BMW X1 and Mercedes GLA get a new competitor from Sweden

Volvo has been busy revamping its entire lineup. It has recently introduced an all-new XC60, and all-new S90, and an all-new V90. The next model on the list is the XC40 compact SUV that will reside at the bottom of Volvo’s SUV lineup and provide an entry-level and affordable option for those that don’t need the extra space afforded by the larger XC60 and XC90. The XC40 has been on the cards for a while, with spy shots surfacing as early as 2015 and Volvo has finally unveiled its competitor for the BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA.

Volvo’s first ever premium compact SUV, the new XC40 is also the company’s first model to be built on the company’s all-new CMA (Compact Modular Architecture) platform. Inspired by the bigger XC90 inside and out, the mini SUV features much of the advanced connectivity, entertainment, and safety technology Volvo’s latest vehicles. It is also powered by Volvo’s efficient Drive-E engines and is offered with front- or all-wheel drive. All told, it is indeed a more affordable proposition for drivers who need the higher ride of an SUV, but can do without the large exterior dimensions. Let’s see what it brings to the table in the review below

Continue reading to learn more about the Volvo XC40.

  • 2018 Volvo XC40
  • Year:
    2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Model:
  • Transmission:
    six-speed automatic
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    156
  • 0-60 time:
    6.5 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph
  • Price:
    30000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:
  • Overall:
    9.3/10

Official video

Exterior

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The XC40 boasts the company's latest design language, which debuted on the XC90 SUV some years ago

Not surprisingly, the XC40 boasts the company’s latest design language, which debuted on the XC90 SUV some years ago. The crossover’s front fascia looks a bit like a shrunken version of the XC90, mostly due to the headlamps with "Thor’s hammer" LED lights and the large grille in the middle. However, the bumper was reshaped so the XC40 gets its own unique look.

The two vehicles are further set apart on the sides. Obviously smaller, the XC40 also features less rugged looking side skirts and is a bit more stylish thanks to the big dent in the door sections. While the roof still sports that Volvo-specific, utilitarian look, the quarter windows become smaller toward the D-pillars, which give the XC40 a somewhat sportier appearance.

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Volvo designed a cleaner looking tailgate and moved the license plate recess into the bumper

Around back, the XC40 employs the same taillight design with the upper arm climbing up the pillars toward the roof spoiler. That’s a nice touch and does a good job at integrating the XC40 in the company’s current SUV line. But similarities with the bigger XC90 end here. For this crossover, Volvo designed a cleaner looking tailgate and moved the license plate recess into the bumper. The bumper itself is almost featureless, with only the thin lip at the bottom and the red light strips disturbing the black apron.

Overall, the XC40 is quite appealing to look at. And while it’s not as muscular as the Mercedes-Benz GLA, it’s not as boring as the Audi Q3 either. I think it’s right, featuring the optimum amount of organic lines and angular shapes.

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Overall, the XC40 is quite appealing to look at

Moving over to equipment, the base Momentum trim comes with LED headlamps and 18-inch alloy wheels in white and black. Options include white roof and mirror caps, as well as larger wheels, up to 21 inches in size. Opt for the R-Design model and you get gloss black front grille and lower bumper sections, black roof and door mirrors, dual integrated exhaust pipes, and 18-inch diamond-cut wheels. Move higher in the lineup and the Inscription trim adds chrome exterior highlights for a more luxurious look.

Finally, there’s a higher spec Pro package that adds active bending headlamps with adaptive shadow technology that blocks out part of beam to avoid dazzling vehicles in front across the board. The R-Design Pro gets 20-inch alloy wheels, while Inscription Pro gets a bespoke set of 19-inch wheels.

Interior

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The 12.3-inch, digital instrument cluster is standard

Having seen Volvo’s latest interior designs, I was expecting the XC40 to get a pretty spectacular layout for this niche. And the Swedish carmaker didn’t disappoint. Once again, it’s based on the larger XC90, but everything is obviously smaller and there are a few unique touches.

While the dashboard isn’t as massive as the XC90’s, the center console is pretty wide and the center stack houses a big, tablet-like screen that measures nine inches. The slim, vertical A/C vents are a nice touch and go well with the center display and the trim on the passenger side dash. The 12.3-inch, digital instrument cluster is standard.

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Upgrade to the R-Design model and you get leather and nubuck upholstery

The base Momentum model doesn’t get fancy materials — the standard upholstery is textile and vinyl — but there’s a lot of standard equipment to talk about. The infotainment system comes with voice-activated control, sat-nav, and real-time traffic information, and you also get three USB sockets and the Volvo On Call smartphone app with emergency assistance. The latter automatically alerts emergency services if your car is involved in an accident, and uses the car’s inbuilt GPS to direct them to your precise location.

Upgrade to the R-Design model and you get leather and nubuck upholstery, front seat cushions, perforated leather steering wheel and gear knob, and aluminum dashboard inlays. The Inscription trim feature full leather upholstery and adds a power-operated tailgate, front parking sensors, powered driver’s seat, and driftwood inlays. Select the automatic transmission and you also get the Orrefors crystal gear lever seen in the XC90.

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An optional Xenium package is available across the range

Add the Pro package to the base trim and the XC40 gets a power driver seat, heated front seats, heated windscreen. The Incription Pro model receives a powered passenger seat.

An optional Xenium package is available across the range and brings a powered tilt and slide panoramic glass sunroof, a 360-degree surround view parking camera system, and Park Assist Pilot, which includes automatic parallel and 90- degree parking.

Other options include wireless mobile phone charging, Smartphone Integration -– which includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay -– and a Harman Kardon sound system that combines 13 speakers, advanced sound-processing software, and an output of 1,200 watts.

Drivetrain

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The gasoline lineup will include the T3, T4, and the T5 four-cylinder engines

It’s no longer a mystery that Volvo is replacing every single engine with its new line of 2.0-liter, four-cylinder powerplants. Introduced in the XC90 and spread to the S90 and V90, among other offerings, the four-bangers have found their way into the XC40 as well.

Globally, the gasoline lineup will include the T3, which rated at 156 horsepower, the T4 that’s good for 190 horses, and the T5, rated at a healthy 247 horsepower. The base engine is available exclusively with front-wheel drive, while the T4 and T5 feature an AWD system and an automatic gearbox.

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Other powertrains will be offered later in the XC40's lifecycle

Two diesel are also offered. The D3 is rated at 150 horsepower, while the D4 cranks out 190 horses. The entry-level oil burner is available with either front- or all-while drive, while the D4 is an AWD model only. Of course, the latter is also fitted with the automatic transmission as standard.

Volvo says that other powertrains will be offered later in the XC40’s lifecycle. Fingers crossed that the powerful T8 hybrid is also on the list.

Full specs aren’t yet available, but the Swedish company did say that the R-Design model features a sports suspension. In the U.S., the XC40 will debut with the T5 and AWD system only, but a T4 model with front-wheel drive will be added in the summer of 2018.

Prices

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Pricing for the XC40 will start from $33,200, for which you will get the Momentum trim with the T4 drivetrain. Opt for the T5 with all-wheel drive and the sticker jumps to $35,200.

In the United Kingdom, the gasoline range begins from £27,905 for the T3 model with FWD and manual and goes up to £40,355 for the T5 AWD First Edition with the automatic gearbox. The diesel range starts from £28,965 for the D3 FWD with the manual transmission, but the range-topping, D4 AWD First Edition with the automatic will set you back £39,305 before options.

But by far the most interesting detail about purchasing a new XC40 is Volvo’s new "Care by Volvo" program. Described as an all-inclusive, negotiation-free option that will be offered alongside traditional purchase and lease choices, "Care by Volvo" is a new kind of leasing with a national, flat-rate monthly fee, combined with the opportunity to upgrade to a new car as early as 12 months. The program includes almost everything needed to own and operate a car such as maintenance, insurance, wear and tear items, and protection services. According to Volvo, it makes owning a car as easy as buying a mobile phone.

Safety

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Volvos have always been at the forefront of their respective segments in terms of safety, and the XC40 is no exception from this rule. On top of the usual suite of airbags for front and rear passengers, it’s also equipped with City Safety, an automatic emergency braking system that can detect pedestrians, cyclists, and large animals, and Oncoming Lane Mitigation, which warns if you move out of your lane and provides steering assistance if you do.

The XC40 can also be equipped with Pilot Assist, Volvo’s semi-autonomous drive feature. The system assists with the steering at speeds of up to 80 mph and takes care of the acceleration and braking to keep the car within lane markings and at the desired speed or distance from any vehicle in front.

Competition

BMW X1

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2016 BMW X1 High Resolution Exterior
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Redesigned for the 2016 model year, the X1 is one of the most popular crossovers in this niche. And that’s not surprising, as the German mini SUV combines the sporty looks of the X family with the modern looks of BMW cars and a range of powerful, yet fuel efficient drivetrains. While the European market gets a wide selection of 1.5-liter three-cylinder and 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines working on either gasoline or diesel, U.S. consumers are restricted to only the range-topping model. Specifically, the North American X1 comes with a twin-turbo four-banger rated at 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque under the hood, which provides a 0-to-60 mph sprint of 6.3 seconds and a top speed of 130 mph. Pricing starts from $33,900.

Read our full review of the BMW X1.

Mercedes-Benz GLA

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2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA High Resolution Exterior
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The GLA is the youngest nameplate in this comparison, having been launch in 2013. Essentially a perched-up A-Class, the GLA is came as Merc’s answer to the all popular X1. Much like the Bimmer, the GLA is available with a wider range of power plants in Europe, where the 1.6-liter and 2.0-liter gasoline engine are joined by 1.5-liter and 2.1-liter diesels. However, only the GLA 250 is offered in the U.S. (outside the AMG-prepped model, that is!), sporting a 2.0-liter four-banger rated at 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of twist. Both front-wheel and all-wheel-drive versions are available. Pricing starts from $33,400.

Read our full review of the Mercedes-Benz GLA.

Audi Q3

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The Audi Q3 is one of the company’s newest nameplates and arrives in a few flavors in the U.S., with the key competitor to the XC40 being the base model. In this trim, the Q3 comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that pumps out 200 horses and 207 pound-feet of torque. This engine delivers power to the front wheels as standard, and gets the small SUV to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds. Upgrading to Quattro all-wheel-drive pushes the sprint time closer to eight seconds. Audi typically runs about the same pricing scheme as Volvo, which may be to the XC40’s advantage given the extra standard features. The Q3 retails from $32,900 in its base trim, while the Premium Plus model goes for $35,800.

Read our full review of the Audi Q3.

Conclusion

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The compact luxury SUV realm just keeps on growing, but the addition of the XC40 seems more like hitting a key niche as opposed to making sure it keeps up with its competitors. With the XC90 the XC60 in place, a perched hatchback like the XC40 was the logical next step. And with the success of the XC90 still recent, now is the time for Volvo to strike in this segment. If sales of the XC90 are any indication, the new XC40 won’t steal many customers from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi anytime soon, but its exterior design, interior styling, and rich technology package provide a fresh proposition in a market that doesn’t offer any surprises. Now, if only Volvo would commit to creating a Polestar version to take on the RS Q3 and the GLA45 AMG.

  • Leave it
    • * No Polestar model caught testing yet
    • * Does the world need more lifted all-wheel-drive hatchbacks?

References

Volvo XC60

2018 Volvo XC60 High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the Volvo XC60.

Volvo XC90

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Read our full review on the Volvo XC90.

Update History

Updated 02/22/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming XC40 out for a new testing session, this time during cold winter conditions somewhere in Sweeden.

Updated 10/22/2015: Our spy photographers caught the first mule of the future XC40 out for a testing session. The XC40 will be among the first cars to be built on the company’s new CMA platform and comes to attack smaller SUVs from Audi and BMW.

Updated 10/14/2015: In a recent interview with Automotive News, Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson confirmed that the company’s new compact SUV will be unveiled sometime in 2018. The model will be developed on the company’s new compact modular architecture (CMA) that will also be used for the next generation V40 and V40 Cross Country starting 2019.

Updated 02/23/2015: British magazine AutoCar had the chance to talk with Volvo’s CEO Hakan Samuelsson and learned a series of new details on the upcoming XC40. Continue reading to find out when will you be able to drive the new crossover.

Spy Shots

May 23, 2017 - Volvo XC40 Caught in the Wild Yet Again

February 22, 2017 - Volvo XC40 Caught Testing Once Again

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October 22, 2015 - first Volvo XC40 mule caught testing

Press release

Volvo Cars introduces the XC40 SUV, setting a new benchmark for design, technology and safety in the compact SUV market. Award winning technology from the 90 and 60 series cars are standard in the XC40, including safety innovations rarely offered among competitors. The Volvo XC40 will be among the safest, well-equipped compact SUVs available. At launch, the T5 all-wheel drive Momentum trim will start at $35,200. In summer 2018, a T4 front wheel drive will be introduced starting at $33,200.

2018 Volvo XC40 High Resolution Exterior Interior
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The new XC40 represents Volvo’s third SUV and is focused on a new expression of Scandinavian design. The XC40 is the smallest SUV offered by Volvo, preceded by Volvo’s largest SUV, the XC90, which is the most awarded luxury SUV of the century. The mid-sized XC60 is arriving at US retailers now and has been positively received. With the introduction of the XC40, Volvo completes its SUV range and offers three of the newest vehicles in their respective segments.

“The XC40 is our first entry in the small SUV segment, broadening the appeal of the Volvo brand and moving it in a new direction,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive. “It represents a fresh, creative and distinctive new member of the Volvo line-up.”

The XC40’s bold exterior is available with a range of body colors and color-contrast roof, providing up to 17 combinations. In the front, Volvo’s signature Thor’s hammer daytime running lights compliment a new interpretation of Volvo’s grill. The XC40 has a strong, structured profile for a youthful expression. Large wheels, wheel arches and an 8.3” ride height provide a true SUV feeling.

2018 Volvo XC40 High Resolution Exterior Interior
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With a clever use of space and interior materials, the XC40 introduces a bold rendition of Scandinavian design and functionality. An available panoramic sunroof allows natural light into the cabin and at night, integrated LED mood lighting can be color adjusted to match the mood or temperature the driver desires. This lighting, combined with unique metal and textile materials, creates a feeling of creativity, energy and youthfulness.

Volvo conducted extensive global research into how compact SUVs are used and discovered proper storage is essential. With ample interior space for both passengers and storage, smart daily-use features such as large door pockets, integrated bag hooks and a customizable cargo area help organize the driver’s life while in the car. Wireless QI mobile phone charging and Bluetooth connectivity with the standard 9” Sensus Connect touchscreen helps reduce the clutter of charging cables and connectors. A dedicated cell phone storage space frees up cup holders and other areas commonly used by customers to store their phone. The development of a unique air-ventilated woofer located behind the dashboard allows for more storage in the door panels without sacrificing stereo sound in the cabin.

Connectivity is core to the XC40, featuring 4 years of Volvo On Call as standard and the ability to share the car with trusted friends and family via a mobile phone app. Applications such as Spotify, Pandora and Yelp are available via the center touch screen, as well as Volvo’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

With standard City Safety, which includes pedestrian, cyclist, vehicle and large animal detection with emergency autobrake, the XC40 is one of the best-equipped small premium SUVs on the market. Safety and driver assistance features on the XC40 include Pilot Assist, Run-off Road protection and mitigation, Cross Traffic alert with brake support and the 360° Camera that helps drivers maneuver their car into tight parking spaces.

Volvo Cars is inventing a new model of car access with the launch of the new Volvo XC40 called “Care by Volvo.” Care by Volvo is an all-inclusive, negotiation-free option that will be offered alongside traditional purchase and lease choices. This will make having a car as transparent, easy and hassle free as having a phone: a national, flat-rate monthly fee, combined with the opportunity to upgrade to a new car as early as 12 months. Care by Volvo in the United States includes almost everything needed to own and operate a car such as maintenance, insurance, wear and tear items and protection services.

The new XC40 is the first model on Volvo Cars’ new Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), which will underpin all other upcoming cars in the 40 Series including fully electrified vehicles.

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From start of production, the XC40 will be available with a T5 four-cylinder Drive-E powertrain with all-wheel drive. Further powertrain options, including a hybridized as well as a pure electric version, will be added later.

Production of the new XC40 starts in Volvo Cars’ plant in Ghent, Belgium in November, while order books will open today. Details regarding Care by Volvo will be released at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November.

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