2021 Volvo XC40, All you want to know & watch about a Great Car
2021 Volvo XC40 Yearlong Review Verdict: Wild Beginnings and Good Karma
A year getting to know the pros and cons of our small and stout XC40.
The incident with the deer and our 2021 Volvo XC40 could’ve been a bad omen. It all started just a few days after we took delivery of our sparkly blue XC40, during its maiden road trip to Central California’s wine country. We came for the wine but had an unfortunate pairing with the wildlife when a deer darted onto the road and rammed into the side of our XC40. The damage was light—just to the fender and door—but it isn’t a good sign if you’re the superstitious type.
Thankfully, our tough little Volvo was as good as new after a few weeks in the body shop. And we’re optimistic the deer made a speedy recovery, too, because karma blessed us with 15 months and 20,314 miles of trouble-free ownership. It was plenty of time for us to figure out our XC40’s pros and cons, which we determined after countless errands and many road trips, including a couple jaunts to Arizona, the Bay Area, and other parts of California.
The XC40 may be Volvo’s tiniest crossover, but there was unanimous praise among our staff for its interior packaging and space. Our XC40’s returned to Central California’s wine country with another editor who easily stuffed the rear cargo area with luggage for two and copious cases of wine. We discovered the XC40 could also accommodate a bike (without taking the front wheel off), and we have no doubt it could haul deer-sized roadkill.
We were also dazzled by the clever storage solutions, including numerous hooks for grocery bags, deep bins below the rear cargo floor, cavernous door pockets large enough for thick Hydro Flasks, and a cute trash bin in the center console. What wasn’t cute was the staffer who forgot to take out the trash. The search for the culprit continues.
Overall, our Volvo’s interior held up extremely well. No squeaks or rattles to report, nor any funky stains or discolorations on the black leather and suede. We had concerns about the piano black trim, but we’re happy to report you’d have to look hard for any noticeable scuffs (Mazda, please take note).
Given the XC40’s short wheelbase and our car’s R-Design package (stiffer suspension and larger 19-inch wheels), we were pleasantly surprised by the smooth ride quality, including the rough roads in and around Los Angeles. That the XC40 was relatively fun to toss around was icing on the cake. The 248-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four proved to be peppy enough to dart around the city or comfortably overtake big rigs on the highway.
The eight-speed automatic gearbox was good, too, always alert for downshifts and smooth with the upshifts. We were less impressed, however, by the SUV’s 23.8-mpg average during its stay with us, especially considering it saw fewer city and stop-and-go traffic miles than usual (due to the pandemic). The EPA rates the XC40 at 22/30/25 mpg city/highway/combined. And some staffers wished for better noise isolation during hard acceleration and noticed faint whistles from the turbo.
The remaining items on our cons list are mostly nitpicks. Staffers were split with the XC40’s steering feel (too vague, said some) and its rough stop/start system (which, thankfully, can be defeated). And there were mixed opinions regarding the Pilot Assist system, which one editor criticized for jerky steering inputs and aggressive braking. Despite the wonky driver assist system, it’s comforting to know that the XC40 received high marks on safety tests conducted by both the NHTSA and IIHS.
There were no complaints when it came to maintenance. Our XC40 only required one service visit for an oil change, which didn’t cost us a penny thanks to complimentary maintenance for three years or 36,000 miles. This is a nice perk you won’t get with some luxury automakers like Mercedes-Benz.
Our previous long-term Mercedes GLC300 (and winner of our 2017 SUV of the Year award), for example, is a tad larger than the XC40 but is also powered by a turbocharged I-4 and set us back $1,000 (though that’s for two service visits). Meanwhile, we spent $651.95 for three service visits with our 2019 Acura RDX (over 25,169 miles) and zero on our 2020 BMW 228i Gran Coupe for one visit since the German brand also includes complimentary maintenance.
We started our 15-month journey with the XC40 wondering if it had what it takes to stand out, especially among the strong German brands. Thanks to its quirky styling, attention to detail, spacious interior, and excellent ride quality, the XC40 solidified its place among our top picks in the subcompact luxury crossover segment that’s flush with competitive choices.
Looks good! More details?
|POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS||2021 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD (R-Design)|
|DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT||Front-engine, AWD|
|ENGINE TYPE||Turbocharged direct-injected I-4, alum block/head|
|VALVETRAIN||DOHC, 4 valves/cyl|
|DISPLACEMENT||120.2 cu in/1,969 cc|
|POWER (SAE NET)||248 hp @ 5,500 rpm|
|TORQUE (SAE NET)||258 lb-ft @ 1,800 rpm|
|WEIGHT TO POWER||15.4 lb/hp|
|SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR||Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar|
|BRAKES, F; R||12.7-in vented, disc; 11.9-in vented disc, ABS|
|WHEELS||7.5 x 19-in cast aluminum|
|TIRES||235/50R19 99H Michelin Primacy MXM4 (M+S)|
|TRACK, F/R||63.0/63.6 in|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||174.2 x 73.3 x 65.3 in|
|GROUND CLEARANCE||8.3 in|
|APPRCH/DEPART ANGLE||21.7/30.4 deg|
|TURNING CIRCLE||37.4 ft|
|CURB WEIGHT||3,807 lb (58/42%)|
|TOWING CAPACITY||3,500 lb|
|HEADROOM, F/R||37.6/38.3 in|
|LEGROOM, F/R||40.9/36.1 in|
|SHOULDER ROOM, F/R||56.7/56.3 in|
|CARGO VOLUME BEH F/R||57.5/21.7 cu ft|
|ACCELERATION TO MPH|
|PASSING, 45-65 MPH||3.3|
|QUARTER MILE||14.7 sec @ 93.0 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||111 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.86 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||27.4 sec @ 0.62 g (avg)|
|TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH||1,650 rpm|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$44,890|
|AIRBAGS||7: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, driver knee|
|BASIC WARRANTY||4 yrs/50,000 miles|
|POWERTRAIN WARRANTY||4 yrs/50,000 miles|
|ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE||4 yrs/Unlimited miles|
|FUEL CAPACITY||14.2 gal|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON||22/30/25 mpg|
|EPA RANGE, COMB||355 mi|
|RECOMMENDED FUEL||Unleaded premium|
|SERVICE LIFE||15 mo / 20,314 mi|
|OPTIONS||Advanced package ($1,300: headlight cleaning, Pilot Assist with adaptive cruise control, surround view camera, 12V outlet in cargo, wireless cell phone charge pad), Harman-Kardon premium audio system ($800); Metallic paint ($645), Park Assist Pilot ($200)|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$44,890|
|AVG FUEL ECON||23.8 mpg|
|TOTAL FUEL COST||$4,021|
|MAINTENANCE COST||$0 (oil change, inspection)|
|3-YEAR RESIDUAL VALUE*||$41,200 (92%)|
|*IntelliChoice data; assumes 42,000 miles at the end of 3-years|