Volvo has scored back to back awards for its SUVs in the prestigious Wheels Car of the Year.

Last year the mid-sized XC60 caught the eye of the judges and this year it was the turn of the compact XC40, in a remarkable turnaround for the brand.

It wasn’t so long ago that Volvo was struggling to make headway in the Australian market.

The Wheels judges were impressed by XC40’s award-winning safety, connectivity and infotainment technologies, combined with its very distinctive, fun design, and radical new approach to interior storage.

Accepting the award, Volvo’s managing director Nick Connor said the company was thrilled to win two years in a row.

“When we launched the XC40 we knew its styling, quality and performance was second to none,” he said.

“To have it confirmed by Wheels’ team of expert judges is a fantastic honour and one that we at Volvo Cars are extremely proud of.

“2018 has been one of our most successful years in our long history as a brand in Australia. We have achieved double-digit sales growth led by the popularity of the XC40 and the XC60.

“We have also bucked the trend in the overall car market, which was down 1.3 per cent, and in the premium end of the market, we have increased our market share whereas most of our competitors have gone backwards.”

Priced from $44,990, the Volvo XC40 is available in three variants — Momentum, Inscription and R-Design — equipped with a petrol four-cylinder Drive-E powertrain.

The company says further powertrains, including a hybrid and pure electric version of the car will be added later.

It will also be the first Volvo model to be equipped with Volvo Cars’ new three-cylinder engine.

So don’t go asking about a diesel.

XC40 is remarkable for the radically new approach it takes to storage, with more functional storage space in the doors and under the seats, as well as a special space for phones including inductive charging, a fold-out hook for small bags and a removable waste bin in the tunnel console.

CHECKOUT: Volvo’s XC40 simply a cracker

CHECKOUT: Volvo XC60 Wheels Car of the Year, BUT . . .

Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.