If you’re Volvo, how do you follow up the fantastic XC90 full-size and XC60 mid-size crossovers? Well, automotive logic would dictate things would continue to trickle down; and indeed they have, with an all-new, compact sized, 2019 Volvo XC40.
It may be Volvo’s smallest crossover yet, but it feels big for the class. And, it is the first modern Volvo not built on the SPA platform, but a new Compact Modular Architecture.
Looking taller and stubbier than its bigger kin, the XC40’s exterior is both bold and cartoonish. We also see traces of Land Rover and Jeep in its luxo-rugged design. There’s plenty to draw the eyes here; from the scooped out grille, deep body cuts, an available contrasting roof, and even a little Swedish flag sticking out from under the clamshell hood. Just don’t tell anyone it’s actually made in Belgium.
Our tester is a T5, which in current Volvo-speak means the 2.0-liter I4 underneath the hood is turbo-charged. Sums of 248–horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque put it well above class average.
An 8-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive are standard with the T5. Volvo is of course, no stranger to the front-wheel-drive based all-wheel-drive game; having fielded examples for some 20-years, since the 850 Estate, becoming V70XC here in the states.
A naturally-aspirated, 2.0-liter, front-wheel-drive only, XC 40 T4 will arrive here later this year, with a plug-in hybrid and pure EV following that.
The suspension design, and our T5’s ride itself, favors that of its bigger kin; yet needless to say, its diminutive size makes it a breeze to whip around city streets, as well as in and out of traffic. Which you can do quite easily, with incredibly powerful response from the engine.
So, the XC40 squirts off the line quite efficiently as well, capable of hitting 60 in just 6.3-seconds. Power arrives early and stays, shifts click through quickly and smoothly, for a ¼-mile ending in 14.8-seconds at 95 miles-per-hour.
The XC40 felt nimble and eager through our cone course. Steering is very light, yet we always had a good sense of where our wheels were pointing.
There’s laser-like attention to interior details, with a wealth of sensible storage options throughout the cabin. On the flip side, the shortage of physical controls, and over reliance on a big touch screen, didn’t impress us.
When it comes to materials and theme, it’s totally Swedish; with pleasant-looking aluminum on the dash, nicely carpeted door panels, and fit-and-finish commensurate with rival luxury brand.
Size has not impacted the Volvo comfort we’ve come to expect, with a fairly high seating position; again, giving you the impression it’s a larger vehicle.
Rear seat legroom is quite good as well, with adequate headroom for most adults.
In back, there’s 20.7 cubic-ft. of cargo space, maxing out at 47.2 with the rear seats folded; not as roomy as some, but the space is flexible and very nicely finished.
When it comes to safety systems, if Volvo has it, it’s here; and not just available, but standard.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 23-City, 31-Highway, and 26-Combined. We saw a good 27.8 miles-per-gallon with the required Premium. The Energy Impact Score is an average one, at 12.7-barrels of yearly petroleum use, along with CO2 emissions of 5.6-tons.
If all of that wasn’t enough, you can buy one for a more than reasonable $34,195. The T5 with all-wheel-drive, starts at just $36,195. And with this vehicle, Volvo is also launching a new subscription service, that will allow you to get a vehicle including insurance and maintenance for one monthly payment, with no money down. And, much like the millennials they are going after probably already do with their smartphones, you can upgrade your vehicle after as little as one year.
But, what really matters, is that the 2019 Volvo XC40 delivers on all points, with a refined interior and ride quality found nowhere else in the compact segment. Now that Volvo has revamped their entire SUV lineup in just 3-years, it’s hard not seeing the XC40 following in the footsteps of XC90, and 60; which is to say, being another big success.
Engine: 2.0 liter
Torque: 258 lb.-ft.
0-60 mph: 6.3 seconds
1/4 mile: 14.8 seconds @ 95 mph
EPA: 23 mpg city / 31 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 12.7 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 5.6 tons/yr