One of the fresher faces in the extra-small luxury SUV segment is also one of the most popular - the Volvo XC40. This year's 2021 Volvo XC40 takes all the things there are to enjoy from its bigger sisters and places them into a smaller package bursting with power and prestige.
There are two turbocharged engines to choose from: the T4 (with its standard front-wheel drive and 184 hp power output) and the beefier T5 (which generates an impressive 248 hp and comes with all-wheel drive). Both engines produce adequate fuel economies, but more on that later. Overall, drivers should like both options but will probably prefer the T5.
Inside, you will find the typical Volvo refinement. Luxury features abound, and the distinctively Swedish style is ever-apparent in the high-quality interior materials. Opting for the line-topping Inscription trim will even get you Orrefors crystal on top of the gear shift knob! If that does not scream "luxury", then what does?
Unfortunately, the Volvo XC40 does lose some points when it comes to both the infotainment system and the cargo area. The touchscreen has a steep learning curve, even for drivers who know a thing or two about these systems. And, as far as cargo goes, the amount of space you get is smaller than it is in competitors.
Is the XC40 the right SUV for you? What should you know before deciding to buy it? This review will go over what is new for 2021, available styles and trims, how the XC40 drives, and what to expect from the engines' fuel economies.
What's New For 2021?
The 2021 Volvo XC40 receives some new standard features this year, including leather upholstery, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, auto-dimming on the power-folding side mirrors, and two USB charging ports for the rear seat. The Am radio tuner is no longer available, but there is an option for TuneIn Radio which will get you those AM stations.
The previously-standard 12-volt outlet in the cargo area and heated windshield wiper blades now come as part of a package. There is also a new dual-motor XC40 Recharge all-electric variant that is available.
The 2021 Volvo XC40 is available as an extra-small luxury SUV. It can now be ordered as either a gas-powered engine or with an all-electric system.
The XC40 comes with three powertrain options and three trim levels. The T4 engine is a 2.0-L turbo 4-cylinder that generates 187 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque. The T5 amps it up with 248 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. An 8-speed automatic transmission comes with either engine. Meanwhile, the Recharge is powered by two electric motors for a total of 402 hp and comes with all-wheel drive. Volvo anticipates it to get over 200 miles of electric range on one charge, and it has a rapid recharging time.
The base trim level is the Momentum. This comes with a full array of LED exterior lighting, rain-sensing windshield wipers, 18-inch wheels, a 12.3-inch infotainment system, standard smartphone app integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and an 8-way power-adjustable driver seat. It also has a power liftgate, keyless ignition, and an 8-speaker sound system. All XC40s come with blind spot monitoring, driver attention warning, adaptive headlights, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, and forward collision warning.
The Momentum can be equipped with the Premium and Advanced packages. The Premium features built-in navigation, power-folding rear head rests, keyless entry, front parking sensors, and a dual-zone climate control system. The Advanced has adaptive cruise control, headlight washers, ambient interior lighting, a 360-degree surround-view camera, the 12-volt cargo area outlet, and a wireless charging pad.
The mid-tier R-Design adds a painted black roof, high-gloss black exterior trim, a panoramic moonroof, upgraded leather upholstery, and the contents of the Premium Package.
The Inscription trim gives the XC40 interior wood trim, the crystal on the gear shift knob, 19-inch wheels with a unique design, and a chrome grille.
The XC40 is nimble enough despite its industry-average 0-60 time of 6.8 seconds. Engine stop-start is extremely subtle, and the transmission downshifts when necessary. Also, with its 8.3 inches of ground clearance, short overhangs, and AWD on the T5, the XC40 can handle some light off-roading. It also has a max towing capacity of 3,500 pounds, which is better than average.
When you get it up-to-speed, the XC40 feels surprisingly light in its maneuvering. It can be a bit top-heavy, and larger bumps will rattle the vehicle around. Smaller bumps get quickly dispatched by the suspension. Overall, there is less of a connection between the driver and the road than one might prefer.
Taller drivers might not be comfortable with the forward-angled headrests. The seats also feel firm but do offer a fair amount of support.
The AWD-equipped T5 is able to get 26 mpg combined (with 23 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway). Real-world tests show that this number - which would be slightly better than average - is a few mpg lower than the EPA estimates. The FWD T4 numbers seem to be more efficient than their competitors.
The 2021 Volvo XC40 offers Swedish luxury coupled with a fair amount of power. While we have yet to see how the Recharge holds up against other luxury EVs, the fact that it is included this year shows how future-oriented Volvo has become.
Formula for Calculating Dealer Cost:
Total Dealer Cost - Rebate and Incentive + Taxes / Licensing Fees = True Dealer Cost. (You can get rebates and incentives here.)
Note: All Volvo XC40 MSRP, invoice and dealer cost dollar figures above are approximate amounts. Prices are subject to change without notice.
A note about rebates: Most rebates are subtracted from the "on the road" figure. In most cases, you can have the rebate if you are arranging your own financing or you are paying cash. If you decide to use the manufacturer’s low interest financing, you do not usually get the rebate. Ask your dealer for details.