The Volvo XC40 is More Fun Than It Has the Right to Be
Volvo's Smallest Ute Has Something to Prove
Before you slap me for calling a CUV "fun," hear me out: the crossover makes a lot more sense where I currently live. And this crossover has some pretty cool features. But more on those later. I would argue that it is the class leader, and actually has more capability than some bigger CUVs.
Come on, this thing looks brilliant. Volvo might be the only company that has managed to make an entry level compact SUV that both stays faithful to the corporate image (Thor's Hammer headlights, massive beautiful...leaf filled...grille, vertical tailights, etc.) and doesn't look like an XC90 got backed into a wall. The paint on this car is phenomenal, and I absolutely adore it. This does not have the black roof since it is in fact an Inscription trim car.
The car is in fact a class leader in interior design, as are most Volvos. Sure, it's not as impressive as the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 4Matic that I was in last year, but it's also significantly less expensive. The touchscreen is world-class, and puts McLaren and Lamborghini's efforts to shame...as well as most other manufacturers (debatably) sans Tesla. Much to my chagrin, unlike the Polestar One, the door mirror housing does not also rotate when you adjust the mirror positions. But, for an entry level car, this is honestly one of the best executed interiors...ever. It's one of the few small cars I actually feel comfortable in (both in front and in back behind myself), looks just as upscale as its more expensive bretheren, and feels more spacious than it probably actually is (probably due to the massive panoramic sunroof). The ease of entry is above average, given that I didn't need to decapitate or amputate myself to comfortably get in and out of the vehicle.
Okay, so calling it fast would be a bit of a stretch. That said, it is still quite impressive. I maxxed it at around 95 mph, after which it felt unstable (something I credit to its boxy design and short wheelbase). The handling was better than expected (I could pull 45 mph in corners my XC60 test vehicle definitely couldn't) and the ride quality was class-leading (a Volvo is just a giant cloud...prove me wrong). The short wheelbase made the car feel zippier than it probably was, and that's fun! This car felt like a more grown up version of my dad's beloved Honda Fit, except this is a car you can look somewhat respectable turning up at a business meeting in.
Quirks and Features
Props to the master of Quirks and Features
1. You can get the interior door panels in orange. I think it looks dreadful but if that's your thing, go for it while I silently (okay, loudly) criticize your lack of culture.
2. The shift knob is made of Orrefors crystal. Amazingly, it does not look tacky (ahem, BMW 8 Series).
Looking crystal clear
3. The roof can be specced to be a black or white contrast design (not featured on my Inscription tester...this option is Momentum and possibly R-Design exclusive).
4. Unlike many other cars, I could sit behind my front seating position. Granted it wasn't comfortable, but it still beat out a good many competitors (ahem, blasted BMW X1)
laugh at my skinny ass knees all you want
5. The car actually can tow 3500+ lbs. Should you use it for that? Probably not. But it's nice to know you could theoretically use it as a tow car.
Overall, the 2019 XC40 is one of the only small luxury cars worthy of parking in your garage. Unlike the competition, this small car has real utility (as mentioned before, it's tow rated) and is fully in line with brand values. Without question, this is the class leader.