2019 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD Review & Changes – The 2019 XC40 SUV/crossover drops Volvo into the fastest growing slice of the luxury-brand sales pie. That’s the easy part. The harder part is making a little SUV/crossover thing a Volvo, and making Volvo a relevant brand to younger buyers driving the sale of such vehicles-buyers who will even now be purchasing some sort of new car three or four decades after old-time, boomer-generation Volvo loyalists are dead. Based on a bit of wheel time in the new XC40, Volvo’s resolution appears relatively straightforward: Start by getting the basics right, in a space-efficient package that can be considered high-value as luxury brands go, and throw in a Scandinavian design aesthetic. And tons of safety features. And introduce some new retailing tricks. I can’t speak for 30- or 35-year-olds, but to this late bloomer, it looks Volvo has dropped itself squarely among the best little luxury-brand SUV/crossover things heading. At 174 inches in length, on a wheelbase of 106.4, the XC40 is an inch or two larger by most exterior dimensions than the Audi Q3, BMW X1 or Mercedes GLA–vehicles Volvo considers the XC40’s primary competitors. People incremental dimensional increases translate to a bit much more interior volume and cargo space, and they inch the XC40 closer to compact-class SUVs like the Q5, X3, and GLC.
The XC40 is the first vehicle built on Volvo’s new Compact Modular Architecture (CMA). Like the Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) under the recently launched S90, XC90 and XC60, CMA can be adjusted in any direction or dimension except the distance between the front axle and dash crossbeam (crucial for crash protection, and home to considerably of the powertrain). It could accommodate four-cylinder engines (currently Volvo’s only internal combustion power source up to the 90 series) and forthcoming three-cylinders. Most drastically, CMA provides a comparatively small-volume company like Volvo the necessary economies of scale to significantly much more quickly expand its product lineup, and to a whole lot much more easily migrate techniques and features downward from the larger SPA platform. Volvo is pitching the XC40 as the ultimate urban vehicle, based largely on its safety features and space maximization. However, the XC40 presents much more like a conventional SUV than some of its competitors, and certainly more than new XC60. Lead designer Ian Kettle states he was driven by the idea of a “tough little robot” and the core Scandinavian design themes of “functionality, simplicity, and cleanliness of line.”
Whatever that means, the XC40 appears fresh but not radically strange. Its separates itself from other Volvos with the shape of its “Thor’s Hammer” daytime operating lights and a concave, instead of convex, grille. It has a rare clamshell hood and no conventional shoulder under the window line. The light-catching crease between its wheel wells is really a trapezoid, and the body is wider in the back than in front. The standard Momentum trim provides a white or body-matching roof when the upgrade R-Design gets a black roof. The first 4000 XC40s will be built with a little vinyl Swedish flag at the top of each front fender, sort of like the tag on a pair of jeans. The only engine available at launch with being Volvo’s modular 2.0-liter four at T5 grade-the most potent variant short of the super/turbocharged T6. With 248 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, the XC40 T5 has a substantial hp edge on the Q3, X1 and GLA (200, 228 and 208 hp, respectively) and basically matches the larger Q5, X3, and GLC (252, 248, 241). The transmission is Volvo’s Aisin-sourced eight-speed torque-converter automatic. It provides the XC40 as numerous forward ratios as any of its competitors, and more than most. The Borg Warner all-wheel-drive system can split power 50 front/50 rear as necessary, even so, it shuts off the rear axle whenever feasible during steady-throttle operation to maximize fuel economy, as is the existing fashion. The XC40 is suspended with struts in front and a four-link arrangement with coil springs and an anti-roll bar in the back. The R-Design gets firmer springs and dampers, with mono-tube shocks in back. Volvo’s Four Corner adaptive suspension are heading to be offered as a choice sometime during the XC40’s first year. A drive-mode switch adjusts steering effort, transmission control, throttle response and AWD bias in pre-set increments or according to personal preference. The largest wheels offered from the factory measure 20 inches in diameter.
Inside, designers focused on maximizing space. There are no speakers in the doors, for example. They’ve been moved to the dash or pillars, with the space they could potentially have occupied filled by expanded, lined door bins. There’s a removable trash bin in the console, a drawer under the driver’s seat, slots for cards and phones, bag hooks in the passenger footwell for takeout and Volvo’s first wireless charge pad. The control interface is centered on Volvo’s vertically-oriented, large-tablet-size Sensus touch screen, with comparatively couple mechanical switches. The XC40 is a Volvo (boxy, but good), so it comes standard with nearly the full range of safety features offered in more expensive Volvos. These start with Run-Off-Road Mitigation, which is intended to hold the XC40 from leaving the roadway, or to minimize the associated vertical loads and spinal injuries if it does leave the roadway. It includes deformable, energy-absorbing structure in the seat bottoms. The standard features include City Safety with Large Animal, Cyclist and Pedestrian Detection and Automatic Emergency Braking, lane departure protection and Driver Alert intervention. Volvo’s remaining safety systems-including a 360-degree camera and Cross Traffic Alert with brake support-are optional.
The XC40 may also be the first car you can loan to a friend without sharing the key. The Car Sharing selection functions through the Volvo app and allows the owner to leave the XC40 at a station or in a parking garage for someone else to use, for as long as the owner determines. The app keeps track of the XC40’s spot and miles are driven. XC40 production has started at the Volvo factory in Ghent, Belgium. Demos will attain U.S. dealerships in March, with sales starting in the second quarter of 2018. At $36,195, including the $995 spot charge, the XC40 T5 AWD Momentum comes standard with LED headlights, a digital gauge cluster, leather seats, power tailgate, 18-inch wheels and four years of Volvo on Call telematics. In addition to suspension tuning and appearance spiffs, the $37,700 R-Design adds a power passenger seat, auto-dimming mirror, onboard navigation, and a hands-free tailgate,
An XC40 T4 ($33,200) need to get there by summer with 185 horsepower and front-wheel drive. The only other 40 series variant Volvo has confirmed is a battery-electric version, no further particulars on what or when. Given the point of the CMA architecture, we can possibly expect a couple a ton much more. Then there is Volvo’s new subscription service, which starts with the launch of the XC40 and initially applies only to this car. It’s no accident that Care by Volvo begins with a car geared toward a generation that built subscription services like Netflix, Spotify, and the iPhone Upgrade Program a way of existence. Care by Volvo customers get the XC40 T5 AWD for 15,000 miles a year, all maintenance and perishables like wiper blades and tires, full concierge guidance and full insurance coverage from Liberty Mutual with a $500 deductible for one monthly fee–$600 for an optioned Momentum, $700 for an R-Design-with an opportunity to change cars after a year. Customers make the deal online, but choose delivery within two days to a week at a dealership, depending on the place (Volvo has wisely tried to maintain dealerships in the loop, through guidance and maintenance). Volvo has set aside separate inventory for the Care program and takes most of the risk, which includes the impact a flood of subscription returns may have on resale values or new XC40 demand. Volvo implies the primary driver behind Care is the convenience, as opposed to value, but the value does not appear horribly out of whack. A standard three-year, 15,000-mile Momentum lease will run about $410 per month with the down payment amortized. So a standard lessee has $190 per month to pay for insurance and maintenance to beat the Care by Volvo price. However it sells its cars, Volvo has gone from one of the oldest lineups among luxury brands to one of the youngest in the span of two years (thank you, parent Geely). With the launch of the XC40, it has three global vehicles that cover the spectrum of booming luxury SUV sales. The biggest gripe after a couple hours in the XC40’s driver’s seat could are Volvo’s designated drive location. Meandering roads along Spain’s Mediterranean coast can be exhilarating if traffic is light, but they’re not nearly as good as a pound across I-80 through the Pennsylvania Wilds in the dead of winter-at least not when it comes to evaluating ride quality, build quality or driver fatigue. Short of such brutalization, nothing about the XC40 feels lightweight or tinny, and it’s quick (blindingly so to someone whose introduction to Volvo was an ‘80s-era 200 series). The 2.0-liter T5 also powers the big ol’ XC90, lest we forget. In the XC40 it’s almost mighty. There’s an abundance of grunt for the daily grind, and enough rev strength to make a manual-shift rush down a lightly traveled two-lane worth the trouble. The T5 is one of the stronger 2.0Ts probably, and who doesn’t make a 2.0T these days? Where others can underwhelm thanks to occasional palpitations or rough edges, the T5 is just strong, smooth and quieter than numerous.
The XC40’s Aisin-built eight-speed automatic settles mid-pack, in shift control and operation. It’s reasonably effectively sorted when it comes to response and gear choice, but a bit lumpier than the best torque-converter automatics during aggressive downshifting or quite quick deceleration. Nevertheless, the XC40’s torque-to-weight ratio and generally rapid response more than make up for any mildly annoying transmission behavior. The steering is generally light, but not in over-boosted, low-feel style. Sports mode decreases the boost a bit, without the jerkiness you may perhaps experience in another Volvos, but it’s always solid and direct, and it centers itself effectively. Plug that into the XC40’s compact footprint, with a fairly high seating position, and you’re left with a vehicle that’s light, nimble, and indeed perfectly suited for working in crowded cities. The firmer suspension calibrations in the XC40 R-Design manage its reasonably tall mass and body sway nicely. I Can’t speak to how substantially softer the Momentum trim might be, because Volvo did not offer one, but the R-Design is so agreeably sorted that it may effectively leave you wondering why anybody requires the late-arriving adaptive suspension–at least on pretty smooth roads. The evaluation may possibly change in Brooklyn or Columbus.
The XC40 is essentially a front-drive crossover, with a transverse engine and transaxle and a great deal of mass forward of the front axle, and it’s no surprise that it wants to understeer a bit when it’s pushed. That applies during a rather gradual build-up of lateral load, or with overaggressive braking and transform in, and throttle-induced bursts of rear-wheel torque don’t do substantially about it. The XC40 won’t be very well suited for a drifting competition, but it’s hard to believe anyone will care. It’s pleasantly deft and solidly predictable. And now, you no longer need a Tesla Model S, a Mercedes S Class or several other ultra-expensive land barges to experience the joy of Level 2 autonomy. The Pilot Assist semi-autonomous system introduced last year on larger Volvos is optional on the XC40, and within certain, narrow confines it makes this little SUV/crossover thing fully autonomous. It will preserve traffic spacing and manage speed over a broad range, all the way to a stop, and it will track through gentle bends in the freeway without driver input. The XC40 won’t change lanes by simply activating the left convert signal, as the S-Class will, and its autonomous steering presents up sooner than that in a Benz (with plenty of warning to the driver). But it surely will get a great deal of LA drivers through a ton of their daily commute though they shop for new work clothes on their phones. Just saying.
The XC40s interior is pragmatic but not boring or anything like austere. Finish quality is as good as anything in this class, and like the outside, the inside appears to be like fresh. I’d like much harder buttons for the fan, airflow direction and temperature, say-but Volvo’s Sensus interface is fairly easy to get a grip on (much more so, presumably, for people who grew up manipulating smartphones and tablets). At least as importantly, there is much more useful space here than in some competitors, and especially rear head and legroom compared to a Q3 or GLA. The removable trash bin and folding rear load floor might be gimmicks in some fashion, but they’re legitimately useful, however. The load floor can be triangulated to limit the movement of objects placed in the back, or tiered to boost floor space, and the cargo blind/parcel shelf can store underneath the load floor so you don’t have to leave it if you want to consider it out. The XC40 really will make a good urban car, based on the interior space extracted from its quite small footprint, its maneuverability, and its park-ability. However nothing about it appears insubstantial or cheap, and it will consider you in the countryside with comfortable aplomb and reasonable alacrity, without leaving the engagement that goes with a good driver behind. Let’s go out on a limb here. The new XC40 beats its German competitors by most objective measures unless maybe you need the power of a CLA45 AMG or you have a Teutonic Cross tattooed on your backside. It has more space and a ton a lot more power for the money. It’s a well-finished, versatile automotive appliance that won’t bore anyone’s pants off. Hard to think of a reason this one isn’t a winner unless the target demographic thinks Volvos belong to their parents’ boxy-but-good world.