Used Volvo XC40 (Mk1, 2018-date) review

Our full used buyer’s guide on the Volvo XC40 SUV (2018-date)

Verdict

When Volvo introduced its first SUV, the XC90, it seriously under-estimated demand, and the same was true with the original XC60. The company did it again with the XC40, which scooped a slew of awards as soon as it emerged, including our Small Premium SUV of the Year, as well as European Car of the Year in 2018. Back then we said: “The XC40 is loaded with all the latest safety kit, has a wonderful, tech-laden interior and is available with a wide spread of engines.” The XC40 still impresses for all of these reasons, but it’s crucial that you pin down the right engine and spec for your needs if you’re to get the most out of XC40 ownership, so consider all options carefully.

For many years Volvo wanted to be premium, but its cars weren’t quite good enough to compete with rivals. Then in 2010 the Swedish brand was snapped up by Chinese company Geely, which went on to invest huge sums in making Volvos more desirable. 

Since Volvo arrived in 1927 it has built a reputation for safety and environmental responsibility, and the company has never lost sight of that. Volvo’s products now look great, are impressive dynamically, plus they’re easy to live with in terms of their ergonomics, practicality and reliability. Like all premium cars the XC40 isn’t a cheap option – think of it as reassuringly expensive.

Read on to learn all you need to know about this great small SUV when buying used.

Models covered

Volvo XC40 (2018-date) - A cool SUV that families will love. 

History

The XC40 arrived in February 2018, with a choice of 154bhp T3, 187bhp T4 and 246bhp T5 petrol engines, or there were 148bhp D3 and 187bhp D4 diesels. All were powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine apart from the T3, which featured a 1.5-litre three-cylinder unit. 

Range revisions in September 2019 saw a power boost for the T3, to 161bhp; at the same time extra colours were added as well as minor items of standard equipment. In February 2020 a 177bhp plug-in hybrid joined the range, called the T5 Twin Engine. Four months later Volvo added the 194bhp B4 and 246bhp B5 2.0-litre petrol-powered mild hybrids, along with a T4 plug-in hybrid. The most recent addition was in February 2021: the XC40 Recharge Pure Electric P8.

Which one should I buy?

There's a bewildering array of powertrains, but the electric model will probably rule itself out because of its high price. If you do lots of short journeys a plug-in hybrid will make sense, but we would happily recommend any petrol, diesel or mild-hybrid edition.

The entry-level Momentum comes with keyless go, cruise control, auto wipers and LED headlights, rear parking sensors, 18-inch alloys, dual-zone climate control, DAB radio and navigation. R-Design adds privacy glass and leather/Nubuck trim, while the Inscription features a powered tailgate, front parking sensors and a posher interior. In each case, Pro adds heating for the front seats, windscreen and washer nozzles, plus electric driver’s seat adjustment, bigger wheels and active (cornering) headlights.

Alternatives to the Volvo XC40

The compact premium SUV market is a crowded one, with Audi offering the Q2 and Q3, while you could also consider the BMW X1 or X2, or Mercedes’ GLA if you want something German. All of these models are very efficient and easy to live with, but they don’t have the Volvo’s panache. 

That’s also true of the Jaguar E-Pace, which shares much with the arguably more desirable Range Rover Evoque. Two less obvious alternatives are the DS 7 Crossback and Lexus UX. The DS plays the style card very heavily, while most examples of the Lexus are hybrids, so fuel economy is possibly quite impressive. We also suggest that you look at the MINI Countryman, which is stylish and good to drive.

What to look for

Towing

The XC40 won Best Family SUV in the 2018 Tow Car Awards. The D4 can pull 2,100kg; other models pull 1,500-2,000kg

Dampers

The optional Active Four-C chassis with adaptive dampers is worth having – it lets you tailor the suspension settings.

Glass

In the US, some XC40 owners have had a problem with their windscreens cracking, either through general use or as a result of stone chips.

Chassis

Many owners reckon ride quality is one of the XC40’s highlights, but some have problems with vibrations through the chassis/suspension.

Interior

The interior is a highlight, with its hi-tech yet user-friendly design, premium materials, and good practicality. There are plenty of cubby holes throughout, and interior space is impressive for what’s quite a small car. There’s space for four adults, although five will be a squeeze. Boot space is good at 460 litres (452 in the Recharge P8), or 1,336 litres with the seats down (1,328 in the Recharge P8).

Prices

You can buy a Volvo XC40 from as little as £9,699 on our sister site BuyaCar.

Running costs

All XC40s need servicing every 12 months or 18,000 miles, alternating between minor and major. Minor is essentially an oil change at £300; the cost of major varies. For diesels the spread is £455-£1,155; the fifth service is £990 and the 10th £1,155 because these include a cambelt change. Major petrol services cost £300-£685; the eighth is £1,445 due to a new cambelt. Some dealers offer cheaper service plans – TMS (tmsmotorgroup.co.uk) offers three services for £599 and five for £999.

Recalls

Volvo has recalled the XC40 seven times – first in August 2018 due to faulty back seat latches, and second three months later for an e-Call update. Two recalls came in March 2020 for a missing brake servo-securing nut and faulty AEB software. One XC40 was recalled in September 2020 for a poorly secured high-voltage battery, then in January 2021 came two recalls – one for a chafing wiring harness and the other for poorly secured brake servos.

Driver Power owner satisfaction

The XC40 was the only Volvo in this year’s Driver Power new car survey. It came eighth out of 75 cars, which follows on from 14th in 2020. Owners are impressed with most aspects of their XC40s, especially the seat comfort, practicality, interior design and quality, plus the safety levels. The low points relate to high running costs, poor value, disappointing fuel economy and poor connectivity.

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