The 2019 Volvo XC40 hits a sweet spot in the compact luxury SUV segment — and it’s bringing a new generation of customers to the Swedish brand
- The Volvo XC40 is the newest and smallest addition to the Swedish automaker’s SUV lineup.
- It arrives at the perfect time for Volvo, as the luxury compact SUV segment evolves in the US.
- The XC40 is a tasteful, high-quality and exceptionally well-packaged small SUV for a starting price of around $33,000.
- It’s also available via subscription through the Care by Volvo program, which lumps the car payment, insurance, and scheduled maintenance into one monthly fee.
The Volvo XC40 is the newest addition to the Swedish automaker’s SUV lineup and it joins a growing segment of compact sport-utility vehicles and crossovers currently dominating the market.
Now eight years into its relaunch as a luxury brand under the Chinese automotive conglomerate, Geely Holding Group, Volvo has launched seven new models, three of which are SUVs: the XC90, XC60, and now the XC40.
The 40 is built on Volvo’s proprietary small-car skeleton, denoted as the Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform which was co-developed with Geely.
As automobiles go, being the smallest and least expensive model in a lineup usually means you’ll have to make some compromises — the evidence of which might manifest itself in lower-quality materials and fewer options than the pricier models.
That is not the case here. The XC40 feels nearly every bit as premium as a compact luxury four-wheeler should.
From the moment you pull open its hefty doors, plant yourself into the sculpted, leather and Alcantara-wrapped driver’s seat, and grip the thick-rimmed steering wheel with the stoic chrome-plated Volvo badge planted dead-center, you realize you’re about to pilot a very capable, exceptionally well-built machine.
At the same time, it’s also quaint. And comfortable.
Unlike its larger siblings, the XC40 has no plug-in hybrid variant yet. It can only be had with one of two versions of the company’s four-cylinder, turbocharged, gas-powered engines — available with 187-horsepower, or a more energetic 248-horsepower variant. An all-electric version is currently in development.
Volvo recently loaned us a fully loaded XC40 R-Design for a weeklong drive in Los Angeles. These are our impressions:
In pictures, the XC40 looks deceptively small. In reality, it’s compact enough for city driving but has plenty cargo and passenger room for longer trips.
The Volvo family resemblance here is unmistakable. By now, you’ve seen what Volvo lovingly calls the “Thor’s hammer” effect prominently featured in the automaker’s signature headlights. Up front on the XC40, it gives the car a subtle, unique flair that makes it instantly memorable.
The inscribed “VOLVO” badge on the reflector lens is a nice touch.