2021 Volvo XC40 Review

5/5

Overview

The XC40 is the result of Volvo’s decision to enter the compact SUV arena for the first time, entering the fray with the likes of the Audi Q3, Lexus NX, BMW X1 and the Range Rover Evoque. What all these cars have in common is that they are transverse-engined and steel-bodied, meaning there is a lot of interior space in a comparatively compact design. Volvo have succeeded in making something that is individual while in keeping with the general ethos of the brand - a comfortable drive in a secure environment. 

Pros
  • Extensive list of standard equipment
  • Interesting interior design
  • Typical Volvo pedigree and reliability
  • Comprehensive list of safety equipment
  • Easy-to-use infotainment system
Cons
  • Some rivals have better powertrains

Exterior

If you have difficulty telling one SUV from another then you will be impressed by Volvo’s different approach to design. There are some new lines and curves so that you can easily differentiate it from an XC60 or an XC90. It has an angular, small side glass area and octagonal cut-outs in the lower frame. Two-tone paint configurations will be popular according to Volvo and it is not hard to see why as they spruce up what is an already dapper exterior. 

Interior

The interior is more quirky than you would perhaps expect from the usually more sedate Scandinavians. For instance, rather than covering the door cards in leather or plastic, Volvo has covered part of the XC40’s door in a carpet-like material that matches the carpet used elsewhere in the car. Volvo’s touchscreen infotainment system has got nice graphics and easily navigatable menus. As usual with Volvo, the seats are fantastic, providing great support to the driver and passengers alike. The driving position is also excellent thanks to the multiple levels of adjustment in the driver’s seat and steering wheel. There is a decent amount of head and legroom for adults while there are also plenty of USB ports as well as Wi-Fi on boards. There is also a good-sized boot that comes complete with a large false floor that can accommodate the parcel shelf. All the sort of little things that make a car that bit easier to live with. 

Performance

Engine choices are relatively straightforward in that they all follow Volvo’s what-it-says-on-the-tin naming: D for diesel, T for turbo petrol. Then follows a number: 3 is around 150bhp, 4 is 190bhp and 5 is 250bhp. The choice of diesels as D3 and D4, plus petrols as T3, T4 and T5. Manual and front-wheel drive are available for the D3 and T3, but higher up the powertrain it changes to all-wheel drive and automatic gearbox only. The suspension carries this vehicle with considerable pose, soft springs and barely audible tyres. 

Reliability

Volvo’s recent reliability record is second-to-none and all models come with a three year, 100,000 kilometer warranty. 

Running Costs

The CO2 levels range from 127g/km for the D3 FWD manual to 166g/km for the T5 AWD auto, putting the XC40 in the lower to middle range for taxation in the Republic of Ireland. Those CO2 emissions equate to rated miles per gallon figures of 58.2mpg down to 39.8 

Handling

The smaller than usual steering wheel and quick gear ratio combine to make the XC40 feel reasonably light and agile in city junctions while remaining steady on the open road. 

Safety

The XC40 comes with a range of standard safety equipment that includes vehicle, pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane centering, radar cruise, road-edge sensing and LED headlamps plus no less than are 10 airbags. Nothing less than you would expect from a Volvo. 

Summary

Exterior
80%
Interior
90%
Performance
80%
Reliability
90%
Running Costs
90%
Handling
90%
Safety
100%

The XC40 is the result of Volvo’s decision to enter the compact SUV arena for the first time, entering the fray with the likes of the Audi Q3, Lexus NX, BMW X1 and the Range Rover Evoque. What all these cars have in common is that they are transverse-engined and steel-bodied, meaning there is a lot of interior space in a comparatively compact design. Volvo have succeeded in making something that is individual while in keeping with the general ethos of the brand - a comfortable drive in a secure environment.