Volvo XC40 (2018-present)

Individual and high tech: the Volvo XC40 is a Generation Z SUV

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Modern design
Long list of safety features
Comfortable and well-equipped

Weaknesses 

Engines less efficient than rivals'
Premium price
Smartphone features are optional

The automotive world has its own Generation Z: a wave of upstarts featuring fresh ideas and new technology with style.

Known as either premium crossovers or compact sport utility vehicles (SUVs), they are no longer than a family car, but taller and packed with luxury touches.

One of the first was the Range Rover Evoque, with razor-sharp design and a business class interior. There’s also the BMW X1, Mercedes GLA, Audi Q3 and the new Jaguar E-Pace.

Now there's the Volvo XC40, with a chunky, funky look that’s meant to appeal to younger buyers. Options such as a contrasting roof colours add character too.

Inside looks high-tech, with a 9in touchscreen in the centre of the dashboard. It’s easy to use and clear but still fiddly on the move; the rotary dial used by Mercedes, BMW and Audi is better. Sat-nav is standard but Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which allow simpler control of phone apps is an optional extra - not very Gen. Z.

Despite its youthful pitch, the XC40 is still a Volvo, so there are practical storage and stowage options, including drawers under the front seats and door pockets big enough to store large bottles and a laptop.

Quality of materials and their fit is close to the high standards of Audi and BMW. The seats are comfortable and there’s plenty of room in the front and rear for adults (legroom in the back is particularly impressive). The boot is 460 litres in size, which is below average, but it’s flexible thanks to folding floor panels and an underfloor storage area.

All of the available engines offer enough power for everyday use, and there’s a high-performance petrol engine too. Fuel economy is slightly less impressive than in the Audi Q3 and BMW X1 but that should change with the arrival of hybrid and electric versions soon. Four wheel drive is an option.

The XC40 isn’t as responsive and nimble in corners as the X1 but it's not designed to be. It’s predictable - so you can turn the steering wheel and know exactly where the car will be pointed - as well as comfortable and stable, leaving everyone onboard pretty much unruffled whatever road conditions the XC40 has to tackle.

Airbags and strong crash structures are just the start of the safety features. The XC40 can detect potential frontal collisions with other cars, pedestrians, cyclists and large animals - like horses. Active steering to keep you in your lane is standard.

An optional Pilot Assist package gives the car the ability to virtually drive itself on the motorways and in traffic jams, but it’s not foolproof, so you need to keep alert and your hands on the wheel.

Volvo’s safety record is excellent but the XC40 has not yet been independently tested by Euro NCAP. There are two sets of Isofix mounts for child seats in the back.

Prices for the car are in line with what other upmarket rivals charge: new list prices start at more than £27,000, which could also buy a high-specification Peugeot 3008 or Volkswagen Tiguan, as well as a seven-seat Skoda Kodiaq. Demand for the Volvo means that used prices are unlikely to offer many savings at the moment.

You’ve also got another option: to take out the car with Volvo’s new subscription service: Care by Volvo. A monthly fee includes insurance, maintenance and access to a different Volvo for 14 days a year. You’ll also get a concierge who can book your haircut but prices are hefty, starting at £799 a month.

 

Last Updated 

Wednesday, April 25, 2018 - 13:00

Key facts 

Warranty: 
3 years / 60,000 miles
Boot size: 
460 litres
Width: 
1863mm
Length: 
4425mm
Height: 
1652mm
Tax: 
£160-£500 in first year, £140 thereafter

Best Volvo XC40 for... 

Volvo XC40 Momentum D3 FWD manual
The D3 is the most economical engine: you can expect around 47mpg in normal driving. It's most efficient with entry-level 18in alloy wheels and a manual gearbox.
Volvo XC40 Momentum D3 FWD automatic
The cheapest Momentum trim comes with so much equipment, that you're better off getting this with the Xenium Package (panoramic sunroof, 360-degree parking camera and self-parking) than spending the money on a higher specification.
Volvo XC40 T5 R-Design AWD automatic
The largest petrol engine delivers 247 horsepower, for a 0-62mph acceleration time of just 6.5 seconds. R-Design trim looks sportiest.

Volvo XC40 History 

  • March 2018 The first Volvo XC40 models are delivered

Understanding Volvo XC40 car names 

  • XC40
  • Trim level
    Inscription
  • Engine
    D3
  • Driven wheels
    AWD
  • Gearbox
    Automatic
  • Trim level
    Four trim levels – Momentum, R-Design, Inscription and First Edition – offer different combinations of equipment at varying prices. There are also packs of equipment (labelled Pro) that add extra features.
  • Engine
    Diesel engines are labelled D and petrol models badged T. The number relates to power: the higher the number, the more power it has. It’s not much more scientific than that.
  • Driven wheels
    Standard XC40s send the power from the engine to their front wheels only. These are badged FWD for front-wheel drive. Four wheel drive cars are badged AWD - for all-wheel drive.
  • Gearbox
    Volvo keeps its gearbox labels simple: manual or automatic.

Volvo XC40 Engines 

Petrol: T3, T4, T5 Diesel: D3, D4

Volvo is still adding to the XC40’s engine line-up, with more efficient hybrid and electric models due to arrive later.

The most popular model, though, is powered by the D3 diesel engine. Performance is reasonable for a car that’s not designed to be sporty and it’s the most efficient model so far. You’ve got the option of an automatic or manual gearbox, and four-wheel drive.

Ignore the official, unrealistic fuel economy figures: you should expect around 47mpg in real-world driving, according to the Equa Index, which tests cars’ efficiency on public roads. This is around 4mpg lower than the most efficient BMW X1. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of between 127 and 148g/km, depending on the size of wheels and gearbox, also make company car tax slightly more expensive than for the BMW.

The D4 engine is substantially faster, accelerating from 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds - over 2sec faster than the D3, but fuel economy takes a hit, dropping to around 40mpg in normal driving. It only comes with an automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive (also known as all-wheel drive, or AWD).

Volvo’s T3 petrol engine is small and turbocharged, which is meant to deliver plenty of power and good fuel economy. It’s certainly nippy, with faster acceleration than the D3 model, but real-world fuel economy of around 35mpg is average at best, and below the official figure of up to 42.8mpg.

Four wheel drive comes as standard with the larger and more powerful T4 engine, and the combination will see your fuel economy drop to below 30mpg. The performance isn’t enormously different to the T3, though.

For speed, you’ll want to opt for the high-powered T5 motor, which accelerates from 0-62mph benchmark in a creditable 6.5 seconds. This will be a minority choice for buyers who can afford the higher price (it’s only available with the most expensive trim levels) and real-world fuel economy of just 28mpg.

The performance and fuel economy figures below vary according to wheel size and gearbox choice.

 

Fuel

Official fuel economy

Power

Acceleration (0-62mph)

Top speed

D3 FWD

diesel

55.4-58.9mpg

150hp

9.8-10.2sec

124mph

D3 AWD

diesel

51.4-55.4mpg

150hp

10.2-10.4sec

124mph

D4 AWD

diesel

55.4-56.5mpg

190hp

7.9sec

130mph

T3 FWD

petrol

42.2-42.8mpg

156hp

9.4sec

124mph

T4 AWD

petrol

39.8-40.9mpg

190hp

8.5sec

130mph

T5 AWD

petrol

39.2-39.8mpg

247hp

6.5sec

140mph

Volvo XC40 Trims 

Momentum, R-Design, Inscription, First Edition

You might feel fairly satisfied with entry-level Momentum models, which include plenty of equipment, including 18in alloy wheels, LED headlights, a 9in central touchscreen with sat-nav and traffic updates, plus another 12.3in screen in front of the driver, displaying a digital speedometer.

There’s also two-zone climate control, cruise control and the various standard safety features including automatic emergency braking that can identify pedestrians, cyclists and large animals, as well as cars. Active steering is also included, which will steer the car automatically if it’s drifting out of its lane.

Bluetooth, for wirelessly connecting a phone, is included but Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which display your phone apps on the dashboard screen, are optional.

Each trim level also has a Pro package of extra features, which for Momentum includes an electrically-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, heated windscreen and auto-folding door mirrors.

R-Design adds a range of sporty styling upgrades, which include a black roof, high-gloss grille and lower bumper, and dual exhaust pipes. The interior gains part-leather seats, black headlining and perforated leather steering wheel and gear lever.

R-Design Pro also adds 20in alloy wheels, electrically-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats and heated windscreen.

Inscription, is meant to be more luxurious than R-Design, so adds to the entry level Momentium specification with leather-faced seats, a motorised bootlid, an electrically-adjustable driver’s seat with memory function, front parking sensors and interior wood panels. Automatic cars gain a crystal gear lever and there’s extra chrome, as well as metallic paint on the outside.

Inscription Pro adds 19in alloy wheels, electrically-adjustable front passenger seat, heated front seats and heated windscreen.

A First Edition trim, available for a limited time, is based on the R-Design specification, and comes with several option packs, which can also be added to other models.

These include a Xenium Pack (which includes a powered glass tilt and slide sunroof, self-parking system and 360º surround-view parking camera), as well as an Intellisafe Pro Pack (which includes Pilot Assist semi-autonomous drive technology, which can accelerate, brake and steer on motorways and in traffic jams).

Volvo XC40 Reliability and warranty 

The XC40 is too new to appear in current reliability surveys but the performance of other Volvos bodes well.

The company is ranked as the fifth most reliable manufacturer in the 2018 Auto Express Driver Power survey, with only ten per cent of owners having any sort of issue with a new car.

Volvo’s warranty covers the first three years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first, which isn’t the best in the premium market, let alone the market overall where the Kia Sportage’s seven-year warranty leads the way.

Used Volvo XC40 

At time of writing, the XC40 has only just gone on sale, so it will be a while before used examples, even demonstrators with delivery mileage, come on to the market.

When second-hand cars do filter on to the market, however, they are likely to be snapped up and there might not be a huge number of bargains available for buyers.