The Volvo XC40 proves that great things do come in small packages.
Traditionally, this Swedish automaker was known for building boxy-looking vehicles and being laser-focused on safety. But today, Volvo is famed for its subtle designs, elegant interiors, and innovative drivetrain technology, all of which is found in their smallest crossover.
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The XC40 is one of the most delightful premium compact crossovers available today. It feels upscale in a way rival models typically don’t. It also offers loads of technology and is motivated by dynamite drivetrains. Here are five reasons you might want to consider this small, funky CUV.
One of the XC40’s most appealing attributes is its luxurious interior. The cabin looks elegant and is made of high-quality materials. The dashboard, for instance, is comprised of squishy, low-sheen plastic, an expanse punctuated by slit-like air vents trimmed with semi-gloss metallic accents. The door panels are likewise soft and dressed up with a carpet-like material that’s a bit funky but still upscale. There are also plenty of clever storage solutions and even a removable trash bin in the armrest. If you want, you can even get a crystal gear selector to really class it up in there.
Despite its pint-sized dimensions, the XC40 is spacious and comfortable. Maximum cargo capacity with the seats folded down clocks in at just shy of 58 cubic feet, a good bit more than you get in rival crossovers like the BMW X2 or Lexus NX.
For years, Volvo has been known for offering incredibly comfortable seats and this crossover continues that tradition. The XC40’s front buckets are plush yet supportive in all the right places. They’re easily all-day comfortable, something that can’t be said about many seats these days. Keeping passengers happy, the back bench is reasonably spacious and ergonomic, though a touch more legroom would be nice.
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Keeping even the most ardent technophiles happy, the XC40 comes loaded with high-end features. A nine-inch display on the center stack is standard, home to the firm’s Sensus infotainment system. If that’s not enough screen real estate, a 12.3-inch reconfigurable digital instrument cluster is included in every model as well. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration, a power-operated liftgate and hill-start assist, which keeps the vehicle from rolling forward or backward on inclines, is standard fare as well.
Optionally, this vehicle can be equipped with a range of high-end features. Things like Volvo’s Pilot Assist driver aid with adaptive cruise control is available, as are heated windshield-washer nozzles, headlight-cleaning jets, a 360-degree surround-view camera for easier parking and auto-dimming exterior mirrors.
Regrettably, that Sensus infotainment system has a steep learning curve and isn’t particularly responsive. The menu structure is rather confusing, and some features are buried in places you’d never expect. Connecting a phone via Bluetooth is frustrating if you don’t know that this function is located on the apps page rather than in the settings menu.
At first glance, some of the steering wheel-mounted controls are also incomprehensible, plus the stubby electronic shifter requires two motions before selecting the gear you want, which is just weird.
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The upscale T5 AWD R-Design model tested here featured an economical 2.0-liter engine. With a turbocharger huffing air into its quartet of lungs, this powerplant delivers a stout 248 horses with 258 pound-feet of torque. While not earth-shattering figures, these are more than enough to get the XC40 to 100 km/h (62 miles an hour) in as little as 6.5 seconds, a sprint aided by an eight-speed automatic transmission that’s always on point. This drivetrain is dynamite! For drivers that aren’t in any hurry, a base engine with 187 ponies is also available.
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Underscoring this vehicle’s overall refinement, that uplevel powerplant is incredibly smooth and muted. Scarcely any vibration makes its way into the cabin, even under heavy-footed driving. Curiously though, this engine sounds a bit strange. It’s quiet in operation, but doesn’t make any combustion sounds, no rumbling or growling at all. Punch the accelerator and it just whooshes like a gust of wind, like a mini tornado.
As it sits, the Volvo XC40 pictured here stickers for around $47,000, including $995 in delivery fees. It’s a T5 all-wheel-drive model dressed in midrange R-Design-trim. Of course, that price was inflated by several thousand dollars in optional equipment. Forego many of this vehicle’s useful extras and you can drive home in an entry-level example for right around $35,000, a rather striking price for an even more attractive vehicle.
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