Volvo XC40 looks to remain competitive

There’s no frilly, rounded, bubbly look to the Volvo XC40 as it has a more traditional SUV form. Volvo Media

Combined ShapeCaption
There’s no frilly, rounded, bubbly look to the Volvo XC40 as it has a more traditional SUV form. Volvo Media

Subcompact SUV/crossover finding its niche.

“Just the facts.” That’s the approach I’m taking for this week’s tester. I usually go that route along with some weird pop culture references mixed in and the occasional dad jokes. Reviewing vehicles for a living is so subjective. And opinions are just that – opinions. And I’ll skip the pop culture and dad jokes this week and spare you all.

So let’s review some facts of the 2022 Volvo XC40. For 2022, Volvo attempts to keep this subcompact SUV/crossover relevant and updated with some minor tweaks to the offerings and features. That’s always important for automakers with such a tight, competitive segment such as this one.

Throughout the years, decades really, Volvo has carved out a niche in the luxury segment. Known for quality, consistency and safety, that reputation hasn’t changed. For the XC40, there’s still all those elements that you come to expect from Volvo. Bundled in a small package, the XC40 will resonate with specific buyers who want to stand out from the pack, but also have a vehicle with some personality both in aesthetics and performance.

On looks, the XC40 stands out as it looks more like an SUV than a crossover. There’s no frilly, rounded, bubbly look to the XC40 as it has a more traditional SUV form. The front end is elegant and distinctive. The back end evokes some sportiness with a spoiler. Volvo’s headlights and taillights continue to be one of the most distinctively designed lights in the industry. The “hammer of Thor” shape is full of personality.

There are two engine choices for the XC40, both are based on a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. The T4 has front-wheel drive only and has 187 horsepower. My tester was the T5, which is tuned up for better performance and as such has 248 horsepower. The eight-speed automatic transmission has some noticeable turbo lag.

With the engine, there’s a little more road and engine noise in the cabin than other Volvos. The ride comfort is still pristine. The calm performance lacks athleticism while offering confidence on the road in its handling and responsive steering.

The five-passenger interior is exactly what you’d expect a Volvo to be and is why Volvo has carved out its niche. Consistent use of materials, attention to details and high-quality touchpoints make the XC40 a standout. Seat positioning for the driver is tremendous but also comfortable. In the back seat, three adults can fit, although for longer trips, they may want for more shoulder room. Rear head room is great and the legroom is adequate, although taller passengers may need to sit diagonally to get more legroom.

Behind the rear seats, there’s 20.7 cubic feet of cargo room. The rear seats do fold down for a total of 57.5 cubic feet. This cargo area is smaller than some of its competitors and puts the XC40 right in the average part of the other vehicles in the segment.

When it comes to technology, the XC40 has all the boxes checked including a 9-inch touchscreen, 12.3-inch digital cluster, smartphone integration (Apple and Android) and an eight-speaker sound system. However often the system is slow to respond, especially when first starting up. This can be confounding. Additionally while the infotainment system does all you would want it to do, the system is a little quirkier than others and thus there’s a larger learning curve to master the technology.

For a non-hybrid engine, the XC40 has impressive fuel economy with an EPA rating of 22 mpg/city and 30 mpg/highway. In a week’s worth of mixed driving, I averaged nearly 26 mpg.

Price for my tester, which was the top-of-the-line trim Inscription, was $42,850. With this trim comes a panoramic moonroof with power shade, leather upholstery, faux wood door inlays and heated front seats.

The fact is, the Volvo XC40 is highly rated amongst the yearly “best of” lists for a reason. For a luxury subcompact SUV, it checks off many of the boxes consumers might want and leaves few boxes unchecked.

Jimmy Dinsmore is a freelance automotive journalist. Email him at jimmydinsmore73@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @driversside

2022 Volvo XC40 T5 Inscription

Price/As tested price................................................ $42,850/$42,850

Mileage.......................................... 22 mpg/city; 30 mpg/hwy

Engine............................................. 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder

Horsepower................................. 248 hp/258 lbs./ft.

Transmission................................. 8-speed automatic

Drive Wheels................ All-wheel drive

Final Assembly Point................ Ghent, Belgium

Combined ShapeCaption
The Volvo XC40 stands out, as it looks more like an SUV than a crossover. The front end is elegant and distinctive. Volvo Media

The Volvo XC40 stands out, as it looks more like an SUV than a crossover. The front end is elegant and distinctive. Volvo Media

Combined ShapeCaption
The Volvo XC40 stands out, as it looks more like an SUV than a crossover. The front end is elegant and distinctive. Volvo Media

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