Normally, a good-looking vehicle will not be a very practical one. There are old adages, now outdated, regarding this sort of thing in terms of relationships as well. With the 2019 Volvo XC40, though, the adage is what’s outdated. You can have your cake and eat it too, as it were, with this great-looking and very functional crossover.

Quick Specs & Info

2019 Volvo XC40 Class: Compact Luxury Crossover-SUV
Base Model As Tested: T5 Inscription
Powertrain 2.0L t4, 8spd auto Powertrain 2.0L t4, 8spd auto
Base MSRP $33,700 MSRP as tested $45,835

Overview

The 2019 Volvo XC40 is a compact luxury crossover that has many similarities in terms of looks and ergonomics to its larger counterparts in the Volvo stable. The XC60 and award-winning XC90 inspired the excellence that’s behind the XC40, in fact, with the elements chosen for inspiration being all of the good ones.

The XC40 has beautiful looks, being one of the more pleasing options in the segment. Inside, it’s luxurious without being ostentatious, with a focus on comfort, ergonomics, and simple aesthetics. Roominess is key in the little XC40, as is daily usability. Both high points here.

Volvo also put a lot of thought into safety. Probably not a surprise there, but it pays off very well for the 2019 XC40. Fuel efficiency is also good in this crossover.

The 2019 Volvo XC40 is impressive and receives high praise for its all around goodness.

Trim Packages

The 2019 Volvo XC40 is a compact luxury crossover with seating for up to five. There are three trim levels and two powertrains. Trims have names, powertrains have letter-number combinations. All three trim points are available with either powertrain, so we begin with those.

  • T4 – The front-wheel drive option for the XC40, the T4 is powered by a 187-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine and eight-speed automatic transmission.
  • T5 – The all-wheel drive version of the XC40, the T5 has the same turbo-four boosted to output 248 horsepower.
  • Momentum – The base model for the XC40, the Momentum comes with 18-inch wheels, LED headlamps, automatic high-beam control, roof rails, automatic wipers, a power liftgate, automatic climate control, keyless entry/ignition, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, and 60/40 split-fold rear seating. Leather upholstery and ambient lighting are also included, as are three USB ports, a 9-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a WiFi hotspot, and eight-speaker audio. A rearview camera, lane departure warning/mitigation, forward collision warning with automated braking, and Volvo On Call are also standard. An upgrade package for the Momentum adds navigation and a better audio system.
  • R-Design – The sporty package for the XC40, the R-Design upgrades with 19-inch wheels, a more sport-tuned suspension, LED fog lamps, a black roof for a two-tone appearance, and black exterior trim details. Inside, dual-zone climate, a cooled glovebox, shift paddles on the steering wheel, extendable thigh cushions for the front seats, a power passenger seat, faux suede inserts for the leather upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, more ambient lighting, and navigation are added. A Harmon Kardon stereo upgrade is available.
  • Inscription – The most luxurious option for the XC40, the Inscription package adds to the Momentum with unique wheels, a panoramic sunroof, chrome roof rails, wood trim, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a full suite of LED lighting. A power passenger seat, dual-zone climate, cooled glovebox, and upgraded ambient lighting and navigation are also added. A Harmon Kardon stereo upgrade is available.
  • Each trim level has package additions that can bring more to them. The Premium package adds driver convenience items such as heated wiper blades and adaptive cruise control. The Vision package adds power-folding external mirrors and more driver safety aids like blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alerts/braking.
  • Standalone features can be added to any XC40 to include a panoramic sunroof, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, 20-inch wheels, and adaptive suspension dampers.

Exterior and Interior Design

The 2019 Volvo XC40 has a well-proportioned look with design elements drawn from the larger XC models in the Volvo lineup. The front fascia’s blacked mesh grille, the thin and wide headlamps, and the flowing front fenders are hallmark’s of Volvo’s current design language. The 2:1 flow of the hood versus bodywork on the XC40 does well for its look, as does the emphasized rear pillar and smooth bodywork.

Inside, the practical meets the luxurious with a splash of elegance. The design motif is wonderfully Swede, with high materials quality and smart details to accent the well-done ergonomics of the cabin.

Seating in the first and second rows is very good, with plenty of comfort for four and enough room to add another when required. Child safety anchors are easy to find and use and cargo is plentiful at 47.2 cubic feet with the rear seats down (20.7 with them up).

Driving the 2019 XC40

The upgraded 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that comes with the AWD model (T5) of the XC40 is an excellent little goer with plenty of umph and a lot of confidence. We imagine the lower-end engine is peppy because the higher-output engine is downright sporty in this little crossover.

It’s also quiet and smooth, while the XC40 itself has balanced drive dynamics and a lot of maneuverability. Outward visibility is also very good, despite the impression those large rear pillars might give. In addition, the XC40 has more than 8 inch of ground clearance, making light offroad an option as well.

Fuel economy is good in the 2019 Volvo XC40, with the EPA rating the AWD model at 23 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. We averaged 27 mpg overall, which is on par with that expectation.

Competition

There are more than a few competitors in the fast-growing luxury compact sport utility class. The XC40 is pitted against the BMW X1, the Audi Q3, and the Lexus NX. Against those, the Volvo does very well for itself thanks to its well-rounded nature and attention to detail.

The BMW X1 is more cramped than in the XC40, but adds more drive to the dynamic. The Audi Q3 is similar to the Volvo in size, but has lower fuel economy because it emphasizes sport. The Lexus NX offers an excellent interior experience, but not much cargo space and a jumpy drive quality.

Strong Points

  • Wonderful look with a great design for the exterior.
  • Excellent interior in design, ergonomics, and comfort.
  • Solid fuel economy that translates well in the real world.

Weaknesses

  • Reliability is unknown as the XC40 is an all-new model.
  • Cargo smaller than some but at least on par with the average.
  • Crash mitigation aggressive and sometimes annoying.

Conclusions

The 2019 Volvo XC40 hits a sweet spot for the luxury compact crossover segment. It’s well-rounded, very appealing, and a great everyday drive. With its great curb appeal, excellent interior, and strong sense of practicality without losing sight of luxury, the XC40 will do well.

Test Period Length and Limitations
The XC40 was a manufacturer’s press loan for about a week. During that time, a total of 280 miles were put on the vehicle under varied conditions and passenger loads.

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An automotive enthusiast for most of his adult life, Aaron has worked in and around the industry in many ways. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP), the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), and freelances as a writer and journalist around the Web and in print. You can find his portfolio at AaronOnAutos.com.

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