2020 Volvo XC40 review: Still a safe, stylish choice

    Small SUV, large character.
    Andrew Krok/Roadshow
    The Volvo XC40 has solely been on sale for 2 years, but it surely did not take lengthy for this plucky Swedish crossover to earn favor by means of a mix of strong driving dynamics and a concentrate on democratized expertise that is not restricted by trim. Some small tweaks make their manner into the Volvo XC40 for 2020, however this new mannequin yr jogs my memory why I appreciated this SUV within the first place, small warts and all.

    LikeLively stylingSafety tech aboundsFun to drive

    Don’t LikeOrange carpet ages poorlyMiddling gas economyLimited cargo capability

    People-pleasing designI have a look at the Volvo XC40 with the identical kind of “aww, shucks” huge eyes that I usually reserve for puppies. The crossover’s design stays considered one of my favorites, with a ton of character coming from the usual “Thor’s Hammer” LED headlights and the chunky C-pillar that performs effectively with my tester’s two-tone, black-and-white getup. The R-Design trim throws a bit extra type within the combine by the use of bigger 19-inch wheels (20s, as seen on my tester, are optionally available), black mirror caps and different refined sporty additions.This particular XC40 packs what could be essentially the most attention-grabbing technique to spend $100 on a brand new automotive: orange carpets. The $100 Lava Carpet choice covers the decrease half of the inside in brilliant orange materials, which makes for fairly the assertion. However, after taking possession of this automotive and its 3,000-ish-mile odometer studying, I’ve issues about longevity. The carpet has turn into fuzzier as cleansing supplies and cloths have run over its surfaces, trying slightly janky as darkish fibers from different sources intermingle with the orange for a kind of perma-dirty look. Its soft-side-of-Velcro make-up additionally implies that crap will always combine into the carpet. In retrospect, one thing that higher hides day by day abuse could be a good suggestion.

    That being stated, the remainder of the XC40’s inside straight-up rocks. Its type brings Volvo’s premium bent to an inexpensive phase; in depth use of plastics apart, construct high quality is above common, and I’m an enormous fan of the distinctive stippled trim just under the beltline. The steering wheel has the correct quantity of chunk, and its leather-based feels tender and costly. The R-Design-specific suede seat inserts add an additional dose of posh — throw respectable head- and legroom into the combo, and occupants can be lots content material with lengthy drives on this little man. Girthy C-pillar apart, the cabin’s low-ish beltline affords good visibility.Some compact SUVs maximize inside quantity at the price of storage, however the diminutive XC40 maintains some spectacular stuff-stacking prowess. The entrance row is aware about all method of storage choices; there’s the wireless-charger-hiding heart console cubby, some small pockets on the aspect of the middle tunnel and a capacious hidey-hole underneath the armrest. The door pockets are impressively giant, too. The solely bitter spot of storage comes from the trunk, which at 20.7 cubic ft is behind rivals just like the Audi Q3 and BMW X1, but it surely’s forward of the forthcoming 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class.

    Spunky, however not very efficientAll three trims of 2020 Volvo XC40 have two powertrain choices: The base T4 setup combines front-wheel drive and a 187-horsepower, 221-pound-foot four-cylinder gasoline engine, whereas the uprated T5 provides two pushed wheels and bumps output to 248 hp and 258 lb-ft. My tester is supplied with the latter setup, and I can guarantee you there may be by no means a need for extra ahead movement. The XC40 is pleased to make the most of its turbocharged torque at each availability, though the engine sound is agricultural in nature and never what I’d name pleasing underneath heavier hundreds. Reinforcing the powertrain’s smoothness is an eight-speed computerized transmission that swaps cogs cleanly within the background with out sending any harshness into the cabin.

    Concerns concerning the orange carpet’s longevity apart, the Volvo XC40’s inside high quality is prime notch.
    Andrew Krok/Roadshow
    The XC40’s R-Design trim carries a pair upgrades that immediately have an effect on the automotive’s dealing with. The first is a stiffer suspension, which is commonplace, though that may be upgraded to a set of adaptive dampers for $1,000. Equipped with solely the stiff stuff, as my tester is, I can inform you that the journey is a bit livelier than different XC40 variants, particularly when the dampers function along with the $800, 20-inch wheel choice. I would not name it crashy, as a result of it is nonetheless extremely effectively composed over Metro Detroit’s pockmarked roadways, but it surely is not as supple as the opposite, extra luxury-oriented trims. Despite its window sticker, cabin noise is on the luxurious aspect of quiet, with the engine barely making a peep at decrease revs with out a lot wind or highway noise, both.The 2020 XC40 does endure from middling gas economic system, but it surely’s not like Volvo is the one automaker combating this. With AWD and the bigger engine, the XC40 achieves an EPA-estimated 22 miles per gallon metropolis and 30 mpg freeway, which is… effectively, simply OK. But issues aren’t a lot greener on the opposite aspect of the fence: The 2020 Audi Q3 is even worse at 19 mpg metropolis and 27 mpg freeway, and the 2020 Cadillac XT4 AWD is about even at 22 metropolis and 29 freeway. The BMW X1 beats all of them, nevertheless barely, with an EPA-estimated 23 mpg metropolis and 31 mpg freeway.Sprightlier Sensus, commonplace safetyIf you ask an individual to provide you one phrase that describes what they learn about Volvo, you will in all probability hear some spinoff of “safety.” Volvo’s executed effectively to earn that correlation, and the corporate has additionally executed effectively to democratize its security tech throughout a lot of its lineup. It’s not shocking, then, that the XC40 lineup comes commonplace with a variety of driver-assist programs like computerized emergency braking, lane-keeping help and highway signal recognition.For an additional $1,400, my tester rocks the Advance Package, which additionally provides Volvo’s Pilot Assist system. This combines full-speed adaptive cruise management and lively steering help to carry a car in its lane on the freeway whereas the driving force holds the wheel and displays forward. It’s a unbelievable suite in my expertise; velocity changes are clean, and the automotive would not bounce backwards and forwards within the lane. The lane-keeping help generally is a little heavy-handed at instances, as can the ahead collision warning, however I’m keen to just accept that further annoyance since, clearly, it does far more good than hurt ultimately.Sensus Connect is mighty succesful, but it surely’s additionally fairly darn dense.
    Andrew Krok/Roadshow
    And then there’s Sensus Connect. Volvo’s infotainment system, which is impressively provided as commonplace on each single automotive it produces, can be spectacular in how polarizing opinions of it may be. Truly, Sensus does provide some spectacular equipment, beginning with the 9-inch portrait display structure, which is just huge. That provides Volvo a number of actual property, but it surely makes use of it by including two menus which can be only a sizzling mess of choices and apps. It takes a good bit of time to get your bearings, and it is not simple to govern whereas driving irrespective of how acquainted you might be with Sensus, so the sheer number of options do get drowned out a bit by a convoluted menu association. That stated, I like the four-pane dwelling display that lets me hop between the oft-used bits, and I additionally respect the embedded Spotify app that makes use of the XC40’s 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot to hook up with my account and convey over all my most well-liked music. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are commonplace, too, as they need to be at the moment.Look at any variety of Volvo critiques and you will see blended messaging concerning the infotainment’s responsiveness. This tester has supplied me with preternaturally quick system boot instances, piping satellite tv for pc radio into the cabin earlier than the display even absolutely comes up, and the entire shebang solely takes a number of seconds to get getting into earnest. This is in direct distinction to different new Volvos, even these with improved processors, which might be laggy, irritating affairs. I’ve but to seek out rhyme or purpose as to which programs are predictably sooner than others.How I’d spec itRarely do I like to recommend a base trim, but it surely’s warranted on the XC40, because it nonetheless packs a ton of tech and commonplace creature comforts. However, I additionally advocate selecting up the T5 powertrain with 4 pushed wheels and extra energy, which brings the beginning value to $36,345 after vacation spot (a $2,000 upcharge over T4). Sticking with a free paint shade and the usual cloth-and-leatherette inside, that leaves the packages. $600 provides computerized local weather management and a folding cargo ground, whereas $750 heats each the seats and the steering wheel. I’ll additionally add the $1,750 Advanced Package for Pilot Assist, in addition to the $1,900 Premium Package, which provides blind-spot monitoring, keyless entry, parking sensors and wi-fi system charging. That’ll web you a fairly well-loaded XC40 for $41,695, a far cry from the $46,995 on my R-Design tester’s window sticker.Down to brass tacksUnsurprisingly, decisions abound in the case of entry-lux compact crossovers. The XC40 performs alongside a refreshed Q3 that gives a extra rectilinear (however equally well-crafted) inside, barely softer driving dynamics and higher infotainment tech. The BMW X1 is sharper, and I’m excited to see how the upcoming 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class fares towards all this new competitors, too.The 2020 Volvo XC40 kind of lives within the just-right porridge of the phase. It’s not too luxurious as to break the bank, and it is not so sporty that choosing the R-Design trim will go away you uncomfortable. It’s loaded with commonplace options at a good value level, and it is bought among the finest styling in its aggressive set. Whether you wish to subscribe to it or not, the XC40 is a strong buy.

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