Conventional, slightly awkward-looking, and more pleasant to drive than many of its competitors, the 2019 Volvo XC40 is bound to be a customer favorite this model year. Each of the three trim levels offered pack in a good amount of luxury but still place emphasis on safety. While some of the controls are difficult to use, the availability of so many standard safety and infotainment features helps to make the XC40 worth its price tag.
What's New for 2019?
The 2019 Volvo XC40 is a completely new addition to Volvo's XC luxury crossover SUV line-up. It serves as the little sibling to the larger XC60 and XC90. The XC40 is quite similar to its siblings, yet it has been given a distinctive exterior styling. For being a small luxury crossover, the XC40 has been competitively priced, making its numerous features attractive selling points on this brand-new vehicle.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2019 Volvo XC40 – The Pros
1. A Well-designed Cargo Area
As is the case with its big siblings, the 2019 Volvo XC40 makes the most out of what cargo space it has. While the cargo area itself is not massive (being 20.7 cubic inches with all seats in place and maxing out at 47.2 cubic feet with the seats down), it is designed in a way that enhances utility. There is a folding load tray that doubles over as a holder for grocery bags, and the 60/40 split-folding rear seats have a power release button that allows them to come down.
2. Plenty of Small Item Storage Spaces
Small item storage areas can be found throughout the cabin and cargo area of the XC40. In the front, there are some crafty solutions for keeping expensive personal items hidden from view in the glove box and center arm rest. All of the bins and cup holders seem appropriately sized for accommodating contemporary items and cups. The huge bins located on the doors are padded with felt in order to prevent items from bouncing around while the vehicle is being driven.
3. High-quality Interior Materials
Speaking of materials used inside of the 2019 Volvo XC40, everything looks to be well-crafted and made from high-quality materials. Some of the materials are probably meant to be more budget-friendly to customers, but it is hard to tell the difference just by looking at them. The air vents and digital panels look high-brow, and there are no noticeable gaps in the surfaces or bizarre rattling noises coming from inside the cabin.
4. Numerous Standard Features
Like other Volvos, the XC40 has a long list of standard infotainment and safety features. Leather upholstery, smartphone app integration (via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay), a forward collision warning and mitigation system, ambient interior lighting, and LED headlights all come standard on every XC40 model. Additionally, you can make the choice between two different powertrains: the front-wheel drive T4 and the all-wheel drive T5.
5. Swift Acceleration
The 2019 Volvo XC40 might not look like it has a lot of pizzazz, but its 2.0-L turbocharged engine is able to get up and running in a quick and efficient manner. The XC40 has been clocked at going from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.8 seconds, which bests quite a few of its competitors. It certainly feels a lot spunkier than the heftier XC60 and XC90.
6. The Dynamic Brake Setting
The XC40 has uniquely structured (and highly customize-able) drive modes with both normal and dynamic brake settings. Although the normal setting has a tendency to make the brakes feel overly responsive, the dynamic setting gives them just the right amount of firmness, thereby smoothing out the vehicle's braking capabilities. Additionally, the XC40 has a competitive and safe panic stopping distance of about 125 feet.
7. Off-roading Capabilities
Unlike quite a few other vehicles in its class, the 2019 Volvo XC40 is capable of making moderate off-roading adventures. With all-wheel drive equipped, shortened overhangs, and a generous 8.3 inches of ground clearance beneath the undercarriage, the XC40 is able to handle dirt roads and small hills without too much hassle. Flipping it into Dynamic driving mode helps to stabilize and give better traction.
8. Excellent Visibility
Forward visibility is superb due to the massive size of the windshield and slender roof pillars that are set far enough off to the side. The rear headrests do not get in the way, so the view to the rear is relatively unobstructed. The rear roof pillars are somewhat thick but spaced far enough apart thanks to the large rear windshield. If a driver needs assistance to see what is happening around the vehicle, the optional 360-degree surround-view camera will come in handy.
9. A Comfortable Ride Quality
The 2019 Volvo XC40 seems to improve upon some of the ride quality issues common in its class. The non-adaptive suspension is soft enough to negate the typical busy quality that you get from riding on larger wheels and a shorter wheelbase. The XC40 does a good job of quickly smoothing out abrupt bumps and only needs a moment to deal with the more prolonged ones. Overall, the ride quality is as luxurious as can be expected for a smaller crossover SUV and even bests the XC60 and XC90.
10. The Harman Kardon Sound System
Volvo embodies luxury with the inclusion of a Harman Kardon sound system on the XC40. This 600-W 13-speaker system comes as a stand-alone add-on feature on the R-Design and Inscription trims but is available as part of the Momentum's Multimedia package. This improves vastly upon the standard 8-speaker audio system and offers some of the most crisp, high-quality sound you can hope for.
Reasons Not to Buy a 2019 Volvo XC40 – The Cons
1. A Confusing Touchscreen Interface
The biggest drawback on the 2019 Volvo XC40 (as is also the case on the XC60 and XC90) is that the touchscreen interface is not at all user-friendly. Even tech-savvy users will have to sift through menus to find the functions they want to use. Once you do master the controls, the system becomes a bit more engaging, but it will take most users time to get used to.
2. A Cramped Rear Bench Seat
The XC40 has a good amount of interior space, but the rear bench seat can feel cramped if you are a taller adult. Those under six feet tall should not have as many problems fitting into the seats, but it will otherwise feel a little bit squished. Of course, this tends to be a problem that occurs in many vehicles in this segment, so it is not unique to just the XC40. Still, there are vehicles in this class that offer more leg room in the rear.
3. Climate Control Seems Finicky
Another issue that drivers might have with the 2019 Volvo XC40 is that the climate control system is a bit laggy. When you start up the system via the touchscreen, you will have to give it time to get started and crank the controls all the way up to get air flow going on very hot or cold days. Also, the system tends to feel as through it isn't blowing the correct air temperature out of the vents.
4. Child Safety Seats Are Hard to Install
If you have children who need to be secured in child safety seats, you will have to put some effort into installing these seats. The anchors are buried a bit deeper into the seats than they should be. With limited space in the rear, trying to fit rear-facing car seats into the XC40 is difficult. However, this is a common issue in the segment and is therefore pretty difficult to avoid.
How it stacks up to the competition:
2019 Volvo XC40 vs. 2019 Audi Q3
One of the top competitors for the 2019 Volvo XC40 is the 2019 Audi Q3. The Q3 offers an affordable alternative that is jam-packed with desirable standard features and comfort. The interior looks upscale and is typically quiet while driving along any type of road surface. Controls are relatively easy for all drivers to use, unlike those on the XC40. However, the Audi Q3 has a sub-par acceleration rate, barely average handling capabilities, an extremely small back seat, and extremely poor fuel economy for a vehicle in its class.
2019 Volvo XC40 vs. 2019 BMW X1
The 2019 BMW X1 is another major rival for the model year and bests the XC40 in terms of space in the rear seat. The cargo area is also incredibly spacious for a luxury crossover SUV. The X1 is quite thrilling to drive with its powerful turbocharged engine and precision handling. In fact, it probably has one of the most engaging driving performances out of any vehicle in its segment. Unfortunately, the BMW X1 can get to be quite noisy while driving at highway speeds. Also, the X1 has a standard sport suspension that struggles to smooth over bumps on tough road surfaces.
The brand new 2019 Volvo XC40 is an exciting addition to Volvo's luxury crossover SUV line-up. While, like its big siblings, the XC40 needs its touchscreen interface refined in order to make controls easier to use, the vehicle does offer a lot of great standard features. It also embodies luxury to the utmost with its high-quality materials and well-crafted cabin.