The XC40 compact crossover is the latest step in Volvo's massive brand rejuvenation, which began a few years ago with the XC90. But where that larger crossover is an aspirational vehicle, the XC40 puts this Swedish brand's increasingly desirable wares within reach of buyers with more modest budgets.
Available in Momentum, R-Design and Inscription trims, the XC40 in Canada is offered with a single powertrain that matches a 2.0L turbo four-cylinder engine making 248 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque with an eight-speed automatic transmission and standard AWD. That combo comes with the T5 designation indicated on the tailgate; there are T3 and T4 versions available with different engines overseas.
Facts like those line up nicely with specs for competitive models like the BMW X1, Audi Q3, Lexus NX and Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class. While the XC40's drive is plenty satisfying, fans of quick handling will find sharper responses elsewhere, particularly in the German models.
Volvo may be late to the compact utility game, but it has made quite an entrance with the XC40, which arrives as one of the most distinctive-looking models in its class thanks to stylistic cues like its "Thor's Hammer" headlight treatment and contrasting roof treatment.
Volvo claims the XC40 offers the most ground clearance among small upscale SUVs, but it's what the company's designers have done with the interior that is more impressive. Small item storage is plentiful, including door pockets that can accommodate both a water bottle and a laptop computer, there's a garbage bin built into the centre console and the glove box sports a hook from which to hang a shopping bag.
Standard kit in Momentum trim includes a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, heated front seats, power driver's seat with lumbar, manual passenger seat adjustments with thigh cushion extension, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, LED headlights, 18-inch wheels, single-zone automatic climate control, rain-sensing wipers, hill descent control, textile/leatherette upholstery and a 9.0-inch infotainment touchscreen.
Safety features included at the XC40's starting price include front collision mitigation support, lane keeping aid, driver's knee airbag and tire pressure monitoring.
R-Design trim brings trim-specific interior and exterior styling cues, a black headliner, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, nubuck leather upholstery, power-adjustable front passenger seat, auto-dimming rearview mirror, 19-inch wheels, sport suspension and steerable LED headlights.
Inscription trim reverts to 18-inch wheels, electric driver's seat bottom cushion extension, shift lever fashioned from Swedish crystal and various trim-specific interior and exterior design cues.