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Parkers overall rating: 4.3 out of 5 4.3

Popular family SUV is easy to like

Volvo XC40 SUV Review Video
Enlarge 1 videos Enlarge 23 photos

PROS

  • Impressive safety tech
  • Excellent practicality
  • Refined with good ride
  • Premium-looking cabin

CONS

  • Not particularly fun to drive
  • Diesel engine can be noisy
  • Petrol economy not that impressive
  • Large rear blindspot

At a glance

New price £28,965 - £42,305
Lease from new From £296 per month
Used price £19,465 - £37,815
Used monthly cost £480 - £933
Fuel economy 39 - 58 mpg
Road tax cost £145 - £455
Insurance group 22 - 33 How much is it to insure?

PROS

  • Impressive safety tech
  • Excellent practicality
  • Refined with good ride
  • Premium-looking cabin

CONS

  • Not particularly fun to drive
  • Diesel engine can be noisy
  • Petrol economy not that impressive
  • Large rear blindspot

Volvo XC40 SUV rivals

Audi
Q3
4 out of 5 4.0

The smallest of Volvo’s trio of SUVs, the XC40, offers buyers an entry point to the Swedish brand’s range, yet doesn’t compromise on the stylish looks or high-end safety kit available in larger models. Built on the company’s CMA (Compact Modular Architecture) platform, the XC40 shares much of its technology with its pricier XC60 and XC90 siblings, including upcoming hybrid and all-electric powertrains.

Predictably, there are a lot of rivals to consider, but the pick of the crop currently includes the BMW X1Audi Q3 and the Range Rover Evoque, with the latter being our favourite of all the small premium SUVs. The XC40 will have to be very good indeed to beat the small Rangie.

Safety: class-leading levels of kit

Volvo’s exceptional reputation for safety continues with the XC40. Confirming its status, it received a full five-star safety rating when it was assessed by Euro NCAP in summer 2018. Central to this is the standard-fit City Safety pack. Capable of detecting vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and large animals, the technology will alert the driver or automatically apply the brakes if it detects that a collision is imminent.

It's also available with the company's constantly-improving Pilot Assist adaptive cruise and lane-keeping system, which does a reasonable job of handling motorways and A-roads in a semi-autonomous manner. As part of its plan to stop a driver being seriously injured or killed in one of its vehicles by 2020, Volvo will limit the top speed of its cars to 112mph. The XC40 will be one of the cars affected by this new feature. 

Engines: petrol and diesels, PHEV to follow

The XC40 is offered with a number of petrol engines in a range that's expanding to meet the demands of compact SUV buyers. Volvo says that its petrol engines account for around 50% of sales, which is quite a turnaround from market expectations of even a couple of years ago. For the Swedes, the dash from diesel is happening quickly.

The petrol lineup starts with the three-cylinder front-wheel drive T3, which is available in manual form only. With 156hp on tap, its 0-60mph time is a sprightly 9.1 seconds – and yet its official claimed fuel economy is 45mpg. The bigger-selling four-wheel drive T4 is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder with 190hp and a 0-60mph time of 8.2 seconds. The top-of-the range petrol model wears the legendary T5 badge, and packs 247hp. It's pretty much a hot-hatch in disguise, with a claimed 0-60mph time of 6.5 seconds – which is enough to keep most drivers amused.

Diesel models are limited to 150 (D3) and 190hp (D4) versions of the same 2.0-litre engine, with the latter available in six-speed manual and eight-speed geartronic automatic transmission versions. In terms of which is the better option – the petrol T4 adds sparkle over the T3, while the T5's additional performance fails to add significant appeal to this well-rounded package, while the 190hp diesel is still a bit of a star – and probably the best all-rounder for most families' needs.

Plug-in hybrid available to order from 2019

The T5 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid is available to order from autumn 2019, with deliveries for the first quarter of 2020.

Volvo XC40 2017 dash

Spacious cabin and clever storage solutions

Volvo has clearly gone to a lot of effort to make the XC40’s cabin as user-friendly as possible. For starters, there’s more than enough room for four adults (plus a child in the middle rear seat) with head and legroom in the back a particular highlight. Up front, Volvo’s designers have carved out generous amounts of space for storing larger items such as laptops and 1.5-litre bottles of water. Other handy features include a hook for hanging shopping under the glovebox and slots for credit cards by the steering wheel.

The boot is large if not class-leading, and features underfloor storage and rear seats that fold down completely flat at the flick of a switch. One of the main draws to the XC40 will surely be its high-quality feeling interior. R-Design and Inscription models benefit from the use of materials such as wood and leather, while all cars come with a 9.0-inch central touchscreen for its Sensus infortainment system and a 12.3-inch TFT driver information display in place of traditional dials.

For anyone moving from another model in the Volvo range, the XC40's interior will feel immediately familiar and non-threatening. In fact, the only point of difference between this and the larger 60- and 90-series models is the starter, which is a dash-mounted button as opposed to the knob you twist in the centre console. Overall quality is excellent, and there's very little evidence of this car's entry-level status in the Volvo range.

Comfortable, but not sharp to drive

The XC40 is probably the least sporty feeling car in its class. And while this might not be saying much given its list of rivals its setup is unmistakably comfort-orientated. Refinement is excellent – even if the diesel engine is a little gruff – while the ride comfort is accomplished even on the larger alloy wheels. But worthy of note is the car's smooth ride, which easily eclipses its German rivals, and when combined with the XC40's excellent front seats and low overall levels of noise, makes this a genuinely impressive long-distance cruiser.

But judging by the number of XC40s on the roads now, it's already proving a hit with buyers, and helping Volvo establish itself as one of the established premium carmakers.

Read the Parkers full review to find out of this sharply-styled SUV really is worth considering.

Volvo XC40 SUV rivals

Audi
Q3
4 out of 5 4.0