2019 Volvo XC40
The XC40 is Volvo's smallest -- and newest -- crossover. It's a brand-new nameplate so designers were able to truly start from scratch without feeling the need to channel styling cues from the outgoing model. The result is a smart-looking crossover still recognizable as a member of the Volvo family.
Volvo wants to attract younger buyers with the XC40. To that end, it offers 17 combinations of exterior colors and contrasting hues for the roof. Interior themes range from accent lighting to bold red, with accent lighting and an optional panoramic sunroof. Do you think a Volvo is drab and boring? This is the car that, designers hope, will make you change your mind.
The XC40 feels well-built and spacious inside. We like the clever features Volvo baked into the cabin. For example, the firm moved the door speakers to the dashboard to clear up space for storage bins passengers can put a 15-inch laptop in. There's also a fold-out hook integrated into the glovebox lid to hold groceries or take-out food bags.
Though it's a five seater, we wouldn't put three adults on the rear seat for a cross-country drive. Stick to four passengers and you'll all travel in relative comfort with plenty of space -- and USB ports -- all around. Trunk space checks in at 20.7 with both rows of seats left up and 47.2 cubes with the rear bench folded flat.
The XC40's standard engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 187 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. Called T4 in Volvo-speak, it spins the front wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Fuel economy checks in at 25 mpg in the city, 36 mpg on the highway, and 29 mpg in a combined cycle.
The optional T5 engine is also a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Its output checks in at 248 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. It uses the same eight-speed as the less powerful four-banger but it sends its power to all four wheels.
There's a slight fuel economy penalty associated with the T5. The EPA rates it at 23 mpg in the city, 31 mpg on the highway, and 26 mpg in a combined cycle.
Standard and optional features
Volvo offers the XC40 in three trim levels named Momentum, R-Design, and Inscription, respectively.
Even the base model comes nicely equipped with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a power-operated tailgate, SiriusXM satellite radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, a nine-inch touch screen in the center console, hill descent control, 18-inch alloy wheels, a cap-less fuel filler, aluminum roof rails, rain-sensing wipers, leather upholstery on the seats, the steering wheel, and the gear selector, a power-operated driver's seat, and LED headlights.
Buyers have several option packages to choose from. The multimedia package adds a nicer sound system; the heated front seats and heated steering wheel package adds exactly what you think it does; the premium package bundles pilot assist, keyless entry, two-zone climate control, and an inductive phone charger, among other features.
The list of standalone options includes an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, white mirror caps, a charcoal headliner, a panoramic moonroof, and, in typical Volvo fashion, a canoe/kayak carrier.
Care by Volvo
The XC40 inaugurated a subscription service named Care by Volvo. It aims to make owning a car as easy and convenient as owning a smartphone. Buyers who choose to subscribe to the XC40 pay a flat monthly fee for the car, insurance, maintenance, a concierge service, and roadside assistance.
Interested? You'll need to get pre-approved first; Volvo will look at your driving record and your credit score. The contract lasts two years but subscribers can upgrade to a new car anytime after the first year. After the two-year period, they can either send the car back and walk away or buy it. It sounds a lot like leasing but there's a key difference: you own the car during the two years.
Every XC40 comes with dual front, side, and curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems. It also comes standard with lane-keeping assist, oncoming lane mitigation, and road sign information.
The Volvo XC40 competes in the same space as the BMW X2, the Jaguar E-Pace, and the Audi Q3. Buyers can also look at the Mercedes-Benz GLA and the MINI Countryman.