words & photos by: Mike Ginsca
Following the success of the XC90 and the XC60, Volvo has now introduced it’s smallest SUV to the market; the XC40. Based on a new platform, the XC40 shares the same features and technology as its bigger brothers but in a smaller package.
The Volvo XC40 is only available with one engine choice for the time being. A 2.0L turbocharged 4 cylinder does the job of moving the XC40 and it does it pretty well. In this particular class of vehicles, the little 2.0L engine produces a bit more power than the competition at 248hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The car doesn’t feel sluggish when driving enthusiastically but there is a hint of turbo lag at lower rpms.
An 8-speed automatic is the only transmission that Volvo offers with any of their vehicles. In the XC40 the transmission is smooth and quick to shift between the gears. The transmission gear selector does take some getting use to. From Park, it will always go into Neutral and then pull or push on it to get into Drive or Reverse. At first it may be a bit awkward to use but after a few uses, it becomes muscle memory.
This being a small SUV, it does feel more nimble than it’s bigger XC90 brother. The steering is sharp and precise but a bit light on feedback. The whole car feels planted when going around corners thanks to the AWD system. During most driving conditions, it’s a FWD to save on fuel.
When setting off from a stop or going around corners, the system sends the engine’s power to the back wheels to improve traction. When driving enthusiastically, the system also uses torque vectoring to send the engine’s power to the outside rear wheel to further improve corner turn in.
The suspension on the Volvo XC40 is tuned for more comfort rather than sporty driving like some other brands. However because of the car’s light weight and short wheelbase, the ride can be a bit rough over uneven and heavily potholed city streets. It’s not back breaking or worse than other sporty brands, but it’s not quite as comfortable as one would expect from a small luxury crossover.
Road and wind noise is a bit more evident on a highway but it’s not an overwhelming noise. The rest of the cabin feels like it’s well put together as there are now squeaks or rattles even when going over bumps.
A fully loaded XC40 comes with the same features and gadgets that the XC90 is also available with. Safety features like emergency automatic braking and lane keeping aid are standard but strangely blind spot monitor is an option. I find that very weird coming from the brand that is labeled as the safest in the world and also the ones that invented the Blind spot system in the first place.
The exterior design of the Volvo XC40 was meant to look more like an urban activity vehicle. I think it pulls off that look. The edges are not as rounded as the XC90 but a bit more boxy like Volvos of old. It’s an eye catching design that probably won’t look too dated in 5 years time.
Overall the 2019 Volvo XC40 is a good all-rounder crossover. It’s not the most sporty of the crossovers on the market but it is the safest and one of the more comfortable ones out there. A base XC40 R-Design starts at $43,700 CAD but one that’s fully loaded is closer to the $53,000 mark.
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