HAT-TRICK, musketeers, blind mice, sisters in Macbeth, little pigs, wise men, stooges, lions on a shirt, Volvo XC40.

The link? Yes, it’s the number three.

The numeral has long had an almost magical quality, turning up as it does in myth, literature and everyday life. But the XC40 bit is probably puzzling you.

Well, the reason Volvo’s smallest SUV (sports utility vehicle) gets a name-check is that Weekend Wheels’ road test model sported a delightful three-cylinder engine.

The T3 is the company’s first three-pot motor. The compact, 1.5-litre, direct-injection, turbocharged petrol unit produces 156bhp at 5,000rpm and is available only with front-wheel drive and a six-speed manual gearbox. An eight-speed automatic option will be introduced at a later date.

Standard equipment majors on progressive connectivity, entertainment and safety innovations

Our car, an XC40 T3 Momentum Pro, had features including a nine-inch touchscreen control for multiple on-board functions and easy smartphone connectivity, satellite navigation, automatic LED headlights with active high beam, a dual-zone climate control system, keyless start, rear parking sensors, cruise control, automatic windscreen wipers, integrated roof rails, heated front seats, a heated windscreen, adaptive headlights and auto-folding side mirrors.

With leather upholstery and power adjustment on the driver’s seat, comfort is at a premium and there is plenty of practicality with a load area of 432 litres, extending to 1,308 litres with the 60/40-split rear seat-back down. You will also find shopping-bag hooks, a foldable load floor with cargo divider and a powered tailgate.

The driving experience is pleasing, with the engine giving crisp acceleration (0-62mph in 9.4 seconds and a top speed of 124mph), while the handling is assured and ride is pothole-defying. Using the selectable driving modes, I found the going more comfortable in the ‘dynamic’ setting than the ‘comfort’.

Figures reveal a combined-cycle fuel figure of 45.6mpg and CO2 emissions from 144g/km.

There’s no shortage of pulling muscle, delivering a towing capacity of up to 1.6 tonnes with a braked trailer.

Fit and finish are top-notch and the whole ambience of the award-winning car speaks of a premium quality that is on a par with the mainly German competitors.

On-the-road prices start from £27,610 for the T3 Momentum model.