In its second year, the Volvo XC40 refines an already great vehicle with small but welcomed additions.
In its second year, the XC40, Volvo’s smallest SUV offering, builds on a good thing by making only minor tweaks to its sterling sophomore installment. The XC40 continues to be both sporty and cozy with the AWD 252hp T5 engine still available and maintaining a well-appointed, luxury focused interior. Leather seats are now optional rather than standard on the base Momentum trim, but new features like power rear child locks, heated windshield wipers, and auto dimming rear view are welcomed additions. Curiously, power folding seats have been dropped from the 2020. Overall, the XC40 remains a compelling and affordable option among upscale sub-compact SUVs.
With either the 187hp T4 FWD or 252hp AWD T5, you’ll get decent acceleration out of the XC40. Both are turbocharged and mated to a smooth shifting eight-speed automatic transmission. The real stand out here isn’t the raw speed but rather the comfortable ride and agile driving dynamics of the XC40. And it’s here where the Volvo makes its best case against the rest of the luxury sub-compact segment. Almost as nimble as the BMW X1, the XC40 bites into corners with aplomb. The ride is also quite smooth with the suspension deftly smoothing out rough roads. While not as cossetted as the larger XC60 and XC90, the XC40’s seats were decently comfortable over longer stretches of driving.
In 2020 the XC40 continues Volvo’s traditional focus on safety with a long list of standard and optional safety features. Lane keep assistance, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, and collision avoidance are but a few of what’s on tap.
The high-style is still here with the option for “lava” orange carpeting in the Momentum and R-Design trims. The Inscription trim piles on the swank with driftwood trimmings and a crystal shift knob. We were a little disappointed to find that ours and other’s complaints about the double-tap shifter have gone unheeded. Maybe next year?
The infotainment comes on a 9-inch touchscreen and offers both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as well as satellite radio and 2 USB ports. You can still upgrade the sound system to the excellent 13-speaker Harman Kardon stereo while also adding navigation and wireless phone charging. Unfortunately, the user interface is still subpar with lots of sub-menus and a noticeable system lag.
The 2020 also adds the panoramic roof as a standard feature of the R-Design trim level. Along with the already large windows of the vertically accentuated XC40, the panoramic roof adds even more light to an already airy cabin. Space abounds in the XC40, which surprises considering the sub-compact billing. There’s a maximum 57.5 cu. ft. of cargo space which cuts down to a still respectable 20.7 cu. ft. with the rear seats in use. But that’s in addition to some of the cleverest stowage of any vehicle on the market. The XC40 comes with large door bins, a big center console with removeable garbage bin, and hooks in the glove compartment and trunk for bags. It also has a maximum towing capacity of 3,500lbs, considerable for a sub-compact.
The XC40 is still competitively priced, starting at $33,700, and matches up well against the likes of the BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA sub-compacts. A fine-tuned mixture of plush luxury and fun, comfortable driving make the 2020 XC40 a serious contender in the segment.