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In-depth reviews

Volvo XC40 review - Practicality, comfort and boot space

A well-judged amount of cabin space and some neat features to help maximise boot space make the XC40 more than practical enough

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Practicality, comfort and boot space Rating

4.2 out of 5

Price
£36,625 to £46,275
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The XC40 sits in a class where style and image have traditionally been more important than genuine space. But while the Volvo doesn’t deliver an aircraft hangar’s worth of room in the cabin, it manages to do enough to stand out from the crowd.

The XC40’s interior is neat, functional and, in its own way, very Swedish. If you’re absolutely set on having soft-touch fabrics and squishy plastic on the dashboard then you’ll probably judge it a disappointment, but the rest of us should find the interior a pretty special place to spend time. 

The dashboard features relatively few switches, which gives the cabin a clean, uncluttered look. Meanwhile the capacity of these door cubbies is huge, helped by Volvo’s decision to move the speakers out of their traditional area and arrange a sound system based around the top of the dashboard instead.

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There are plenty of simple, clever touches, too. You’ll find a folding hook integrated into the glovebox that is designed to help you make it home without spilling any of your chicken chow mein. The rather flimsy-looking lidded compartment between the front seats turns out to be a removable, washable bin. And there’s also the option of a wireless phone charging pad and USB port at the base of the centre console.

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A lengthy wheelbase helps with rear legroom, although the amount of headroom for back-seat passengers is equally impressive, even with the optional panoramic sunroof fitted. There’s plenty of room on board for four grown-ups, although a fifth adult may complain about the high transmission tunnel.

The boot isn’t the largest in the class, but the floor is commendably flat and there are some clever (optional) dividers that help to stop your shopping from rolling around when you’re on the move.

Size

The Volvo XC40 is 4,440mm long, 1,910mm wide (excluding side mirrors) and 1,652mm tall. That makes it a little shorter than the latest BMW X1 and the Audi Q3, but it’s wider and taller than both of those rivals.

Leg room, head room & passenger space

Expect the XC40 to provide a cavernous cabin and you’ll be disappointed. But what the Volvo does do is maximise the potential of what space is on offer.

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There’s plenty of space for two adults up front, and you’ll be able to fit a couple of grown-ups in the back seats easily too. The XC40 has a pretty long wheelbase, so they should be fine for legroom, and the amount of headroom for back-seat passengers is equally as impressive, even with the optional panoramic sunroof fitted.

Can you squeeze a third person into the rear seats? Yes, at a push. But there’s a transmission tunnel running down the middle of the floor, so they may complain about having to place their feet at either side of it.

Boot

The XC40 doesn’t boast the largest load bay in its class, but it’s easy to use what space is on offer there. That’s because the mild-hybrid version's 433-litre boot has an impressively flat floor, with no lip at the front edge, so it’s easy to slide heavier items in there. Even more importantly, the rear seats fold down completely flat, so you get a level load bay as well as 1,328 litres of space at your disposal.

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Customers won't be short of room if they opt for the plug-in hybrid or fully electric XC40 Recharge models, either. These cars include batteries that line the car’s spine, so cargo space is largely unaffected. In fact, the XC40 PHEV gets a 452-litre boot, but a slightly reduced 1,281 litres of space if you fold the rear seats down.

Meanwhile the electric XC40 offers 419 litres of boot space and up to 1,328 litres when the second row of seats are folded down. Due to the lack of an internal combustion engine, the electric XC40 also has an extra 30-litre 'frunk' under the bonnet that's ideal for your charging cables.

Spec the Convenience Pack and you’ll get a folding boot floor that can divide the space and stop your shopping from rolling around. The hinges even stand proud of the top edge of the resulting divider, giving you a few extra points from which to hang shopping bags.

Towing

Towing capacities for the XC40 vary depending on which version you go for. The entry-level mild-hybrid B3 has a 1,600kg maximum braked trailer weight, but buyers prioritising towing ability will be better served by the B4 version which has a 2,000kg limit. The T4 and T5 plug-in hybrids split the difference with their 1,800kg towing capacity, while the all-electric XC40 Single Motor and Twin Motor can haul to up to 1,500kg and 1,800kg respectively.

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News reporter

As our news reporter, Ellis is responsible for covering everything new and exciting in the motoring world, from quirky quadricycles to luxury MPVs. He was previously the content editor for DrivingElectric and won the Newspress Automotive Journalist Rising Star award in 2022.

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