Ace of Base: 2019 Volvo XC40
When the majority of the buying public thinks of Volvo, three things generally come to mind: safety, boxy wagons, and professors in tweed sport coats with those weird elbow patches. This is understandable, given that the company made hay selling safe and boxy wagons to professors in tweed sport coats with weird elbow patches.
Volvo has long since de-weirded itself but still marches to a slightly different Swedish beat. It’s currently under the stewardship of a Chinese company that gives the brand enough leash to generally do its own thing. Starting at $35,200, the automaker’s least-expensive car, the XC40, should help bring new buyers to the brand. Let’s see how it stacks up in base form.
Despite its rap for hawking 240DL sedans and 760GLE wagons, Volvo is no stranger to the small(ish) car game. Your author is particularly partial to the C30 R-Design Polestar, a hatchback with a liftgate made entirely of glass and a heart made entirely of a 250 horsepower turbocharged inline-five.
The XC40 has a similar amount of power in its base model, 248 horses from a turbocharged inline-four, reportedly moving the thing to sixty in 6.1 seconds. No rocket, but neither is it a slouch. The EPA says it’ll even get 31 mpg on the highway.
For the price of a steak dinner or two over thirty-five large, buyers of the base XC40 trim – called the Momentum – will find goodies like a power liftgate, leather seats, plus an enormous 12.3-inch driver display and a 9.0-inch vertical touchscreen in the centre that wouldn’t look wholly out of place in a Tesla Model S.The usual cadre of power accessories and charging options are found here in the base model, although the passenger’s chair is manually adjusted.
Amazon Blue gives this little Volvo the appearance of a freshly calved iceberg. Snazzy metallic paints cost an annoying $595, a mark against the Ace of Base criteria, but at least the hues offered gratis include something interesting like this natty blue.
The XC40’s hatchback isn’t an all-glass affair like the cool and departed C30, but the whole package is tidy and likely checks all the boxes of shoppers in the small crossover segment. It is built on the company’s new GMA platform, which should spawn a whole range of 40-series cars. A small C40 sedan would be neat. A tidy V40 wagon would be even neater.
Inside the trucklet is an interior befitting that of a much more expensive car, especially when trimmed in the $0 Oxide Red Leather. Volvo requires XC40s so equipped to be painted Black Stone in color. Sadly, heated front seats and steering wheel are not standard equipment on this $35,200 machine, despite those features being standard equipment in the $18,895 Hyundai Accent.
I’m not wholly convinced this XC40 makes the cut, as the deletion of heated seats in a Scandinavian car is particularly egregious. Still, it’s a funky looking thing that will refuse to blend in at the curbside school pick-up line.
[Image: Volvo Cars]
Not every base model has aced it. The ones that have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments. Naturally, feel free to eviscerate our selections.
The model above is shown with American options and is priced in Freedom Dollars absent of any rebates or destination fees. As always, your dealer may sell for less.
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