By on September 21, 2017

Volvo XC40 - exterior

Volvo’s Compact Modular Architecture is turning out to be a little sexier than one might have imagined. With the arrival of the XC40 we were expecting something akin to a baby X90, but we ended up getting a better-looking Range Rover Evoque. It’s certainly reminiscent of its bigger brothers, yet possesses an individual sense of style that Volvo claims will make its way into other models using the CMA platform.

All of this style is likely to come at the expensive of rearward visibility. We haven’t sat behind the wheel of a XC40 but we can already tell you that bulky C-pillar is probably going to get in the way from time to time. That said, it looks so good that it’s difficult to truly fault it — especially when the small SUV is fitted with a black or white contrasting roof.

Offsetting the chic styling is a modest amount of plastic cladding along the bottom of the vehicle. This ought to provide some necessary protection for urban owners forced to park close to banged-up models with drivers less inclined to appreciate the XC40’s unibody beauty. 

Dimensions are about what you’d expect from a lifted hatchback. At 174 inches long, the Volvo is roughly the same length as a Mercedes-Benz GLA but a litter thicker in the middle. Its 73.3 inches of girth makes it a little wider than most of its competition in the growing premium compact crossover category  — the Range Rover Evoque and Lexus NX being exceptions.

Height is more small SUV than compact crossover, too. The 65-inch roofline will have owners towering above standard sedans, which is probably what most shoppers are looking for. Overall, it’s a couple inches more squat than the XC60, about 10 inches shorter, and 1.5 inches narrower. The overall wheelbase for the XC40 is 106.3 inches, which is about half a foot less than its larger Swedish sibling. 


While it doesn’t share its dimensions with the other XC units from Volvo, it packs in a lot of their features — and a few of its own. The XC40 can come equipped with Volvo Cars’ Pilot Assist system, City Safety, Run-off Road protection and mitigation, cross traffic alerts, and a 360-degree camera with park assist. But Volvo has added upgraded brake assist to cross traffic and the lane keeping system will pull you back to the right side of the road if the car thinks you might run headlong into oncoming traffic.

For North America, there will be two versions of the XC40 available at launch with two distinctive trim levels — the entry-level Momentum and upscale R-Sport. There’s also a forthcoming premium trim called Inscription, but its roof receives the body color treatment and is therefore a waste of money. 


The all-wheel-drive XC40 T5 gets a 250-horsepower turbocharged inline-four with 258 lb-ft of torque, while the front-drive T4 receives a slightly less powerful version of the same engine. Volvo didn’t say, but we’ll hazard a guess of around 200 hp with torque in a similar numeric neighborhood. Volvo is also planning a plug-in hybrid variant and a fully electric model for the future.

Momentum trimmed models come standard with 19-inch wheels and an optional white roof with white alloys. The R-Sport swaps the two-tone color scheme for an optional black roof, with a black grille, unique exterior trim pieces, gussied-up interior, and 20-inch wheels as standard. Volvo’s long 9.0-inch infotainment screen will be standard across the range and the same goes for its foot-and-a-half-wide TFT active-display instrument panel.


Interior design appears serviceable and stylish from the photos and, according to the manufacturer, can be outfitted with a premium sound system, inductive device charging, loads of insane colors, unique metal trim, and other things you might want to splurge on. A power-assisted rear tailgate and power-folding rear seats are standard, however.

At first glance, the XC40 looks like a winner. Especially when you compare available powertrains, standard features, and the price of its competition. Entry-level Momentum trim models of the T4 and T5 will be priced at $33,200 and $35,200, respectively. A base-model BMW X1 will run you $33,900, whereas the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class starts around $33,400.

Like Lynk & Co’s upcoming 01 (which is also owned by Geely and uses the same CMA platform), Volvo says you can lease the XC40 using its “Care by Volvo subscription service.” The automaker claims it makes the car easier to own than a cell phone and allows for easy sharing of the crossover with friends and family using digital key technology. Regardless of how you want to go about the ownership experience, both the T4 and T5 should be here by next summer.






[Images: Volvo Cars]

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20 Comments on “Volvo XC40: Swedish Style and Substance in a Small SUV...”

  • avatar

    Given that this a segment that car enthusiasts hate, Volvo has actually come up with a strong contender.

    Looks like they are being built in Belgium, for now. No idea if this will get added to the SC plant, but doing overseas delivery for an XC40 would be a blast.

    The only thing I’m bummed about is no T8 option.

  • avatar

    I predict this will be a hit. Also can we all just appreciate how well the door, hood, and A pillar come together?

  • avatar


    • 0 avatar

      So what you are saying is that:

      – Jaguar is an Indian automaker
      – Land Rover is an Indian automaker
      – Rolls Royce is a German automaker
      – Bentley is a German automaker
      – Mini is a Germany automaker
      – Lamborghini is a German automaker
      – Saab was an American automaker
      – Chrysler is an Italian automaker
      – Dodge is an Italian automaker
      – Jeep is an Italian automaker
      – Ram is an Italian automaker

      What’s more, we can get even more nitpicky. Lots of car companies have foreign investors. Kuwait owns a part of Daimler. Does that mean we should consider Mercedes to be a Kuwaiti brand?

      • 0 avatar

        Go easy on Asdf. He was once held captive in the trunk of an S60 for six weeks with nothing to eat but rancid Almond Guy Ding.

      • 0 avatar

        At least those countries you list have a reputation for quality and ethics. Unlike China.

        • 0 avatar

          Did you read the part about India?

          I’ve actually owned a vehicle made in India. Broke down during the first tank of gas.

          Besides, it’s not like Volvo has closed up shop in Sweden.

          Bottom line: show me a decline in Volvo safety and I’ll concede your point. In the meantime, think about how many parts in our cars are made in China, and how much the Chinese are subsidizing our national debt.

          • 0 avatar

            I agree with and well said Garrett. Give us all a break, world with ‘Volvo is Chinese.’ Just be glad we’ll retire before learning Mandarin becomes vital in some jobs in the US.

    • 0 avatar

      Did you realize that your caps lock key was on?

      Just checking.

  • avatar

    I like it except for the c-pillar. And the lift gate needs a little extra something. Otherwise good job and I hope the wood trim from senior Volvos is available.

  • avatar

    Okay yes, but I’d MUCH RATHER HAVE THE V40!

  • avatar

    Very nice design. I had no idea this thing was coming. The price is a bit much for me, however. Oh well, I’m sure it’ll get snapped up by lots of mommies that want a small, premium utility vehicle. Then maybe in a couple of years it’ll be more in my price range.

    • 0 avatar

      Most angles are good, but the back side on view is not great. Waiting to next summer seems a long time. Also the pricing is too high. They should undercut Audi, BMW etc as Volvo is not held in the same regard as the Germans or Lexus.

  • avatar

    “we were expecting something akin to a baby X90”

    I don’t think it’s possible to make an X90 any more baby.

    That said, I quite like this, it’s like the Kona and the old GLK, it’s what a crossover should be, even though it’s bizarrely Renegade-influenced. Read elsewhere that some trims have a map of Gothenburg printed somewhere in the interior, which you can’t really say is just coincidental.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Looks terrific. But I’m *very* interested in the 40.2 concept:

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