Tiny SUV, massive character.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

The Volvo XC40 has only been on sale for two several years, but it did not acquire very long for this plucky Swedish crossover to generate favor by way of a mix of strong driving dynamics and a concentration on democratized know-how that isn’t really constrained by trim. Some tiny tweaks make their way into the Volvo XC40 for 2020, but this new design calendar year reminds me why I preferred this SUV in the very first position, tiny warts and all.

Will not Like

  • Orange carpet ages badly
  • Middling gas financial system
  • Constrained cargo capacity

Folks-satisfying design

I look at the Volvo XC40 with the same sort of “aww, shucks” wide eyes that I usually reserve for puppies. The crossover’s design remains 1 of my favorites, with a ton of character coming from the normal “Thor’s Hammer” LED headlights and the chunky C-pillar that performs effectively with my tester’s two-tone, black-and-white getup. The R-Design trim throws a bit additional design in the blend by way of greater 19-inch wheels (20s, as observed on my tester, are optional), black mirror caps and other refined sporty additions.

This specific XC40 packs what may well be the most exciting way to spend $a hundred on a new car: orange carpets. The $a hundred Lava Carpet solution handles the decreased 50 percent of the interior in dazzling orange substance, which would make for rather the assertion. Even so, following using possession of this car and its 3,000-ish-mile odometer looking through, I have considerations about longevity. The carpet has turn into fuzzier as cleaning products and cloths have operate above its surfaces, hunting a tiny janky as dark fibers from other resources intermingle with the orange for a sort of perma-dirty look. Its gentle-aspect-of-Velcro makeup also signifies that crap will constantly combine into the carpet. In retrospect, a thing that much better hides daily abuse may well be a great idea.

That getting mentioned, the rest of the XC40’s interior straight-up rocks. Its design delivers Volvo’s top quality bent to an affordable section considerable use of plastics apart, make high-quality is higher than ordinary, and I am a massive admirer of the special stippled trim just underneath the beltline. The steering wheel has the appropriate total of chunk, and its leather-based feels gentle and high priced. The R-Design-specific suede seat inserts add an excess dose of posh — throw decent head- and legroom into the blend, and occupants will be a great deal content with very long drives in this tiny dude. Girthy C-pillar apart, the cabin’s minimal-ish beltline presents great visibility.

Some compact SUVs improve interior quantity at the charge of storage, but the diminutive XC40 maintains some amazing stuff-stacking prowess. The entrance row is privy to all method of storage solutions there is certainly the wireless-charger-hiding middle console cubby, some tiny pockets on the aspect of the middle tunnel and a capacious hidey-hole beneath the armrest. The doorway pockets are impressively large, too. The only sour location of storage will come from the trunk, which at 20.seven cubic feet is behind competitors like the Audi Q3 and BMW X1, but it is in advance of the forthcoming 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Course.

Spunky, but not very effective

All 3 trims of 2020 Volvo XC40 have two powertrain solutions: The foundation T4 setup brings together entrance-wheel generate and a 187-horsepower, 221-pound-foot four-cylinder gasoline motor, though the uprated T5 adds two pushed wheels and bumps output to 248 hp and 258 lb-ft. My tester is outfitted with the latter setup, and I can guarantee you there is never a want for additional forward movement. The XC40 is happy to use its turbocharged torque at every single availability, while the motor sound is agricultural in character and not what I might get in touch with satisfying beneath heavier loads. Reinforcing the powertrain’s smoothness is an eight-velocity automated transmission that swaps cogs cleanly in the qualifications with no sending any harshness into the cabin.

Problems about the orange carpet’s longevity apart, the Volvo XC40’s interior high-quality is top rated notch.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

The XC40’s R-Design trim carries a pair upgrades that instantly influence the car’s handling. The very first is a stiffer suspension, which is normal, while that can be upgraded to a established of adaptive dampers for $one,000. Outfitted with exclusively the stiff stuff, as my tester is, I can convey to you that the ride is a bit livelier than other XC40 variants, in particular when the dampers function in conjunction with the $800, 20-inch wheel solution. I would not get in touch with it crashy, simply because it is however very effectively composed above Metro Detroit’s pockmarked roadways, but it isn’t really as supple as the other, additional luxury-oriented trims. Regardless of its window sticker, cabin sounds is on the lavish aspect of quiet, with the motor hardly earning a peep at decreased revs with no much wind or road sounds, both.

The 2020 XC40 does go through from middling gas financial system, but it is not like Volvo is the only automaker having difficulties with this. With AWD and the greater motor, the XC40 achieves an EPA-estimated 22 miles for every gallon city and 30 mpg freeway, which is… effectively, just Okay. But items usually are not much greener on the other aspect of the fence: The 2020 Audi Q3 is even worse at 19 mpg city and 27 mpg freeway, and the 2020 Cadillac XT4 AWD is about even at 22 city and 29 freeway. The BMW X1 beats them all, even so hardly, with an EPA-estimated 23 mpg city and 31 mpg freeway.

Sprightlier Sensus, normal security

If you talk to a particular person to give you 1 phrase that describes what they know about Volvo, you can probably hear some by-product of “security.” Volvo’s finished effectively to generate that correlation, and the company has also finished effectively to democratize its security tech across much of its lineup. It is not astonishing, then, that the XC40 lineup will come normal with a amount of driver-support programs like automated crisis braking, lane-trying to keep support and road signal recognition.

For an excess $one,four hundred, my tester rocks the Advance Offer, which also adds Volvo’s Pilot Assist process. This brings together complete-velocity adaptive cruise manage and energetic steering support to keep a automobile in its lane on the freeway though the driver holds the wheel and screens in advance. It is a great suite in my encounter velocity adjustments are sleek, and the car will not bounce back and forth in the lane. The lane-trying to keep support can be a tiny hefty-handed at periods, as can the forward collision warning, but I am inclined to accept that excess annoyance given that, definitely, it does way additional great than harm in the conclude.

Sensus Join is mighty able, but it is also fairly darn dense.

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And then there is certainly Sensus Join. Volvo’s infotainment process, which is impressively available as normal on every single single car it makes, is also amazing in how polarizing views of it can be. Certainly, Sensus does offer some amazing package, commencing with the 9-inch portrait display format, which is merely large. That presents Volvo a whole lot of real estate, but it would make use of it by introducing two menus that are just a warm mess of solutions and apps. It will take a reasonable bit of time to get your bearings, and it is not simple to manipulate though driving no make any difference how familiar you are with Sensus, so the sheer assortment of functions do get drowned out a bit by a convoluted menu arrangement. That mentioned, I enjoy the four-pane residence display that lets me hop amongst the oft-made use of bits, and I also respect the embedded Spotify application that uses the XC40’s 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot to link to my account and bring above all my favored audio. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are normal, too, as they should be in this working day and age.

Appear at any amount of Volvo critiques and you can see blended messaging about the infotainment’s responsiveness. This tester has provided me with preternaturally quickly process boot periods, piping satellite radio into the cabin in advance of the display even absolutely will come up, and the entire shebang only will take a number of seconds to get heading in earnest. This is in direct distinction to other new Volvos, even people with improved processors, which can be laggy, disheartening affairs. I have nevertheless to uncover rhyme or reason as to which programs are predictably quicker than some others.

How I might spec it

Almost never do I recommend a foundation trim, but it is warranted on the XC40, as it however packs a ton of tech and normal creature comforts. Even so, I also recommend choosing up the T5 powertrain with four pushed wheels and additional energy, which delivers the commencing cost to $36,345 following desired destination (a $two,000 upcharge above T4). Sticking with a no cost paint color and the normal cloth-and-leatherette interior, that leaves the deals. $600 adds automated weather manage and a folding cargo floor, though $750 heats both the seats and the steering wheel. I will also add the $one,750 Innovative Offer for Pilot Assist, as effectively as the $one,900 Quality Offer, which adds blind-location checking, keyless entry, parking sensors and wireless machine charging. That’ll net you a fairly effectively-loaded XC40 for $forty one,695, a much cry from the $forty six,995 on my R-Design tester’s window sticker.

Down to brass tacks

Unsurprisingly, choices abound when it will come to entry-lux compact crossovers. The XC40 performs alongside a refreshed Q3 that presents a additional rectilinear (but similarly effectively-crafted) interior, marginally softer driving dynamics and much better infotainment tech. The BMW X1 is sharper, and I am enthusiastic to see how the forthcoming 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Course fares against all this new level of competition, too.

The 2020 Volvo XC40 sort of lives in the just-appropriate porridge of the section. It is not too lavish as to charge a fortune, and it is not so sporty that opting for the R-Design trim will leave you unpleasant. It is loaded with normal functions at a decent cost point, and it is got some of the best styling in its competitive established. No matter if you want to subscribe to it or not, the XC40 is a strong acquire.