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2020 Volvo XC40 Review

The 2020 Volvo XC40 ranks near the top of the luxury subcompact SUV class. It boasts powerful engine choices, an upscale interior, and ample seating space.

Pros & Cons

  • Solid engine options
  • Nice interior
  • Roomy seating
  • Long list of standard features
  • Subpar cargo capacity
  • Some tricky infotainment functions

New for 2020

  • Leather upholstery no longer standard
  • Power-folding rear seats no longer available

8.3

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 9.1
Performance: 8.4
Interior: 8.2
Safety:
This rating isn’t available yet for the current model year. In the meantime, last year’s rating of 10.0 for safety is being used to calculate this vehicle’s overall score.
TBD
Reliability:
This rating isn’t available yet for the current model year. In the meantime, last year’s rating of 2.5 for reliability is being used to calculate this vehicle’s overall score.
TBD

Is the Volvo XC40 a Good SUV?

Yes, the Volvo XC40 is an outstanding luxury subcompact SUV and a great value. It has one of the lowest starting prices in the class while offering many of the highlights you’ll find in pricier rivals. The XC40 has punchy engines, balanced handling, two rows of spacious seats, and a long list of standard infotainment and advanced safety features. One of the few knocks on this luxury crossover is that its cargo capacity is on the small side compared to class rivals.

Should I Buy the Volvo XC40?

It’s hard to get more bang for your buck in this class. The Volvo XC40 has a slightly below-average price, but it has many of the same attributes as more expensive vehicles like the BMW X2 and Jaguar E-Pace.

Compare the XC40, X2, and E-Pace »

Should I Buy a New or Used Volvo XC40?

Volvo introduced the XC40 as an all-new luxury subcompact SUV for the 2019 model year. The biggest change for 2020 is that leather upholstery no longer comes standard. Instead, the base XC40 Momentum comes with Volvo's T-Tec upholstery (cloth cushions with synthetic leather bolsters). You can add genuine leather upholstery in the base model, and it comes standard in higher trims. Volvo also did away with power-folding rear seats and shuffled some features between packages.

If you’re interested in these comfort and convenience features, you can probably save money by getting a very similar older model instead. Check out our 2019 XC40 review to help make your decision. You can also check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2019 and 2020 XC40 »

We Did the Research for You: 13 Reviews Analyzed

We analyzed 13 Volvo XC40 reviews – along with interior dimensions, fuel economy estimates, and more – to help you decide if the 2020 XC40 is the right new car for you. This 2020 Volvo XC40 review incorporates applicable research for all model years in this generation, which includes the 2019 through 2020 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. To remain objective, we don't accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside team manages the advertising on our site.

How Much Does the Volvo XC40 Cost?

The 2020 XC40 starts at $33,700, which is a little below average for a luxury subcompact SUV. Two higher trim levels start at $39,950 and $40,450. All three of those price tags are with the standard T4 powertrain, which consists of a turbocharged engine and front-wheel drive. You can add the more powerful T5 engine and all-wheel drive to any trim for $2,000.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Volvo dealer.

Volvo XC40 Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Volvo XC40 or Jaguar E-Pace?

The Jaguar E-Pace costs about $5,200 more than the XC40, but it comes up short in comparison. The Volvo has a roomier cabin and a longer list of standard features, including a digital instrument display, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and satellite radio. The XC40 also has a better-looking cabin with higher-quality materials. Both SUVs offer a choice between two small turbocharged engines, but the XC40 boasts the better performance thanks to its responsive transmission. The Jaguar’s nine-speed automatic transmission can be hesitant to shift, and it's not very responsive overall. The Volvo is the better buy in this comparison.

Which Is Better: Volvo XC40 or BMW X1?

The BMW X1 is one of the only classmates that outshine the XC40. It delivers the well-rounded performance and richly appointed cabin you’d expect from BMW. Though the X1 only has one engine option, it has plenty of power and accelerates with ease. This luxury subcompact SUV has poised handling and a suspension system that does a nice job of blending comfort and athleticism. Both SUVs have attractive interiors and spacious back seats, but the BMW has more cargo room. You can’t go wrong with either option, just know that the X1's starting price is about $1,200 more than the XC40's.

Compare the XC40, E-Pace, and X1 »

XC40 Interior

How Many People Does the XC40 Seat?

The Volvo XC40 seats five people and offers better seating accommodations than some other luxury subcompact SUVs. Both rows have ample headroom, even for taller passengers, but the seats aren't as plush or supportive as what you'd find in more upmarket Volvo cars and SUVs. The front seats offer good outward visibility.

XC40 and Child Car Seats

The XC40 has two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on the rear outboard seats and an upper tether on the rear middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the system the second-highest rating of Acceptable for ease of use.

The tether anchors are easy to find and are distinct from other hardware on the back of the seats. It's also easy to locate and reach the lower anchors, since they're behind plastic flaps and in cutout portions of the seat bottoms. However, there's not a lot of room to maneuver your hands around to attach the car-seat straps.

XC40 Interior Quality

Volvo's entry-level model has one of the lower prices in the luxury subcompact SUV class, but it incorporates some of the elegance and panache of larger SUVs like the XC60 and XC90. The build quality is generally good, and the cabin design is sleek yet simple.

Discerning luxury shoppers may take issue with Volvo's choice to remove genuine leather upholstery from the standard features list for 2019. The base model now comes with Volvo's T-Tec upholstery, a combination of cloth cushion coverings and synthetic leather bolsters. It's nice enough, but the cloth is out of place in a luxury class. The 2019 XC40 came standard with leather upholstery, so the choice to make it optional could be seen as a step down for the model.

XC40 Cargo Space

The XC40 offers 20.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats and 47.2 cubic feet with them folded down. These figures are so-so for the class, but real-world utility is better. The cargo hold is versatile and has several unique features to help you make the most of it.

A fold-up cargo floor opens up more space, in addition to providing hooks for grocery or shopping bags. A trunk divider keeps gear separate. You can also opt for in-cabin storage upgrades like a hidden bin under the driver's seat.

XC40 Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The XC40’s standard Sensus Connect infotainment system features a vertical 9-inch touch screen that’s more reminiscent of a tablet than the horizontal displays in other cars. Most functions rely entirely on the touch screen, so this system may take some getting used to. A number of reviewers say the SUV would benefit from some physical knobs for things like climate control.

The interface functions well, offering standard smartphone integration support via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as well as a Wi-Fi hot spot. Available options include dual-zone automatic climate control, navigation, a 13-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system, and wireless device charging.

Read more about interior »

XC40 Performance

XC40 Engine: Solid Turbo-Fours

The XC40 comes standard with a 187-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and a 248-horsepower variant is optional. The XC40 feels punchy no matter which version of the turbo-four is under the hood, with spry acceleration off the line and high-end passing power. They’re both mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission that's eager to downshift when you need more power, clicking off routine shifts without missing a beat.

XC40 Gas Mileage: In the Middle

The XC40 and its standard engine return an EPA-estimated 23 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. Those figures are in line with many other luxury subcompact SUVs. The more powerful engine gets 22 mpg city and 30 mpg highway.

XC40 Ride and Handling: Largely Stable

The XC40 isn’t the most fun small crossover to drive, but it handles curves with enthusiasm, and the ride quality is mostly good. The XC40 dispatches small bumps in the road with ease, but larger ones – especially at higher speeds – cause the SUV to jostle around a bit.

Front-wheel drive is standard with the base engine, while the optional engine only comes with all-wheel drive.

Read more about performance »

XC40 Reliability

Is the Volvo XC40 Reliable?

The 2020 Volvo XC40 does not yet have a predicted reliability rating from J.D. Power, but the nearly identical 2019 XC40 gets a 2.5 out of five, which is below average.

Volvo XC40 Warranty

Volvo covers the XC40 with a four-year/50,000-mile warranty.

Read more about reliability »

XC40 Safety

XC40 Crash Test Results

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash tested the 2020 Volvo XC40.

The IIHS named the nearly identical 2019 XC40 a Top Safety Pick+, the highest award bestowed by the organization. The SUV earned the highest rating of Good in all six crash tests, as well as the top rating of Superior for the effectiveness of its standard front crash prevention features. The XC40's optional adaptive headlights received a rating of Good for how well they illuminate the road ahead. However, the standard headlights received the lowest rating of Poor.

XC40 Safety Features

Like most Volvo vehicles, the XC40 comes standard with a good amount of active safety and driver assistance features, including forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, automatic high-beam headlights, and a rearview camera. Traffic sign recognition, road departure mitigation, and oncoming collision mitigation are also standard.

Optional safety features include adaptive headlights, cornering fog lights, adaptive cruise control, a surround-view parking camera, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, reverse automatic braking, and front and rear parking sensors.

The available Pilot Assist system controls your speed relative to cars around you, and it provides steering input to keep you centered in your lane. Despite the name, this is not a semi- or fully autonomous driving mode. The driver is always responsible for safe operation of the vehicle.

Read more about safety »

XC40 Dimensions and Weight

The Volvo XC40 is 14.5 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,492 to 3,975 pounds.

Where Is the 2020 Volvo XC40 Built?

Volvo builds the 2020 XC40 in Belgium.

Which Volvo XC40 Model Is Right for Me?

The Volvo XC40 is available in three trim levels: Momentum, R-Design, and Inscription. The standard T4 model features a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive, while the optional T5 has a more powerful turbo engine matched with all-wheel drive. The latter adds $2,000 to the purchase price of any T4 model. All trims are available with both powertrains.

Your best bet is to buy a well-equipped base trim and choose from a number of packages and individual options to suit your needs and budget. The standard XC40 includes goodies like smartphone integration, a Wi-Fi hot spot, and a long list of active safety features. You can add leather seats for $1,100. You may also want to spring for the Advanced package, which offers more safety and driver assistance features.

Volvo XC40 Momentum

The base 2020 XC40 Momentum starts at $33,700. Standard features include cloth and synthetic leather upholstery, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, automatic climate control, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, and a power liftgate.

The standard infotainment system consists of a 9-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a Wi-Fi hot spot, an eight-speaker stereo, HD Radio, satellite radio, three USB ports, and Bluetooth. The XC40 also comes standard with forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, road departure mitigation, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, oncoming collision mitigation, traffic sign recognition, automatic high-beam headlights, and a rearview camera.

Leather upholstery is available for $1,100. Heated front seats and a heated steering wheel can be had for $750. The Advanced package costs $1,750 and adds adaptive headlights, cornering fog lights, adaptive cruise control, a surround-view parking camera, and the Pilot Assist system. For $1,900, the Premium package gives you wireless device charging, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, reverse automatic braking, and front and rear parking sensors.

The $600 Convenience package comes with dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-way power-adjustable passenger seat, a removable trunk floor, and power-folding headrests. The Multimedia package retails for $1,850, and you'll get navigation and a 13-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system.

Volvo XC40 R-Design

The XC40 R-Design starts at $39,950 and comes with leather upholstery, navigation, a panoramic moonroof, and unique interior and exterior design elements. The R-Design also includes the Premium and Convenience packages. With this trim, the Advanced package costs $1,400.

Volvo XC40 Inscription

The XC40 Inscription retails for $40,450. It closely matches the R-Design in features and options. It also has premium unique appearance features like a crystal shift knob.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Volvo dealer.

See 2020 Volvo XC40 specs and trims »

The Final Call

Whether it’s performance, comfort, space, or technology, the Volvo XC40 has something for everybody. Its well-rounded appeal includes a charming interior, a solid list of standard features, and a reasonable price tag.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "Its base price falls well below the priciest competitors, but there are others that come in a little lower. That said, the XC40 feels like a better value at its price point than many others do at theirs." -- Edmunds
  • "The cheeky XC40 makes the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Mercedes GLA look like old fuddy-duddies, and the driving experience gives the Mini Countryman a run for its money. Add in the reasonable price, high equipment level, and available hassle-free subscription plan, and the XC40 appears to be right on point. Like any little sibling, the XC40 is obviously clamoring for attention-and I think it's going to get plenty." -- Automobile Magazine (2019)
  • "It's hard to make an expensive cheap car, but the XC40 pulls it off. With a sensible mix of standard and optional equipment, and styling both inside and out that feels more premium than the competition, the XC40 is ready to take the compact SUV segment by storm. If you aren't so attached to badge recognition that you're willing to think outside the box, investigating this car should be at the top of your to-do list." -- CNET (2019)
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2020 Volvo XC40

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