Volvo’s rounding out its crossover lineup with the addition of its smallest member to date: the all-new 2019 Volvo XC40. This diminutive sibling retains the brand’s DNA, but stronger, youth-focused styling sets it apart a bit from the XC60 and XC90. Power comes from a 2.0-liter turbo making 248 horsepower. However, a less powerful, less expensive variant with 187 horsepower will be out this summer.
The company’s turning toward a younger demographic with the XC40. With bolder styling, a 9.0-inch touchscreen, all the latest technology, and ample storage space, the XC40 makes a strong case for itself. Volvo flew us out to Austin, Texas to test the all-new XC40. Here’s everything you need to know:
10) This isn’t just a scaled down XC60
Since the XC90’s redesign for the 2015 model year, Volvo has undergone something of a design renaissance. Their largest car has handsome, elegant styling, and the XC60’s design language takes that formula and scales it down for the midsize crowd.
For the 2019 Volvo XC40, however, the designers took more of a clean sheet approach. While its lineage is unmistakable next to its larger cousins, the XC40’s design language is more expressive than its larger forebears. Volvo’s smallest crossover has more angular design, particularly in its clamshell hood and more aggressively angled grille, as well as more intersecting lines. The XC40 also sports a presently-fashionable floating roof design and distinctively raised C-pillar, giving it a more athletic appearance than its larger, more classically-designed stablemates.
9) Despite its size, there’s storage space everywhere
Naturally, by virtue of its name, the XC40 is Volvo’s smallest crossover to date. However, that doesn’t mean the company can’t take further steps in either direction on size. The 2019 Volvo XC40 is the first model to employ the marque’s “Compact Modular Architecture” (CMA). The new platform shares powertrains, infotainment, and safety systems with the larger Scalable Product Architecture used in the XC60 and XC90.
What’s remarkable about new XC40 is just how it makes use of its size. There are so many different areas for storage that it’s hard to imagine just how you might fill them all. Volvo took the speakers and subwoofers out of the doors (more on that in a minute), and there’s ample, convenient storage space throughout the cabin. There are huge pockets in the doors, under-seat storage on the driver’s side and a commodious center console. I even found a special shelf in the glove box just for the owner’s manual, so it doesn’t take up so much space.
8) The XC40 is the new kid on the block
The company’s intention with the 2019 Volvo XC40 was to float a more youthful, athletic appearance to attract younger buyers. By way of its dynamism, both in its design language and performance, they’re trying to pull in buyers who never would have originally considered buying a Volvo.
By pitching their hat in the compact crossover ring, Volvo faces stiff competition. Chief among the XC40’s rivals are the BMW X1, Audi Q3, and Mercedes-Benz GLA. That being said, the Volvo comes out swinging with a competitive price and enough standard technology to give its German adversaries something to think about.
7) Technophiles will feel right at home
Speaking of technology, the 2019 Volvo XC40 won’t leave its buyers wanting. All models come standard with a 12.3-inch infotainment display (9″ usable via the Sensus Connect touchscreen), as well as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support. You also get 4G LTE connectivity with a built in Wi-Fi hotspot, as well as Volvo On Call, a mobile app that lets you lock and remote start the car, as well as access emergency assistance.
Those wanting to go further up the technology tree can spend $1,400 for the Premium Package. That adds wireless charging, a hands-free power tailgate, Volvo’s semi-autonomous Pilot Assist, dual-zone automatic climate control, and power folding rear backrests and headrests.
6) Harman/Kardon brings the bass
In the 2019 Volvo XC40, an eight-speaker, 250W stereo system comes standard. “Not that impressive”, you might think. Well, there is a better option. For $1,375 on the Momentum trim (or $800 on R-Design), you can upgrade to a 600W, 13-speaker Harman/Kardon audio system with fresh air subwoofers.
Volvo has moved the woofers and subwoofers under the dash. The subwoofer’s port is coupled outside the cabin, and the cabin itself is treated as a giant enclosure. Basically, that’s allowed Harman/Kardon to fit more powerful speakers in less space than a conventional unit, making for much better sound in a relatively small package. I didn’t hear any distortion even when cranking the volume to the max, and there’s plenty of low-end punch.
5) Volvo is still making safety a priority
The 2019 Volvo XC40 comes loaded with technology, as you’d expect from the brand. Standard equipment includes City Safety – an umbrella term for collision mitigation assistance with automatic braking for pedestrians, cyclists, large animals, and oncoming traffic.
There’s also Lane Keep Assist as well as “Run-off Road Protection and Mitigation”, which detects a situation where you’re about to run off the road. In those scenarios, it will either take evasive maneuvers on its own, or, if its unavoidable, hold you in your seat as tight as possible to prevent serious injury. That’s to say nothing of the 2019 Volvo XC40’s occupants being cocooned in airbags.
As part of the $995 safety package, you can also get a 360-degree camera system, as well as LED fog lights and headlights and a headlight cleaning system.
4) The XC40 is the final piece to Volvo’s (immediate) future
Let’s face it, the crossover segment has exploded in recent years. Volvo has noticed that, so it behooves them to expand their footprint into the compact luxury crossover market. By “compact”, the XC40 competes against the smallest luxury crossovers out there, as opposed to its larger XC60 compatriot, which Volvo deems a “midsize” crossover. Not only is it important to cover as much ground as possible, but also to adapt quickly to changing technological trends.
By way of Volvo’s Compact Modular Architecture, which includes its powertrains, Volvo is poised to cease selling pure gasoline-powered cars by next year. The 2019 Volvo XC40 brings that vision full circle, as these new powertrains are designed with electrification in mind.
3) Starting from just over $34,000
The 2019 Volvo XC40 comes in three trim levels. There’s the entry-level Momentum, the sporty R-Design, and the top-spec, recently-announced Inscription. You can also buy the XC40 in two powertrain levels as well. On the lower end, there’s the less expensive, front-wheel drive T4 models. Topping the range are the more powerful, all-wheel drive T5 versions that we tested in Texas.
When they are available, the T4 Momentum will start at $34,195. The T4 R-Design, featuring 19-inch wheels, a sport chassis and a host of aesthetic changes, starts at $36,995. Stepping up to a T5 model on either trim level adds $2,000 to the overall price tag. As Volvo just announced the Inscription trim level, no price information is available at time of writing.
If purchasing doesn’t suit you, the company is also rolling out “Care by Volvo”, a subscription-based service where you pay an all-inclusive flat-fee for an XC40 model, starting at $600/month (more information on that coming soon!)
2) The XC40 is a hoot to drive
In all-wheel drive T5 form, the 2019 Volvo XC40’s turbocharged, 2.0-liter engine pumps out 248 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The car was a blast to toss around narrow back roads. It felt solid and the ride was firm, yet supple for long highway cruises. The R-Design, especially, held on well thanks to its sportier setup and Pirelli Scorpion Zero tires.
As a younger, more spirited driver, the R-Design feels more controllable with less body roll than the softer, more comfortable Momentum. Both cars have multiple drive modes, albeit accessing them is done through a small, obscurely-placed button below the infotainment screen. When you get there, you have the option of Eco, Comfort, Dynamic, and Off-Road modes. You can also select “Individual”, and tune the setup to your preferences.
The T4 models have the same 2.0-liter engine with a different turbocharger. It’s less powerful, making 187 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque. Despite that, Volvo’s claiming the T4 is less than a second slower to 60 than the more powerful T5. And while the company recently announced a 1.5-liter engine for the 2019 Volvo XC40, that unit will not be coming to the U.S. market.
1)When can you buy the 2019 Volvo XC40?
2019 Volvo XC40 demonstrators should hit showrooms next month. Shortly after that, T5 model XC40s will start rolling out to Volvo dealers nationwide. If you’re in the market for the less expensive T4, you’ll have to wait until summer to get your hands on one.