC40 at London’s Grove Hotel as part of a weekend long bloggers, media and press event.

The XC40 is Volvo's first compact SUV which engulfs itself in the Swedish 'Lagom' tradition. It is small but spacious, totally on point with its sleek and stylish design and totally built for city life.

Starting the weekend off the right way, I was picked-up by my own personal chauffeur (in a brand new Volvo of course) who transported me from my home in Richmond to the glorious Grove Hotel based in London’s Watford where I would meet other attendees from fashion and lifestyle bloggers to car enthusiasts and press. The Grove Hotel is a five-star hotel set in 300 acres of Hertfordshire countryside, only 18 miles from bustling Central London. It is a championship golf resort, award-winning spa and unique venue for meetings, weddings and celebrations.

Upon arrival at the hotel we were all given the opportunity to mingle with fellow attendees before being given a presentation of Volvo’s new compact SUV by the onsite Volvo press team. We were introduced to the Scandinavian term “Lagom” which is all about enjoying a balanced lifestyle; something that Volvo are promoting through their XC40. Defined as "enough, sufficient, adequate, just right". Lagom is also widely translated as "in moderation", "in balance", "perfect-simple", and "suitable" (in matter of amounts).

WHAT CAR? car of the year 2018; the XC40 is packed full of smart tech features! They all have one thing in common: they are there to make your life easier, to remove day-to-day hassles. They let you stay connected, help you park the car, charge your phone and so much more.

With Apple CarPlay and Android Auto you get smartphone functionality in the centre touch screen. Your favourite apps become easily available and you can connect with Apple Siri or Google Assistant. Just beneath the centre touch screen there is a space for your mobile phone. Placed here it is not only conveniently accessible, it is also charged wirelessly.

The car’s 360° Camera uses images from several cameras to create a view of the car as seen from above. You can clearly see where your car is in relation to other objects around the car. Craftsmanship and carefully selected materials create a unique feeling each time you enter the cabin. Natural light from the panoramic roof, a comfortable seat, clean air and ambient LED-lighting are just some of the features.

Good music makes all the difference. Every XC40 features Air Woofer Technology™ and for the ultimate experience, the Harman Kardon® Premium Sound delivers a beautifully balanced, powerful sound.

After the presentation we were given the chance to meet the XC40 before setting off to our first session of the day; THE LONG 'WEEKENDER'. A 72-hour trip packing experience at Alexandra Wood Tailoring, under the guidance of the Style Director at GQ, Teo van den Broeke. This experience prepared us on how to pack for a long weekend away by helping us choose our essential wardrobe items and teaching us how to fold and pack most efficiently. This session was particularly prudent as I really have become the worst kind of person when it comes to packing “light” over the last few years always resorting to throwing my whole wardrobe into the suitcase before setting off!

Alexandra Wood is an award-winning Savile Row designer and bespoke tailor who creates stylish, fully bespoke and made-to-measure luxury suits, wedding suits and jackets alongside a comprehensive hire wear range. Alexandra's passion is to make bespoke suits that fit like no other. To make the wearer feel like the owner of his clothes and not the other way round. Whether it's soft shoulders or rope shoulders, a gift for instantly recognising what will complement and enhance your look is one of Alexandra's keenest talents.

After breaking for lunch we took part in the second session; BALANCED COMPOSITION. A 45-minute photography workshop with Teo van den Broeke in the picturesque grounds of the Henry Moore Foundation. Teo was joined by Swedish award-winning photographer, Lowe H Seger, who showed us how to best capture balance in photography. The group were able to explore the grounds after the session and put our new found skills to the test!

Finally, we returned our Volvo XC40’s to The Grove Hotel where we were treated to the third session of the day; BALANCED BARBER. I enjoyed a wet shave experience by renowned Mayfair hairstylist, Carmelo Guastella in the hotel’s spa facilities. Carmelo has won many accolades including GQ's “Barber of Choice” and was appointed International Ambassador for Dove Men and Care Expert Shave Range.

In the evening we were all treated to a Swedish-style buffet and drinks at The Grove’s Potting Shed Restaurant.

I can’t thank Volvo UK and FRANK PR enough for inviting me along to this amazing weekend away to celebrate the launch of the XC40. Having driven the XC40 and tested out all of its truly amazing features I have concluded that I simply must have one in my life! The SUV is so stylish inside and out plus it’s a pure pleasure to drive in and around town but also on longer motorway journey’s. The XC40 that I drove was automatic with the added feature of paddle-shift transmission which was a lot of fun on the twisty country roads between our “Lagom” inspired sessions. This XC40 does not lack pulling power either! Not one to promote racing on the streets of London (but I can’t deny I do switch my head to Jenson Button mode every time I sit behind the wheel of my own car!), I was able to push the Volvo XC40 to its limits and can confirm it’s quite nippy but also very stable through tight corners at higher speeds. Definitely head on down to your local Volvo dealership and give the XC40 a test-drive yourselves as I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Verdict 10/10


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