Volvo XC40 review
The Volvo XC40 is a comfortable and stylish small SUV that has some pleasing practical touches and a lot of Swedish cool
The Volvo XC40 is a strong contender in the market for small premium SUVs. It’s not a revelation on the road, but it strikes a decent blend of comfort and cruising refinement, and offers lots of kerb appeal in a small-car package.
Add in a funky, minimalist cabin, along with a capable infotainment system and Volvo's traditional focus on safety, and it's hard not to see the attraction of the XC40 as one of the most accomplished compact SUVs on the market.
About the Volvo XC40
Introduced in 2017, the Volvo XC40 is a compact premium SUV that majors on practicality and comfort while offering bold styling that helps set it apart from its more conservative rivals. Its great safety rating and suite of available active safety systems will appeal to customers, too.
The XC40 slots into the Volvo SUV range below the XC60 and XC90, is offered with the mild-hybrid ‘B’ engines from its bigger siblings, plus plug-in hybrid and fully electric powertrains, too. To help distinguish them from their pure combustion-engined siblings, all fully electric or plug-in hybrid Volvo models fall under the manufacturer's 'Recharge' naming banner.
Competition is fierce in this small premium SUV sector, with rivals including the BMW X1 and X2 duo, along with JLR's Jaguar E-Pace and Range Rover Evoque offering solid competition. Buyers will also be interested in the Audi Q2 and Q3, Mini Countryman and the Alfa Romeo Tonale, which just edged the XC40 in our recent head-to-head twin test.
The range kicks off with a B3-badged mild-hybrid petrol, followed by the more powerful B4 version, both of which are front-wheel drive and use an eight-speed automatic as standard.
Car group tests
- Alfa Romeo Tonale vs Volvo XC40: 2023 twin test review
- Volvo XC40 vs Jaguar E-Pace: 2022 twin test review
- BMW iX3 vs Hyundai Ioniq 5 vs Volvo XC40 Recharge: 2021 group test review
- Volvo XC40 Recharge Plus: long-term test review
- Volvo XC40 Recharge T5 R-Design: long-term test review
The Recharge T4 and Recharge T5 plug-in hybrids also stick to front-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox, while Volvo also offers two all-electric options: a Single Motor version with a 290-mile range, plus a Twin Motor variant with 402bhp and 334-mile range.
The 247bhp four-cylinder B5 is no longer available, and neither are the D3 or D4 diesels. Volvo previously offered a basic Start trim with a lower-powered 1.5-litre T2 petrol engine to create a more affordable entry-level model, but this has been discontinued as well.
At launch the XC40 was offered in Momentum, R-Design and Inscription specifications, but it's now available in Core, Plus and Ultimate trim, which offer lots of kit as standard. The Core model is well catered for, although there is a significant starting price of around £36,000. For that you get 18-inch wheels, rear parking sensors, a powered tailgate, auto-folding door mirrors, cruise control, dual-zone climate control, heated seats, a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel and nine-inch touchscreen, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity.
Plus trim adds extra kit such as a rear-view camera, keyless entry, a hands-free opening tailgate and a heating function for the outer rear seats, steering wheel and the windscreen. Ultimate is the plushest XC40, bringing a 12-speaker Harman Kardon stereo system, panoramic sunroof, adaptive Pixel LED headlights and a 360-degree camera view.
For an alternative review of the Volvo XC40, visit our sister site carbuyer.co.uk...
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe Volvo XC40 is a comfortable and stylish small SUV that has some pleasing practical touches and a lot of Swedish cool
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe XC40 majors on comfort and refinement instead of driving entertainment, and it does so rather well
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsPure petrol power offers average fuel economy, while the XC40 Recharge plug-in hybrid and pure-electric models will attract business users
- 4Interior, design and technologyBags of Swedish cool, with a clean, uncluttered design that still manages to incorporate some useful practical touches
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceA well-judged amount of cabin space and some neat features to help maximise boot space make the XC40 more than practical enough
- 6Reliability and SafetyProven engines should help to keep the XC40 reliable, while there's bags of top-notch Volvo safety kit on board, too