2019 Volvo XC40 (Swedish Ingenuity in a Small Package)

The 2019 XC40 makes it three SUVs for Volvo.

Volvo Cars makes a name for itself as it overhauls its product line. We have seen new sedans, wagons and SUVs launch over the past few years as the company takes full advantage of its new modular platform to update and expand its model line.

One of Volvo’s newest models is the 2019 XC40, a compact luxury SUV. This one seats five and is available in Momentum ($35,200), R-Design ($37,700) and Inscription ($39,750) trims. Add $995 for the destination charge.

It comes with standard front-wheel drive, available all-wheel drive and boosted engines with an automatic transmission.

The XC40 also offers the company’s first subscription plan, taking elements of leasing and adding insurance, maintenance and other services for one flat monthly rate. Essentially, all you have to do is pay for the fuel separately. Yes, you can still buy an XC40, but now you can also subscribe to one.

2019 Volvo XC40 Review

Exterior Highlights

2019 Volvo XC40 R-Design

Volvo’s design is modern, yet it has heritage cues, including a bold grille marked by the Volvo insignia. The available LED headlights with Thor’s hammer daytime running lights add an elegant, yet whimsical touch to the front end.

Strong shoulders, a beltline that suddenly rises at the rear roof pillar and massive tail lamps are other styling characteristics of note found with this compact SUV.

Standard equipment includes LED headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, and a power liftgate. Options include LED fog lights, a heated windshield, 19-inch wheels, a sport chassis, a black contrast roof, a panoramic moonroof and dual exhaust pipes.

Interior Highlights

2019 Volvo XC40 R-Design

On paper, you can fit five inside, but four is more like it. The interior is open and bright, with high-quality materials and superb fit and finish evident.

My test model had aluminum decorative inlays, which offered an elegant touch. It also had the available lava interior carpeting, which delivered a strong, if not overpowering contrast to the darker materials used throughout the cabin.

It is a feature you will probably love or hate — I fall into the latter category as it seemed like a throwback to the 1970s. Cue ABBA, please!

2019 Volvo XC40 R-Design

The seats are always a strong suit with Volvo. The front seats come sculpted, are very supportive and were designed to minimize fatigue. The rear seats are also comfortable and supply average legroom for most adults.

Standard features include full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescopic steering column, leather upholstery, a power driver’s seat with lumbar support, and automatic climate control.

Options include Nappa leather, a power front passenger seat, dual-zone climate control, driftwood inlays, a hidden storage compartment under the driver’s seat, and a power-folding rear seat.

Safety & Technology

2019 Volvo XC40 R-Design

Volvo has made great strides in technology, rolling out an all-new Sensus interface that is simply lightyears better than the one it replaced. Previously, Volvo supplied an interface with more than two dozen switches and knobs, creating more difficulty, confusion and even distraction than necessary.

The new system comes arranged much like a tablet with four main categories on the front “page” and other commands reachable via swipes.

Standard equipment includes an audio package with HD Radio, satellite radio, Bluetooth, and smartphone integration (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto). On the optional equipment list, you will find navigation, a wireless charging pad, and a 13-speaker Harman Kardon audio system. Volvo also includes a pair of USB ports.

On the safety front, Volvo is working toward a day when no one will be seriously killed or injured by a new Volvo vehicle. That is a tall order, somewhat akin to a moonshot, but something the company is adamant in achieving. Volvo expects to reach its goal in two years, thus we will continue to witness a wider and deeper rollout of autonomous technologies to make this happen.

Among standard safety features, you will find a rearview camera, hill start assist, and hill descent control. Package options bring in automatic bending LED headlights, a blind spot information system, park assist pilot with front and rear park sensors, a surround-view camera, and Pilot Assist with adaptive cruise control.

This last package supplies semi-autonomous driving, whereby the XC40 delivers steering input at various times while driving.

Performance Matters

2019 Volvo XC40 R-DesignVolvo brought the 2019 XC40 to the market this spring with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive to kick things off. Front-wheel drive will follow and we are likely to see at least one additional powertrain choice, probably a plug-in hybrid electric arrangement.

As for the model at hand, the turbo is well suited for it. Yes, there is some initial lag, but once the turbo spools up, this SUV moves forward with authority. It is not an especially quiet engine, but there is an ample kick at the ready.

Steering is light to the touch and this SUV’s handling supplies a tight turning radius. The ride is fairly comfortable, although with shorter space between the wheels, it does not acquit itself as well as the larger models. But then, this one is easy to park and may appeal especially to city dwellers or to commuters.

This particular all-wheel-drive model makes an EPA-estimated 23 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. It does not have a tow rating, at least not yet.

Subscribe to a Volvo

There is a new term in the automotive financing lexicon and that is “subscribing.” Financing and leasing have long been popular, but they are no longer the only choice when acquiring a new vehicle.

Volvo’s subscription program rolled out with the introduction of the XC40 and is open to people with outstanding credit. The way the program works is that consumers can shop for an XC40 online, build it the way they want, then take delivery at their local dealership.

Consumers agree to a 24-month all-inclusive flat-rate program, covering the cost of the subscription, maintenance and insurance. Furthermore, Volvo allows subscribers to make one upgrade within the first 12 months and enjoy a 15,000-mile per year driving allowance.

The cost is constant no matter where you live in the United States. For a T5 AWD Momentum with the Premium Package, Vision Package, a heated steering wheel and heated front seats, the rate is $600 per month.

For the R-Design model, which builds on the Momentum package by adding a panoramic roof, 20-inch wheels and a Harman Kardon Premium Sound System, the rate comes in at $700 per month.

Volvo expects one in 10 customers to opt for the subscription package. Already, the program has rolled out to the new V60, and will soon become available with all Volvo models. It adds an interesting wrinkle to any car purchase, although you must have Liberty Mutual as your insurer.

The insurance angle could present a problem for customers who bundle their insurance and add an umbrella policy to the mix. It simply may not be cost-effective or convenient to make the switch.

Parting Thoughts: 2019 Volvo XC40

2019 Volvo XC40 R-Design

The Volvo XC40 emerges in a segment filled with strong contenders and other newcomers. The Audi Q3, BMW X1, Cadillac XT4 and Mercedes-Benz GLS are among the models worth comparing.

Volvo Cars is doing what it needs to do to carve out a niche in the luxury sphere. This means four-cylinder gas engines and a variety of electrification options. Volvo will continue to enhance its position in all things safety, while continuing to work towards autonomous driving.

That is quite a feat for a company that as recently as five years ago seemed too far behind the competition to catch up.

2019 Volvo XC40 Specifications

  • Sticker price: $35,200 (plus $995 destination charge)
  • Seats 5 occupants
  • 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder turbo gasoline engine
  • 248 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
  • 258 foot-pounds of torque @ 1,800 to 4,800 rpm
  • Eight-speed automatic transmission
  • Wheelbase: 106.4 inches
  • Length: 174.2 inches
  • Width: 73.3 inches
  • Height: 65 inches
  • Passenger volume: NR
  • Storage volume: 20.7/47.2 cubic feet
  • Towing capacity: NR
  • EPA: 23/31
  • Premium grade gasoline
  • Fuel tank: 14.2 gallons
  • Curb weight: From 3,629 pounds
  • IIHS safety rating: NR
  • Limited vehicle warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles
  • Corrosion warranty: 12 years/unlimited miles
  • Vehicle assembly: Ghent, Belgium

2019 Volvo XC40 photos copyright Auto Trends Magazine. All rights reserved.

Matthew Keegan

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