Volvo’s 2020 XC40 is one of three crossover SUVs the car maker sells. All of them have a strong following among those who know of Volvo’s inherent structural rigidity and numerous safety items, many of which were a first in the industry. In fact, Volvo was the first back in 1959 to have front seat, three-point safety belts as standard; 1978 child safety booster cushions; and 1994 side impact bags that’s among a total of 13 firsts.
As for the XC40, it’s the smallest, less expensive crossover in Volvo’s line that includes the XC60 and XC90 crossovers. We were privileged to test the T5, AWD R-Design that is a sporty version with a host of standard safety features, convenience items and sporty trim touches.
The XC40 is offered in T4, which is FWD with a less powerful engine, and T5 that is AWD with a more powerful engine. The 40 is also offered in Momentum, R-Design and top-shelf Inscription trim versions.
The R-Design we had came standard with Nappa leather and Nubuck upholstery, sport pedals, black roof, shift paddles, heated wiper blades, panoramic sunroof, sport chassis, 20-inch wheels and a long list of other added niceties.
XC40 takes on a sporty, angular look with a sexy flair. It goes up against a host of competitors from BMW, Lexus, Benz, Audi and a few lesser makes.
The interior in the test car was an eye-grabber, or maybe, eye-opener. Grey, perforated, heated front seats with sueded inserts, contrasted sharply with orange carpeting in the test car. An interesting, eclectic combination. The next item is the 12.3-inch display that serves a multitude of operations aside from a rearview camera that offers wide and close-up views. It comes with Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity and you can pinch, drag, swipe and minimize the screen just like an iPad and some laptops. Plus, send/retrieve text messages, move apps around on the screen, watch operational video’s and get this, you can even write on the screen. To do all this requires a serious read of the owners’ manual while in the car to practice and familiarize the displays varied capabilities. On it, HVAC controls are also selected and include a man-form display for selecting air flow.
XC40s 8-speed automatic transmission is controlled by a stubby shifter that has a separate button for “Park” gear. And there are three selectable drive modes of Comfort, Dynamic (sportier driving), Eco and Off-Road.
An all digital gauge cluster has a 4-inch driver information display between the gauges that also shows a nav map. Volvo thought of everything, including a smartphone charger/holder on the forward console and a trash bin in front of it.
Front seats are comfy and very supportive with contrasting white stitching on all seams. Rear seats are similarly comfy for two adults or three youngsters.
Back in the cargo area, and with the seats upright, the area measures 36 inches deep, 40 wide and 30 high. Between the seats there’s a pass-through for skis or long items. Flip the seatbacks and cargo depth extends to 69 inches. There’s also a 27x37.5x3 inch deep underfloor bin to stow small items out of sight.
Power wise, the sporty T5 gets a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder that produces 248-hp and 258 lb/ft of torque. Coupled to the 8-speed auto trans, the T5 was independently 0-60 timed at 6.2 seconds and was a real performer. Not bad considering its 3,823-pound curb weight. So equipped, the 2.0L earned EPA mileage estimates of 22 city, 30-highway mpg. For better economy, there’s an XC40-Electric version soon to be available at Volvo dealers.
Handling wise, XC40 is nimble, light on its feet, easy to park and fun to drive with its shorter length. With the T5’s sporty suspension, the crossover is planted in sharp, tight turns with negligible body lean. Ride quality too is admirable. And it’s a quiet rider.
With a substantial list of standard features, safety items and add-ons, the XC40’s Park Assist Pilot option provides both parallel and perpendicular parking by taking over the steering operations while the driver handles the gearbox and controls speed.
Then there’s Pilot Assist that helps the driver with steering, distance and speed control from slow-moving traffic to highway driving. The system makes driving safer and more relaxed in stop-and-go traffic by adding steering assistance along with Adaptive Cruise Control.
These add to the standard safety features such as blind spot monitoring; cross traffic alert with Autobrake Collision Avoidance by City Safety that detects vehicle, pedestrian, cyclist and large animal sensing; run-off road protection/mitigation; lane keeping assist and oncoming lane mitigation; electronic stability control and many more.
The XC40 comes with a 48 month/60K mile limited warranty coverage and 144-month corrosion protection plus on-call Roadside Assistance.
For years, Volvo cars were always the safest cars on the road. These features just add to the vehicles’ safety and attractiveness.
Since Volvo didn’t have a Monroney (sticker price) for the test car, the listed prices for the T5 range from $42,304 to $43,590 nicely loaded. And they’re worth every dollar.