Overview

New Volvo XC40 - exterior

Overview (Final Score: A)

The XC40 is the newest in Volvo's lineup of crossovers, taking its place as a compact beneath the larger XC60. The other two XC models from Volvo, the XC60 and XC90, are selling extremely well thanks to their great looks, strong interior packaging, and high safety ratings. The 2019 Volvo XC40 hopes to capture those same points but in a more compact package for today's fastest-growing vehicle segment.

The 2019 XC40 is a compact luxury crossover that captures the popular looks of the larger Volvo models and keeps their interior excellence while adding a few nuances of its own. Several smart, little things in the cabin are a tribute to the kind of attention to ergonomic detail that Volvo is known for while fuel economy and safety ratings are also strong points. As per the Volvo expectation.

Volvo has done very well with the little XC40 and we're impressed. The 2019 XC40 is a compact luxury crossover that seats up to five. There are three trim levels (Momentum, R-Design, Inscription) and two powertrains available for the XC40, each denoted by a T number (T4, T5). In addition, one of those powertrains (T4) is front-wheel drive, the other all-wheel drive.

What We Love About the 2019 Volvo XC40:


  • Wonderful exterior look and design

  • Excellent interior ergonomics and comfort

  • Solid fuel economy returns in both drivetrains


What We Don't Love About the 2019 Volvo XC40:


  • All-new model means guesswork on safety and reliability

  • Rear cargo not as large as some competitors

  • Forward crash mitigation is aggressively annoying


New Volvo XC40 - exterior

Exterior View (10/10)

The 2019 Volvo XC40 is a well-proportioned, good-looking compact crossover. With lines and proportions drawn from the larger XC models in Volvo's lineup, the XC40 does a good job of re-proportioning the beautiful design elements of those larger crossovers into a smaller package.

The front fascia holds the blacked mesh grille Volvo is known for, cut down the middle by a cross-wise angled chrome piece and Volvo marque at its center. The headlamps on the XC40 are thin and wide, flanking the grille on either side and flowing into the front fender to the one-third point of the wheel well behind and below. Fog lamp bezels and a lower intake create a clear bumper impression across the lower fascia and the hood is nearly flat with the grille's top edge, staying flat to the raked windscreen.

Edges on the hood, including the fender-creating bumps and stripes, are clear, clean lines that create a luxurious appeal. This matches the other clean lines in the lower bodywork and the crisp rear pillar rise.

All together, the design elements of the 2019 Volvo XC40 are packaged well into a strong, upscale look with good ground clearance and a very well done impression of excellence.

Interior Comfort, Quality, Ergonomics (9/10)

The interior of the 2019 Volvo XC40 combines the practical with the modern in a luxurious combination. The XC40 has excellent materials quality and pays a lot of attention to ergonomic details and storage.

The front seating in the crossover is well-done with the driver having a great array of adjustment options, making it easy to get comfortable and access controls. Most of the controls layout is similar to what's found in other Volvo vehicles, aiming for intuitive use rather than an abundance of gadgetry. A driver of any size should find accommodation in the Volvo XC40.

The front passenger is likewise treated to an array of adjustment and excellent headroom and legroom. Small touches like the "purse/case" hanger on the glovebox (also a good spot for a garbage bag on road trips), gadget storage in the console and bin, and plenty of door and console storage for other items are big pluses here.

New Volvo XC40 Inscription - interior

In the second row, things are still very good. The XC40 prioritizes rear seat passenger room over cargo space and it shows in that second row. Legroom and headroom are excellent in all three seating positions. The middle seat is cramped shoulder-wise, however, due to the XC40's size, but that can be said of any compact crossover on the market. Despite that, the XC40 is surprisingly accommodating in the back seat.

Parents will be happy to note that LATCH connectors in the rear seats are easy to access and use and the large adult-sized seat bottoms make installing a rear-facing seat a breeze. Cargo space in the 2019 XC40 is good for the class at 47.2 cubic feet with the rear seats down, but a bit lower than average at 20.7 cubes with the rear seats up. Still, that's usable cargo space and the liftgate is powered by default. The rear seats fold flat in a 60/40 split and have a ski pass-through.

Volvo buyers will also be happy with the abundance of USB ports in the XC40, even in its base trim.

Technology (9/10)

There's not much to fault in the 2019 Volvo XC40 on the technology front. As would be expected, a host of safety and driver's aids are available for the crossover. The XC40 comes with in-vehicle WiFi and a free trial to get used to it. Alongside that is a full and robust suite of basic applications and infotainment items, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. We also found that the XC40's voice controls are extremely useful and work very well, especially compared to some of the more finicky competition in that regard. Many of the menus can be skipped using the voice system or by using the Siri or Google voice prompts (hold the voice control button for about a second to get the beep to activate those).

The 9-inch infotainment screen is about the right size for the XC40 and is relatively easy to navigate. There is a learning curve for the menu system, we note, and it's not quite as intuitive as some others can be, but the voice control system and use of CarPlay/Auto help mitigate that. The base model XC40 comes with two USB ports up front and a 12-volt plug in front, near the back seat, and in the rear cargo area. Other models add more USB ports to the rear seating area.

Fuel Economy (9/10)

The compact luxury crossover class is only marginally known for fuel economy, with size and convenience being more common goals for vehicle designs. The 2019 Volvo XC40 offers good MPG returns for the class, with its base model receiving an EPA rating of 25 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. That's one of the best in the market.

The all-wheel drive T5 model is rated at 23 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. Our test of that model showed these to be close to reality with our overall average being 27 mpg in all. That's on par with the expectation and about average for a small luxury crossover with an upgraded engine and AWD.

New Volvo XC40 T5 plug-in hybrid

Predicted Reliability, Initial Quality Ratings (8/10)

There are currently no reliability ratings to go from for the 2019 Volvo XC40, but we can use the expectation of similar models and the brand as a whole. The Volvo brand has a strong reliability expectation and other XC models have done well in reliability testing by J.D. Power and Consumer Reports. Our scoring here reflects those expectations.

Safety (8/10)

We expect that the 2019 XC40 will do very well in safety testing, but neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have tested the Volvo XC40 for this model year. Thus our score must be kept lower until those results are published. As-is, though, the XC40 comes not only with Volvo's well-earned reputation for safety in all of its models, but a track record of safety for all crossover models that is sure to translate well for the XC40.

Standard safety equipment is also very robust, including automatic high-beam control, automatic wipers, Volvo On Call emergency communications, forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking. Other options include cornering lights, heated wiper blades, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts/braking, and a semi-automated parking system.

Performance (10/10)

The little 2019 XC40 has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that is turbocharged to output 187 horsepower in the T4 models. That power goes to the front wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. This is a peppy combination and the transmission is not hesitant to downshift or become aggressive when pressed, making the XC40 fun to drive.

The T5 model is powered by the same 2.0L turbo-four, but with a much stronger power output at 248 horsepower. The same eight-speed automatic is used, but includes a differential to add all-wheel drive. This combination is sporty and fun to drive in all weather conditions and on just about any road.

The XC40 offers an agile feel and a good road presence, with a quiet highway drive and a strong appeal for confidence. There are five driving modes in both the T4 and T5, allowing the driver to tailor expectations or adjust for weather conditions. We like the Dynamic mode for its tightening of the throttle and transmission responses and the Comfort mode for its smooth feel on the highway.

Off the road, the 2019 XC40 is capable of some light off-pavement going thanks to over 8 inches of ground clearance. It's not a serious off-road machine, though, but will keep up with most of those in its class. The XC40 does very well on dirt roads and shoddy pavement, we note.

Pricing and Value (8/10)

The 2019 Volvo XC40 is a bit pricier than its competition at the base level, but includes more in the package than many would. Most buyers are likely to find themselves happier in the sport-themed R-Design and the all-wheel drive T5 model. Alternatively, the XC40 T5 Momentum trim with added extras for driver's aids or comfort is a good choice with a price tag staying well under $40,000 with delivery. The top-end Inscription model is also worth considering in that case, however, as its $42,000 price point is not overly aggressive for the class.

New Volvo XC40 - exterior

Total Score and Competitive Comparison (71/80, 89%)

The 2019 Volvo XC40 does not lack for competitors in the compact luxury crossover class. Other great options include the BMW X1 and the Audi Q3, both of which are sporty, well-rounded options with plenty of good reasons to buy. The BMW has a smaller back seat and larger cargo space while the Audi has a layout similar to the Volvo, but with lower fuel economy and more sportiness. The Range Rover Evoque is another option, offering a beautiful package inside and out with plenty of luxury, but a price tag to match.

The 2019 XC40 hits a good niche point in the compact crossover class, gaining a lot of points for its well-rounded excellence and very appealing packaging. We like the XC40's interior, its wonderful curb appeal, and the strong sense of practicality it carries underneath its beauty. The XC40 may be setting a new standard for the luxury compact crossover class.

Trim Style Engine Drive Train MSRP
SUV - AWD
Momentum T5 AWD Momentum 4 Cylinder AWD 35700
R-Design T5 AWD R-Design 4 Cylinder AWD 38200
Inscription T5 AWD Inscription 4 Cylinder AWD 40250
SUV - FWD
Momentum T4 FWD Momentum 4 Cylinder FWD 33700
R-Design T4 FWD R-Design 4 Cylinder FWD 36200
Inscription T4 FWD Inscription 4 Cylinder FWD 38250

Comparison of 2019 Volvo XC40 with Similar Cars

2019 Volvo XC40 MSRP Invoice
2019 Volvo Xc40 $33,700 $31,678
Similar Cars to Consider MSRP Invoice Compare
2019 Ford Explorer $32,365 $31,394 2019 Volvo Xc40 VS 2019 Ford Explorer
2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee $32,195 $31,989 2019 Volvo Xc40 VS 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee
2019 Toyota 4runner $35,310 $32,486 2019 Volvo Xc40 VS 2019 Toyota 4runner
2019 Lincoln MKC $33,995 $32,465 2019 Volvo Xc40 VS 2019 Lincoln MKC
2019 Mazda CX-9 $32,280 $30,541 2019 Volvo Xc40 VS 2019 Mazda CX-9

Car Rankings

Interested to see how the 2019 Volvo XC40 ranks against similar cars in terms of key attributes? Here are the 2019 Volvo XC40 rankings for MPG, horsepower, torque, leg room, head room, shoulder room, hip room and so forth.

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