Volvo XC40 review 2019

Find out more about the Volvo XC40 in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

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4
Out of 5

Pros

  • - Superb build quality
  • - Stylish design
  • - Excellent safety kit

Cons

  • - Not all that spacious
  • - Thirsty petrol engines
  • - Touchscreen can be fiddly
  • MPG

    39 - 58

  • CO2

    127 - 166 g/km

Model Review

Volvo knows how to make an SUV, and has clearly shown that with its excellent XC90 and XC60 models.

The firm’s first venture into the smaller SUV market came in 2017 with the XC40.  Retaining a similar look to the XC60, the XC40 was launched that September. It kept the excellent safety technology, infotainment and connectivity features that are commonplace on the Swedish firm’s larger models.

The XC40 also introduced a new ‘Care by Volvo’ scheme, which is available to London-based customers. For a fixed monthly fee, buyers get the car, insurance, free convenient servicing, and tyre replacements if needed.

The XC40 also introduced a host of customisation options, including a bold colour palette which helped showcase a new side to the Volvo brand.

Latest model

The XC40 is still a bit too new to be facelifted, although Volvo has already expanded the engine line-up in the model. The first new engine was Volvo’s first three-cylinder petrol motor — known as the T3 — alongside the well-established T4 petrol engine and D3 diesel unit.

Since launch, the XC40 has won a smattering of awards, including coveted titles such as the ‘2018 European Car of the Year’ and What Car’s Car of the Year gong.

Volvo has also announced that a new plug-in hybrid model known as the T5 Twin Engine is also on the way.

Value for money

With Volvo’s cars now being every bit as good as the German competition, it means that the Swedish manufacturer’s cars are on the pricey side more so than they once were.

The XC40 range starts at £28,310, which pays for the entry-level Momentum spec. It comes laden with standard equipment for the price, with all models featuring automatic LED headlights, a nine-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation, 18-inch alloy wheels and a host of advanced safety equipment. Top-spec models go beyond the £40,000, which does feel a little expensive. That said, it undercuts the price of the Audi Q3 and Jaguar E-Pace, and is priced similarly to offerings from Mercedes and BMW.

Strong demand for the XC40 has ensured that prices have remained high on the used market, with even the cheapest cars — at the time of writing — costing no less than £26,000. Expect to see discounts of around £2,000 on nearly-new models, but the savings won’t be as much as you could find on rivals.

Looks and image

Volvo has undergone somewhat of a transformation recently, and now builds some of the classiest looking models on sale. The XC40 is no different, with its recognisable ‘Thor’s Hammer’ lights, straight-edged front-end and stylish, simplistic tailgate. A range of alloy wheels help to ensure that the XC40 is arguably the best-looking model in its segment.

It’s a similar story on the inside, with the XC40 being given the same high-end finish as you find on Volvo’s more expensive models such as the XC90. This means you get a clutter-free layout with minimal physical buttons, and a modern-looking nine-inch touchscreen rounding off the cabin. Even standard models come with satellite navigation, voice control, DAB radio and Bluetooth, although irritatingly it doesn’t come with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, as these are optional extras.

With excellent build quality throughout and a range of high-end materials used, it feels every bit a premium SUV, with buyers also given the option to inject some extra flair into their cars with a range of coloured carpets and mats to choose from.

Drivers that want something fun to drive would probably prefer the way the BMW X2 behaves behind the wheel, but the XC40 is a good all-rounder. The ride is cushioned and comfortable, and doesn’t get too much firmer even when the car is specced with 19-inch alloy wheels. It’s helped by supportive and comfortable seats, which make long-distance journeys trouble-free.

Video Review

Space and practicality

Volvos of days gone by always had practicality and spaciousness as one of their key assets, and while its latest range of models are not impractical, the emphasis on design has led to a reduction in available space.

The boot size is quite average for its class - offering 460 litres with all seats in place, or 1,336 litres with the rear chairs folded. That should prove to be enough for most families, and the boot shape itself is excellent, with a flat load bay being a big advantage when loading and unloading heavy items.

Interior space for passengers is generous with clever packaging ensuring that the XC40 doesn’t feel much smaller inside than the XC60. Even adults in the rear won’t complain for a lack of headroom and legroom, which can’t necessarily be said about other cars in this class.

But where the XC40 perhaps excels the most is safety. Volvo has been a frontrunner in this department for some time, and given that the XC40 comes as standard with tech such as autonomous emergency braking, a driver attention alert, traffic sign recognition and a system that can steer to avoid oncoming traffic, the firm’s new SUV is undoubtedly one of the safest small SUVs on sale. The XC40 was awarded with a five-star safety rating by Euro NCAP, with high scores recorded in all categories.

Engines

A broad choice of both petrol and diesel engines are offered with the XC40.

There are two diesel options, which both utilise a 2.0-litre turbocharged unit. The first is the 148bhp D3 and the latter is the 187bhp D4. You can have the D3 with the option of front- or all-wheel-drive, and with power delivered by a six-speed manual gearbox or an eight-speed automatic transmission. Meanwhile, the D4 is all-wheel-drive and automatic only. Neither engine is slow, but the D4 offers a good balance of efficiency and performance, with a 0-60mph time of 7.5 seconds.

There are three petrol engines in the line-up – the T3, T4 and T5.

The T3 is Volvo’s first three-cylinder engine. The 154bhp 1.5-litre unit is only offered with front-wheel-drive and a manual gearbox. The higher-spec 2.0-litre engines produce 187bhp in T4 guise and 244bhp with the T5 engine variant, and are all-wheel-drive and only come with an automatic gearbox. The T5 is rapid, with a 0-60mph time of 6.2 seconds and a top speed of 150mph.

A plug-in variant is expected to join the line-up shortly.

Running costs

Those wanting to reduce their running costs should look at the diesel engines, and particularly the D3, which promises a combined fuel economy figure of 51.4mpg, with CO2 emissions of 127g/km. The D4 engine is also efficient, but the petrol engines can prove to be quite thirsty, particularly if you cover a lot of miles each year or have a regular need to go on longer trips.

If you’re looking at buying a brand new example, you should be careful when choosing optional extras, as these could tip the price of an XC40 over the £40,000 marker; in that case, you will then have to pay an additional £310 surcharge for five years after the car’s first registration.

Insurance groups range between 23 and 33, depending on trim and engine, which is comparable to other premium SUVs in this class.

Things to look out for

Because the XC40 is still a recently-introduced model, there’s still a certain unknown around the model’s reliability, with no common problems reported just yet.

 

Rivals

The small SUV sector is a hugely lucrative market these days, with most premium manufacturers having offerings in this segment. Close rivals for the XC40 include the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and X2, Mercedes GLC, Jaguar E-Pace and Range Rover Evoque. Alternatively, you could also consider the Lexus UX or DS 7 Crossback.

 

Depreciation

High demand has kept used values up for the XC40, with only small discounts available off nearly-new models at the time of writing. Given the model’s popularity, looking at the used market can help to avoid waiting lists and bring small, welcome savings.

Which XC40 to Pick

Cheapest to Buy When New

1.5 T3 [163] Momentum 5dr

Most MPG

2.0 D3 Momentum 5dr

Fastest Model (0-60)

2.0 T5 R DESIGN 5dr AWD Geartronic

Summary

  1. Stunning interior design
  2. Excellent engine choice
  3. Class-leading safety
  4. Plug-in hybrid set to join the range shortly
  5. Lots of standard equipment
  6. Refined and comfortable
  7. Boot space could be better
  8. Holds its value well
  9. Unknown reliability
  10. Another Volvo that challenges the class best

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