In the Volvo family, I’m asking for the European car of the year 2018. The Volvo XC40 just started its career and is already famous.

What makes it so special ? At Road Rug Cars we were curious about it and as you know we need to drive to make our minds. So, when Volvo Canada gently gave us the chance to spend an entire week with a momentum XC40 we were pretty excited.  Here’s our review.

Volvo XC40 from the outside!

Once again, no big surprise here, it’s still from the Volvo family and it’s actually a good point. However, it’s an all new car and it presents a lot of differences with the XC60 and XC90 we reviewed recently. First thing first, on the XC40 you can choose to have a contrasting roof, it’s a detail but it’s always nice to be able to customize a little bit your car.

Volvo XC40

The main difference resides in its dimensions. It’s much smaller compared to its two big brothers. With a 4.43m length and 1.65m height it’s definitely a city compact SUV. However, it’s still practical with a 460L boot and 5 seats (more 4+1 indeed).

One small detail that we particularly liked about the Volvo XC40 : the rear bumper is not painted on the Momentum version. It may appears cheap but in our opinion it’s actually looking good on this car and above all it’s really useful. Yes, this car is made for the city and as you know when you park in the street, a lot of dumbs drivers don’t know how to make a parallel and hit your bumpers which can damage your car and look terrible.

Thanks to the unpainted rear bumper this is not the case anymore. Well done. In addition of that, it gives the car a really cool adventurer look that reminds us the good old Volvo XC70 and the first Audi A6 Allroad

From the inside

The overall feeling is really similar to the other Volvos, same touchscreen to control all the car, same digital cockpit, same seats. However, this car is much more oriented towards the young generations than the XC90 or XC60.

Volvo XC40

It’s also a lot cheaper than its bigger counterparts and because of this, hard plastics are more present in the cabin. For example the glovebox looks quite cheap, the central tunnel is not really flattering neither. I guess that younger people looking for a nice small SUV don’t really care about these details. Unfortunately at Road Rug Cars we do.

On the positive side, there is a really accessible and useful station to charge your smartphone by induction and this is quite appreciable in a daily car. The quality of the assembly is good and the XC40 will probably age well.

Also the XC40 is truly confortable for 4 adults and this is quite a surprise for a compact SUV. However, the biggest surprise we had was on the road!

Behind the steering wheel

Urban area, it’s where the XC40 belong. It’s agile and the handling of the car is really good. It feels light and way more powerful than what one would expect. We have to mention that we had the T5 version which is the biggest engine you can have for the car.

Volvo XC40

Surprisingly the engine was powerful enough to have fun with the car. Even on the countryside roads. But why is it more fun than a XC90 which has more power?

The weight. Usually it’s where things start to go wrong. Luckily, this time it’s not the case. The Volvo XC40 weights only 1,684kgs. Good job!

So what’s inside this trendy SUV that makes it fun to drive?

Well, it’s animated by the 2.0L inline 4 cylinders. Yes, it’s the same as in the XC60 and XC90 expect that this one isn’t supercharged. It’s just turbocharged and therefore the engine develops “only” 250hp at 5,500rpms.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good engine. It has a good torque with 350nm and thanks to a drastic diet it’s 400kgs less than its big brothers.

The result is surprisingly polyvalent. It feels more powerful and responsive than the XC90 and XC60. At the end of the day, there is only 70hp less for 400kg less so the power/weight ratio is actually really close.

One of our complain about the XC90 was the gas consumption in the city, which was out of this world, this time we have to admit that the XC40 is effective. 8L/100kms on the highway. Just above 10L/100kms in the city, welcome in 2018!

The surprise for us really happened on the road. The car is actually quite fun (for a compact SUV), especially in dynamic mode which makes the suspensions harder, and the engine response stronger. Don’t fool yourself, It’s not a sport car in any mean, but you can take it out of your beautiful city and enjoy the drive.

The comportment on the road is excellent, the XC40 has a very limited body roll compared to others SUVs on the market. Therefore, it feels really safe and never surprises you. The brakes are strong which allow you to place the car with precision to take a tight turn. The car has a slight tendency to understeer when entering a turn but nothing alarming. The engine is really quiet even when you start to push the XC40. We would have appreciated an additional touch of character especially in dynamics where we could expect a nicer sound.

The verdict

The XC40 is surprising in a lot of ways. Firstly, it’s the smallest and less powerful of all Volvo SUVs, but in our sense, it was the funniest to drive. Secondly, it’s actually big enough even for a small family. Thirdly its equipment is – once again with Volvo – perfect even if the one we had was the basic trim.

At the end of the day, it’s a really polyvalent SUV which is in our opinion design mainly for the city and oriented towards young professionals and small families.

As the SUV market is expanding continuously, we are sure that we will see more and more Volvos on the road in the coming years. The quality is really good for the money and it’s good to see that “new” players can disrupt a market where the premium SUVs were couple of years ago only offered by german automakers.

At this point, we can only hope for Polestar using its craftsmanship to create sport versions for each of the new Volvos. This would transform good cars in fun to drive cars.

#FunToDrive score :  72/100

This small SUV surprised us on the road with a good comportment. It’s also good looking and affordable, so what more can we ask for? A funnier car with a more expressive engine perhaps thanks to the Polestar touch would be awesome. Thanks for asking.

It’s now time for you to discover our “XC40” story at the top of our Instagram profile.

Keep it #FunToDrive.


Is the Volvo XC40 the ultimate urban SUV?

  1. Oui mais bof en fait, elle a pas l’air si folle, comme un mini SUV pour jeune bourgeoise qui ne connait rien aux voitures. La nouvelle Fiat 500, malheureusement.

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