Volvo XC40 Review logo

Volvo XC40 Review

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heycar review

      Launch year
      2018
      Body type
      Crossover
      Fuel type
      Petrol, Diesel, PHEV
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
“ Family-friendly premium SUV perfection”

Best bits

  • Stylish good looks
  • Excellent all-round performer
  • Decent value for money

Not so great

  • You really need the auto gearbox
  • Desirable extras are expensive
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto not fitted as standard

Read by

Volvo XC40 Front Side View

Overall verdict

Volvo XC40 Driver's Seat

On the inside

Volvo XC40 Front Side View

Driving

Volvo XC40 Rear View

How much does it cost to run

Volvo XC40 Left Side View

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"The Volvo XC40 is a family-friendly SUV with ample appeal and few weaknesses. It’s easy to see why it sells so well, and is so sought-after on the second-hand market. This is an SUV that does it all, with a welcome dose of style and upmarket luxury to boot."

Volvo XC40 Front Side View

Volvo's XC40 is an outstanding family-sized SUV from the fast-growing Swedish brand. It went on sale in 2018 and has become steadily more popular since, helped by Volvo’s continual development of the range – including a plug-in hybrid and fully-electric version.


The XC40 was even named Car of the Year 2019 by HonestJohn.co.uk, seeing off some tough competition to lift the crown. Such recognition has really helped put the XC40 on the map; it’s Volvo’s best-selling car in the UK, and a great alternative to an Audi Q2, BMW X1 or Volkswagen Tiguan, as well as more mainstream models such as the Ford Kuga, Kia Sportage and SEAT Ateca.


Volvo’s youthful interpretation of its sophisticated signature style gives the XC40 plenty of showroom appeal. It's a chunky-looking machine, with a muscular profile and a cool colour split in the rear pillar that makes it stand out. We like the carefully-crafted side panels and love how Volvo has made a feature of the front bonnet line in the wings. On the passenger side, there’s even a tiny rubber Swedish flag poking out – a lovely design detail.


Inside, it feels spacious, with a more open, less claustrophobic feel than some of its rivals. It’s less cocooning than larger Volvos, but more practical as a result, with an accommodating driving position and plenty of headroom. The dashboard still has the upmarket appearance of larger models, though, using the same upright central touchscreen and even the same high-end steering wheel.


The rear seats are spacious and there’s a good, if not class-leading, load bay. What particularly sets the XC40 apart is the wonderful attention to detail throughout. Which other cars have properly carpeted door bins, with the speakers relocated in order to make them even more capacious and useful? We love the fact you can choose orange carpet, which extends to the door bins as well.


Volvo’s comprehensive infotainment system includes built-in Spotify. The add-on IntelliSafe Pro active safety pack is genuinely useful on long journeys. And climate control that monitors onboard air quality and does its best to filter out as many nasties as possible is a real boon in this day and age.


Engines comprise of 1.5-litre and 2.0 turbocharged petrol and diesel engines of varying power outputs. Petrol engines are labelled ‘T’ or ‘B’, while diesels are branded ‘D’. It frankly doesn’t make a big difference to the driving experience, as they all have a similar feel. Numbers designate how fast they are: a T4 will be faster than a T3, and so on.


Both two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive XC40s are offered, with the AWD models being best for winter-road use, but the 2WD proving perfectly fine away from extremes. People buy the XC40 for its family-friendly usefulness and SUV good looks, not its off-road ability.


If you're after the EV version, you need our Volvo XC40 Recharge (2021-) review.


Is the Volvo XC40 right for you?

The Volvo XC40 is an on-trend SUV, from an on-trend premium brand, and it sells for prices that are competitive for this sector. Straight away, this means it'll be right for a lot of people, particularly those bored by their current Audi or BMW.


All XC40s, even the most affordable versions, have an eye-catching appearance that you’ll be chuffed to see on your drive. You don’t have to spend big on the range-toppers to get a stylish, eye-catching model, which is part of the reason the XC40 is proving so popular.


We also rate the car’s practicality, particularly for passengers. MPVs feel rather passé these days, as most people switch to SUVs, but the XC40 shows Volvo hasn’t forgotten families who need a car to work day-to-day.


What’s the best Volvo XC40 model/engine to choose?

All versions are pretty good. If you’re an undemanding driver, we’d say even the regular T3 will prove fine, although you might prefer the eight-speed automatic gearbox rather than the manual. A stick-shift really doesn’t fit in this car. The mild hybrid B4 is a good all-rounder for longer trips (and has the auto ’box as standard) and you don’t really need the B5.


Even the D3 has 150PS, while the D4 has 190PS. Only the base D3 model is a manual. The XC40 Recharge electric and plug-in hybrid models are set to become popular as well, the plug-in hybrid particularly so. They do, however, take XC40 prices up to a rather lofty level.


The entry-level trim is Momentum, and it comes really well equipped. The trouble is, R-Design grade offers a sportier look, with just that bit extra visual appeal outside and in. We can see buyers being drawn to it, both in new car showrooms and on second-hand forecourts.


What other cars are similar to the Volvo XC40?

The Volvo XC40 is a premium-grade SUV without quite the heady price tag of some alternatives. You get more car for your money here than with an Audi Q2 or BMW X1, for example. The Mercedes-Benz GLB is another pricey alternative.


Because of the Volvo’s great all-round practicality, it also goes up against big-sellers such as the Volkswagen Tiguan and Ford Kuga, both of which provide a stern challenge. Slower-selling alternatives include the Jaguar E-Pace and Lexus NX, while it’s impossible to ignore the draw of the Range Rover Evoque in this sector, too.


Learn more

Volvo XC40 Driver's Seat

On the inside

Volvo XC40 Front Side View

Driving

Volvo XC40 Rear View

How much does it cost to run

Volvo XC40 Left Side View

Prices, versions and specification

Ask the heycar experts: common questions

What is the Volvo XC40 comparable to?

The Volvo XC40 is comparable to cars like the Mercedes GLA, BMW X1 and Audi Q3 – they're all posh, relatively small but practical SUVs that make ideal family cars.

Russ Campbell

Answered by

Russ Campbell