Volvo – safe, suburban, Swedish – has decided to expand its offerings in the SUV market. There’s gold in them thar hills, and almost any car maker would be stupid to leave the SUV market, and especially the SUV market aimed at wealthy commuters. So Volvo, who once only made large-ish SUVs, has expanded into hitting all market segments. Which brings us to the new XC40.
Volvo says the XC40 sets a new benchmark for design, technology, and safety in the small SUV market, but whether that Scandinavian confidence turns into profits remains up to buyers. It is fair to say the XC40, packed with all the tech from the 90 and 60 series machines and thoroughly modern, is worth taking a look at. The Volvo XC40, which includes safety innovations rarely offered among its competitors, aims to be among the safest, most well-equipped compact SUVs available, but also not break the bank. The launch model, the T5 all-wheel drive in Momentum trim, will start at $35,200. Customers who prefer front-wheel drive can pick up the T4 this coming summer for a starting MSRP of $33,200.
The XC40 is the first Volvo on the company’s new Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), destined to be the foundation of all other upcoming Volvos in the 40 Series, including fully electrified vehicles. In addition to the T5 and T4 AWD and FWD versions, there will also be a hybrid and pure electric variant added later.
The XC40 is the smallest SUV offered by Volvo, slotting in after the XC90, Volvo’s largest SUV, and the midsized XC60. The introduction of the XC40 completes Volvo’s SUV range with a spectrum of body colors and the now ever-so-fashionable contrasting color roof. The XC40 aims to have a strong, structured profile with large wheels, wheel arches, and an 8.3-inch ride height to “provide a true SUV feeling.”
The interior is just as well thought out and clever as the exterior design and the engineering you can’t see. There’s an available panoramic sunroof to allow natural light into the cabin as well as integrated LED lighting that can be color adjusted to match the mood or temperature the driver desires. The mood lighting, which works quite well at night, aims to enhance the unique metal and textile materials used in the XC40.
There’s ample interior space for both people and things with smart, daily-use features like large door pockets, integrated bag hooks, and a customizable cargo area to help organize all that stuff a modern human can accrue during the day. And since we are 17 years into the 21st century, the XC40 has tech goodies like wireless QI mobile phone charging and Bluetooth connectivity. The standard 9-inch Sensus Connect touchscreen will help reduce clutter from charging cables and connectors. The system also supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, and apps like Spotify and Pandora.
Safety & Security
Also standard on Volvo’s XC40 is City Safety. This detects possible hazards such as pedestrians, cyclists, other vehicles, and (I’m not making this up) large animals. I hasten to point out that Volvos come from Sweden and, if legend is to be believed, Sweden is choked full of moose, bear, dear, elk, and a wide variety of “large animals.” Additional safety features include Pilot Assist, Runoff Road protection and mitigation, Cross Traffic alert with brake support, and the 360 camera that helps drivers maneuver their car into tight parking spaces.
Buyers of the XC40 get 4 years of Volvo On Call, along with the ability to share the car with trusted friends and family via a mobile phone app. Volvo doesn’t give many details, but I’m guessing it provides access to the vehicle, allowing certain people (or some other scheme) to actually fire up the XC40 and drive it.
New XC40s will be rolling off Volvo’s assembly line in Ghent, Belgium come this November, although Volvo is more than willing to take your order today at a local retailer. More information is expected at the Los Angeles Auto Show, also in November.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He means well, even if he has a bias toward lighter, agile cars rather than big engine muscle cars or family sedans.