Pros-Stylish, refined, fast. Fairly roomy. Good handling. All-wheel drive. Many safety features.
Cons-Offbeat gear selector. Frustrating infotainment system. Short backseat cushion.
Bottom Line-One of the best luxury youth-oriented compact SUVs,
Volvo slugged it out of the park with its new 2019 XC40 T5 Momentum luxury sport utility vehicle, which is designed to appeal to younger buyers.
The XC40 is stylish, reasonably roomy, fast and refined. The smallest SUV offered by Volvo, it's the automaker's first entry in the compact SUV market and is accompanied in the Volvo SUV market by the larger XC60 and XC90. Not that the 3,854-pound XC40 is all that small with a 174.2-inch length. It's the first model on Volvo Cars' new Compact Modular Architecture, which will underpin other upcoming vehicles in the automaker's 40 Series.
Rivas include the Audi Q3, BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA and Lexus NX.
It takes a little extra effort to get in, but occupants sit high in the intelligently designed quiet, premium interior. The ultra-supportive front seats have leather upholstery, and there's a push button start, automatic climate control, unique metal and upscale textile materials, along with plenty of storage areas. The optional heated steering wheel and front seats operate quickly in frigid weather.
There's an optional panoramic sunroof, and a $1,400 Premium Package contains items. They include adaptive cruise control that handles acceleration, braking and steering with driver involvement, power folding rear seatbacks and power tailgate. There's also a pilot-assist automatic drive system that will give motorists a taste of what driverless vehicles will be like.
It's pretty roomy up front, but the rear seat area has no surplus of space, and the short seatback cushions are only moderately comfortable. However, there's a large center armrest with cupholders back there. A thick "C" pillar obstructs visibility through the back windows, but the outside rearview mirrors with turn signals are large and have an optional heated feature.
The cargo area is roomy and becomes exceptionally spacious when the rear seatbacks are (easily) flipped forward.
Annoyances? The electronic gear selector often calls for two taps to change gears-obviously a Volvo "fail-safe" shift feature. The central control screen for such things as the the infotainment system can involve too much attention, with eyes off the road. But applications such as Spotify, Pandora and Yelp are available via the center touch screen, besides Volvo's Apple CarPlay and Android auto integration.
The steering is quick but a bit heavy, and handling is quite good, although I noticed a little more body sway than expected when driving quickly through curves. Helping keep the XC40 steady despite an 8.3-inch ride height are advanced electronic stability control and the standard AWD system. Strong anti-lock brakes are always on your side. The ride is supple, although on the firm side, and occupants can feel some of bumps.
A driver can switch the XC40 from "Eco" to "Comfort" to "Off-Road" and to "Dynamic," modes. "Dynamic" is the sportiest driving mode as it tightens things things up, but it does't make the XC40 all that much sportier than when it's in "Comfort" mode.
The $35,200 XC40 T5 AWD Momentum I tested had a turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder engine with 248 horsepower and a responsive eight-speed automatic transmission. It's quick, off the line, despite a bit of initial turbo lag, and gathers speed smoothly. The 0-60 time is 6.2 seconds, and passing on highways is a breeze.(A $33,200 front-drive model with a 2-liter 187-horsepower four-cylinder also is available.)
Estimated fuel economy is 23 miles per gallon in the city and 31 on highways. Red flag: Premium fuel is called for to fill the 14.2-gallon gasoline tank.
Being a Volvo, The XC40 T5 Momentum AWD has a flock of safety features, including a City Safety collision avoidance system, which includes pedestrian, cycle, vehicle and large animal detection with emergency auto brake. Safety and driver assistance features include Pilot Assist, Run-Off Road protection and mitigation, Rear Park Assist Camera, Cross Traffic alert with brake support and a 360-degree camera.
The new XC40 T5 AWD Momentum shows that Volvo can compete with upscale models from a variety of competitors.