2018 is an exciting year for Volvo in the UK, spearheaded by the arrival of our new XC40 SUV.

We are delighted to share with you the news that the XC40 has made the best possible start to life in the UK, having been awarded the title of 2018 Car of the Year by What Car? magazine. This is the first time in the award’s 40-year history that a Volvo has come away with the main prize.

To take the top spot, the XC40 had to fend off a longlist of some 113 eligible contenders from 17 different categories, which is quite a feat for Volvo’s first offering in the compact premium SUV segment.

We talk often of Volvo’s transformation into a genuine premium brand, a statement which ultimately has to stand up to the scrutiny of customers and critics alike. For the XC40 to receive this award – and remember that this is a car competing head-on with established offerings from the likes of Audi, BMW, Jaguar Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz – is further proof that we are recognised by those critics as not just competitive, but leading, within the premium marketplace.

While we of course have our colleagues in Sweden to thank for the XC40’s outstanding attributes as a product, the award is a reflection of the hard work we all continue to dedicate to achieving our goals as a brand. It’s now up to us to grab the baton and, confident from this initial achievement, ensure we all do our best to make the XC40 the success in the UK that our colleagues in the media clearly think it deserves to be.

The car’s retailer launch on 22 February will be the perfect place to start.