|Lease Term (months)||36|
|Miles per year|
With plenty of tech paired with a fun-to-drive nature, the 2020 Volvo XC40’s fresh and spunky looks are aimed directly at hip and luxury-minded buyers. The interior offers comfort and spaciousness along with a decidedly Swedish atmosphere found in all of today’s Volvos. The front-wheel-drive T4 is powered by a 184-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four; the T5 model unlocks a more potent 248-hp turbo-four and standard all-wheel drive. The supportive seats are comfortable for extended stays and both rows are spacious. There’s also abundant cargo stowage and plenty of bins and auxiliary repositories to keep things. If dynamic driving is a priority, the BMW X1 and the Jaguar F-Pace are top considerations, but the XC40’s handsome looks and well-executed packaging make it a strong contender in the flourishing subcompact class.
As with other 2020 Volvo models, all XC40s come standard with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. Cloth seats replace the previously standard leather on the base Momentum model, though it remains available as an option; leather remains standard on the R-Design and Inscription models. The Momentum now features power child locks for the rear doors, an automatically dimming rearview mirror, and heated windshield wiper blades. A panoramic roof is standard on the R-Design. The ability to power fold the rear seats has evaporated from the XC40 lineup.
We’d select the T5 R-Design model not solely for the seasonal security of all-wheel drive, but also for the more powerful 248-hp engine. At $42,945, the T5 R-Design comes standard with navigation, dynamic suspension hardware, a panoramic roof, and a sporting appearance. We’d also add the adaptive dampers for additional adjustability and heated front seats and steering wheel. We’d select the Advanced package that adds adaptive cruise control with a semi-autonomous mode, a 360-degree surround-view camera, and adaptive LED headlights with a cleaning system. Lastly, we’d opt for the Lava carpeting and door inserts to add to the XC40’s funkiness.
Under the hood of every XC40 is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder making either 184 or 248 horsepower (called T4 and T5, respectively). The more powerful T5, which receives all-wheel drive as standard, helped our Momentum test vehicle scoot from zero to 60 mph in a reasonably brisk 6.2 seconds. The eight-speed automatic transmission handles gearchanges without delay and transmits no harshness to the cabin while doing so. Our sole complaint is the coarse engine sound under heavy throttle; when cruising, the powertrain is quiet and refined. Towing capacity is something that’s a rarity among subcompact luxury crossovers; the XC40 boasts a stout 3500-pound limit.
On a twisty road, the Mercedes-Benz GLA250 or the BMW X1 are more willing partners, but the XC40 holds its own. The Volvo feels stable and playful, thanks in large part to steering that is light, sharp, and responsive. Our Momentum test vehicle exhibited a controlled and supple ride over the harsh, potholed roads around our editorial offices in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Upgrading to one of the XC40’s 20-inch wheel options erodes some of that comfort, but those lucky enough to live outside the Rust Belt will still find the ride calm and agreeable. The sporty R-Design model comes with a slightly stiffer suspension for enhanced agility; an adjustable suspension is optional.
Despite competitive fuel-efficiency ratings from the EPA, the XC40 T5’s performance in our 200-mile real-world highway fuel-economy testing turned out to be merely average for the segment at 29 mpg. The über-efficient Mercedes-Benz GLA250 and the spunky three-cylinder Mini Cooper Countryman both handily beat the XC40 in our testing with 34 mpg.
Swedish contemporary design meets fun and functional in the XC40’s interior, and the cabin’s atmosphere imparts a truly upscale vibe even in the base Momentum trim. The boxy, upright design allows for a light and airy feel inside; passenger space is commodious in both the front and rear seats. As with its more expensive stablemates, the XC60 and the XC90, the XC40’s cabin is functional, well made, and beautifully designed—if not quite as plush and luxurious. Volvo designers took the opportunity to incorporate more youthful flourishes in the cabin of the Momentum and R-Design trims, such as the optional blaze-orange carpeting that extends up into the door panels, textured metallic trim in place of traditional wood inlays, and rectilinear vents with floating chrome adjusters. Upscale Inscription models sport a classier appearance with the addition of driftwood trim and a shift knob crafted from Orrefors crystal.
In our carry-on luggage test, the XC40 managed to accommodate 23 of our suitcases with its rear seats folded. Additionally, Volvo has integrated a number of inventive cargo-storage features throughout the XC40’s interior, such as a hook that flips out from the glovebox to hold takeout bags, a divider for the cargo area, and a removable garbage bin with a hinged door in the center console.
From its prominent and slightly left-canted position in the center of the XC40’s dashboard, Volvo’s Sensus Connect infotainment system is projected brightly on a 9.0-inch touchscreen. Most everything inside the cabin is controlled via this screen, and there are few redundant physical buttons. System usability is a mixed bag: the main menus are intuitively arranged, but submenus suffer from small touchscreen icons that are fussy to use on the go. We also noticed pronounced system lag immediately upon startup.
Volvo offers plenty of driver-assistance tech as standard, including automated emergency braking; more advanced features including a semi-autonomous driving mode are optional. Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have completed testing of the XC40 yet, so its crashworthiness is still unknown. Key safety features include:
Volvo’s warranty coverage is fair, and the three years of complimentary scheduled maintenance is a nice perk. Unfortunately, there’s nothing here that makes the XC40 a standout among its rivals that all offer roughly the same coverages.
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