2019 Volvo XC40 T4 Review - The Crossover That Made Me Love Crossovers

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn
Fast Facts

2019 Volvo XC40 T4 FWD Momentum

2.0-liter turbocharged inline four (187 hp @ 4,700 rpm, 221 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm)
Eight-speed automatic transmission, front-wheel drive
23 city / 33 highway / 27 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)
29.4 (observed mileage, MPG)
Base Price: $34,195 US
As Tested: $37,965 US
Prices include $995 destination charge in the United States.
No Canadian pricing/mileage as FWD/T4 engine package not available in Canada.

I get it. No real enthusiast should like crossovers. They’re tall, handle poorly, slurp gas, and aren’t as space efficient as the cars upon which they’re based. They aren’t a true sport-utility vehicles, either, as their on road-focused designs can’t handle rough terrain.

I used to be like you. I’m a car lover, and always will be, but the market has spoken, and it seems that most new vehicles coming our way will be high-riding wagons of some sort. So it’s time to get on board.

The 2019 Volvo XC40 T4 might be the tipping point for me. It’s not perfect — few cars are — but it works so incredibly well for its mission, moving people and stuff in style. That it is reasonably priced and has truly excellent fuel economy are merely bonuses.

I love it when automakers send cars that aren’t fully loaded. I have to believe that this front-wheel-drive XC40, equipped with the 187 hp T4 engine (rather than the 252 hp T5 engine that comes standard on the all-wheel drive version) is more representative of what many buyers will select — especially those stretching their budgets toward a luxury European brand. For those buyers, often the perceived style and cachet of the brand might outweigh any value added by power and AWD.

The kids noticed a lack of dome light in the rear — they struggled finding their seat belt latches at night. Otherwise, the rear seats were impressively comfortable, even for a long trip. Smaller luxury crossovers don’t always have enough knee room for my growing tweens, meaning dad gets the occasional impromptu, unwanted lumbar massage. Not so in the XC40.

My wife hated the seat adjuster on the passenger side. While the driver gets power adjustments, the seatback tilt function on the passenger seat is of the twist knob variety. When the lower cushion is adjusted where she needs it for her long legs, twisting the knob is an exercise in repeatedly mashing one’s hand against the B-pillar.

Take a look at that upward sweep of the C-pillar. That is a wide expanse of metal that could easily be glass. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my vision over the shoulders wasn’t compromised. I figured I’d have a massive blind spot, and I was wrong. The greenhouse is airy, allowing great views at all corners.

The XC40 is an incredible highway cruiser, which is something I rarely say about any small crossover. Typically, a crossover’s short wheelbase and high center of gravity yields uneasy driving manners at interstate speeds. The XC40, even in this relatively base trim, drives without drama on the slab. I had to drive late one night to and from Cincinnati in some unpleasant storms and it handled the crosswinds and sleet like a much larger vehicle. I never felt a need to switch the optional active chassis settings out of the ECO setting for comfort — and I don’t see myself needing the Sport setting in any driving situation I might find myself when wheeling a crossover.

[Get new and used Volvo XC40 pricing here!]

Honestly, the premium one pays for a luxury brand such as this isn’t as overwhelming as it used to be. This lightly-equipped XC40 T4, with the Multimedia Package, heated front seats and steering wheel, active chassis, and metallic paint, stickers at just under $38k. Adding all-wheel drive, which nets the more powerful engine, puts a similarly-optioned XC40 T5 AWD at $40,465 delivered. It’s not a stretch to configure the class-leading Toyota RAV4 to a similar price, whether front or all-wheel drive, optioned similarly.

Like I said, I’m surprised at how much I like this Volvo XC40. I’d be quite happy living with this Belgian-built beauty.

[Images: © 2019 Chris Tonn/TTAC]

Chris Tonn
Chris Tonn

Some enthusiasts say they were born with gasoline in their veins. Chris Tonn, on the other hand, had rust flakes in his eyes nearly since birth. Living in salty Ohio and being hopelessly addicted to vintage British and Japanese steel will do that to you. His work has appeared in eBay Motors, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars, Reader's Digest, AutoGuide, Family Handyman, and Jalopnik. He is a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, and he's currently looking for the safety glasses he just set down somewhere.

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3 of 102 comments
  • Cimarron typeR Cimarron typeR on Jan 29, 2019

    Yeah, I'm thinking there are better options. I'd seriously look into a CX9, CX5 2.5t twins, an RDX or qx50.Both compete in the same segment with likely better resale and reliability. I have never compared Volvo to the big 3 Germans. When Genesis releases their line, I'll drop Volvo further down the list. I shopped this segment recently and ended up in a Disco Sport and have been mostly satisfied, it rides rougher but handles fairly well.Only one callback for a sticky bypass valve resulting in occasional CEL.There are better driving /owning cars but I've never owned a British car and the Loire Blue over Tan leather is fetching.I get 25mpg mixed on 91 octane.I didn't pay a whole lot more than this Volvo would cost. LR deals on these, not the pricier luxury models.

    • Scooter81890 Scooter81890 on Jun 13, 2019

      Six months later, are you still mostly happy with your Disco? My wife will be trading her X3 soon and I was looking at the Disco,the Volvos, the Acura RDX, and the soon to arrive Hyundai Palisade...I have to admit, British reliability is weighing against the Disco but I am keeping an open mind.

  • Scooter81890 Scooter81890 on Jun 13, 2019

    I like it! It has a certain style that some of these smaller crossovers lack and it can be configured to be decently priced for a "premium" marque. Finally, while I realize Volvo is no longer the only car company emphasizing the importance of safety, I still believe it to make cars much safer than most. Who can put a value on that?

  • Namesakeone Since I include SUVs and minivans as trucks, I really cannot think of a brand that is truly truckless. MG maybe?
  • Sobhuza Trooper Subaru, they were almost there with the BRAT. --On a lighter note, where the hell is my Cooper Works Mini truck?
  • Mike Evs do suck, though. I mean, they really do.
  • Steve Biro I don’t care what brand but it needs to be a compact two-door with an ICE, traditional parallel hybrid or both. A manual transmission option would be nice but I don’t expect it - especially with a hybrid. Don’t show me an EV.
  • ToolGuy Lose a couple of cylinders, put the rest in a straight line and add a couple of turbos. Trust me.