It’s common knowledge that Volvo makes one of the safest cars on the roads, and this is attributed to their top-notch technology and rigid construction.
Their new XC40 T5 Momentum AWD crossover SUV we tested, possesses these attributes, along with a few more. In fact, it was awarded European Car of the Year for 2018. And we should add that the XC40s slightly larger sister, the XC60, was awarded “World Car of the Year” at the 2018 New York Auto Show.
This compact luxury crossover SUV is offered in T4 or T5. The T4 is FWD whereas the T5 is AWD and has a more powerful engine. It’s also offered in Momentum, sporty R-Design and top line Inscription trim levels.
As the Momentum is the base model, it’s far from your typical base car considering its standard features, functions and luxury. The T5 comes with striking, edgy styling along with Volvo’s signature “L” shaped taillights that illuminate the night, especially when depressing the brake pedal. Another eye grabber is the white roof and wheels. The R-Design comes with a black roof to differentiate the trim models.
After a low 18-inch step-in, you’re treated to what resembles the cockpit of a Gulfstream jet. Then your eyes will immediately settle upon the huge 9-inch vertical touchscreen that controls virtually every functions from the rearview camera with 360-degree birds-eye view to apps (including a detailed weather map), audio, HVAC, Wi-Fi Hotspot connectivity plus Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, driving modes of Eco, Comfort, Off Road and Dynamic (which is a performance boost mode). It’s like having an iPad at your fingertips. If you’re looking in the glove box for an owners’ manual, forget it. It’s on the touchscreen, including operational videos.
The digital gauge cluster is 12.3 inches long and displays a posted speed limit sign on the speedometer as well as a red-line to show if you’re above or below the speed limit.
Further down on the vertical stack you’ll find a wireless smartphone charger, but unlike most others in other vehicles, Volvo’s can accommodate large and smaller phones.
Albeit optional, XC40 came with Pilot Assist, a semi autonomous drive system w/adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, automatic emergency braking and more.
As for the leather seats, they’re Euro firm, heated (as was the steering wheel), and supportive. The driver’s seat bottom has a hidden bin beneath it.
Between these seats is the stubby 8-speed automatic transmission shifter. It requires a press of the separate Park button to engage and shifting from Drive to Reverse can be a bit tricky. Both operations took some getting used to. The other feature we weren’t thrilled about was the keyfob as its buttons were on the sides of the fob not on its face as most others.
Back seat space can accommodate three in a pinch and are soft and comfy with good headroom and sufficient legroom provided the fronts aren’t racked well rearward. The seats split and fold in 60/40 fashion and in the larger section is a pass through for carrying long items like skis or fishing rods.
XC40s cargo area is spacious with 20.7 cubic feet that measures 36 inches deep, 41 wide and 29.5 high. Flip the seatbacks and cargo depth extends to 65 inches. Volvo also included an underfloor bin atop the spare tire to stow small items out of sight.
Engine wise, the T4 comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder with 187-hp and 221 lb/ft of torque. The T5, tested, is powered by a 2.0-liter, turbocharged inline 4-cylinder with 248-hp and 258 lb/ft of torque. It garners EPA mileage estimates of 23 city, 31-highway mpg and is helped by a start/stop engine shut-off system that is almost imperceptible in operation. Both engines transfer power to the wheels via a smooth shifting 8-speed automatic transmission. The combination was independently timed at 6.2 seconds for 0-60 mph.
So powered, the T5 had gobs of power, especially when the turbo kicked in which displayed virtually little turbo lag.
Handling wise, XC40 is nimble, parks easily and is fun to drive. Encountering sharp turns results in virtually no body lean. Shod with Michelin 19-inch tires, the T5 rides smoothly and quietly. XC40’s suspension system contributes to this as it soaks up road imperfections and tar strips with perfection.
If going off-road, there’s an impressive 8.3 inches of ground clearance. But even as that, it’s not intended for rock hopping. The owners’ manual states, “Off-Road mode is to traverse difficult terrain or poor roads.” Which is what most folks would take their beautiful investment on, and that includes primarily deep snow or flooded roadways.
XC40 T5 comes exceptionally equipped. But the options list becomes pricey depending on what you opt for. The T5 began life with a base price of $35,200, a very reasonable and competitive starting point. The test car came with the Premium Package ($1,400) that included a long list of extra’s such as the wireless charging pad, Pilot Assist, adaptive cruise, heated windshield washers, power headrests, folding load floor with grocery bag holders and many more. The Vision Package ($1,100) added blind spot information, cross traffic alert with autobrake, power retractable side view mirrors; Advanced Package ($995) had 360 surround view camera, LED exterior lighting, headlight cleaning system; Multimedia Package ($1,375) with Sensus navigation package and Harmon Kardon audio; heated seats/steering wheel $750); panoramic moonroof ($1,200); white exterior roof ($300); charcoal headliner ($200); 19-inch white alloy wheels ($800); and delivery ($995) brought the T5 to a bottom line of $44,315. This price is competitive with other luxury crossovers, and in some cases, even less expensive.
The XC40 offers a lot of value and safety for the money and that also includes its resale value. Volvo may be impacting their sales of the larger XC60 and XC90 crossovers because the XC40 is so all encompassing and good.