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Volvo XC40 2020 review: T4 Momentum

Streamlined and stylish, the XC40 covers a lot of bases, even in the entry-level model.

If you want an SUV because you like height but you could do without the bulk, a small SUV could be the way to go. And if you’re looking at the luxury end of the market, the Volvo XC40 should be high on your look list.

It’s in a competitive category with cars like the Audi Q3, BMW X2 and Mercedes GLA, where it more than holds its own. 

I test drove the Volvo XC40 T4 Momentum which is the entry-level model and costs $46,990 before on-road costs and extras. Here’s how it did over seven days for this week’s family review. 

What does it look like?

Volvo has really nailed the design of its cars recently, and the XC40 is no exception. It looks sophisticated and quite swish, without feeling OTT or too flashy.

It’s got a modern profile, and the signature Volvo badge on a sleek grille. It’s not particularly sporty looking - this is definitely more Posh Spice than Sporty Spice in the SUV gang - and it has just the right amount of machismo to balance things out. 

The XC40 has a modern profile, and features the signature Volvo badge on a sleek grille. The XC40 has a modern profile, and features the signature Volvo badge on a sleek grille.

The design focus carries through to the interior, and even though I’m in the entry model, you wouldn’t know it. It looks and feels premium.

The seats in our test example were leather (optioned in for an extra $750). Standard on this model are vegan leather seats. The steering wheel comes in leather as standard and feels great to touch.

The seats are also heated and power adjustable in the front - part of the 'Comfort Pack' which costs an extra $1000. 

The seats in this test car are leather and there is a large, panoramic sunroof. The seats in this test car are leather and there is a large, panoramic sunroof.

It’s also fitted with a large, panoramic sunroof which lets lots of light in and is part of the 'Lifestyle Pack' which also includes tinted rear windows and a premium sound system for $3000.

The rest of the interior is stylish, with metallic accents on the dash and doors and a matt black trim around the design centrepiece, a large, 9.0-inch multimedia screen which is vertical, rather than horizontal and is basically like having a large tablet in your car. 

How spacious is it?

Yes, it’s a small SUV but the interior doesn’t feel small, and to me, it’s creeping up to feel more like a mid-size SUV. The front has plenty of leg and headroom, even for the giant friend I had on board this week.

Rear passengers will enjoy a decent amount of room and it was certainly enough for my two children, aged six and eight, who bounded in quite happily.

The front has plenty of leg and headroom. The front has plenty of leg and headroom.

I’m 161cm and had loads of space between my knees and the seat in front of me. Taller teenagers and other adults will be comfortable back there. 

If you must, you can try and fit in a third child seat in the centre but I wouldn’t recommend doing it on a regular basis. It's just too much hard work to fit in and do seat belts up. 

  • The XC40 easily fit the bulky CarsGuide pram. The XC40 easily fit the bulky CarsGuide pram.
  • At 460L it’s not the biggest in class. At 460L it’s not the biggest in class.
  • The boot is a good size for a family. The boot is a good size for a family.
  • Put down the second row of seats for more boot space. Put down the second row of seats for more boot space.

The boot is a good size for a family and easily fit the bulky CarsGuide pram with room to spare for groceries and school bags.

At 460L it’s not the biggest in class, it’s smaller than the Audi Q3 and similar to the BMW X2. For a family of four this was enough, though I think we’d struggle if we were going on a road trip holiday. 

How does it drive?

The XC40 drives beautifully. It’s smooth and feels light on the road, one of the reasons I like this size car, there’s no heaviness and the steering turns easily.

It’s also quite agile and you almost feel as though you’re in a small car - if it wasn’t for the height it that is.

It’s got a 2.0-litre, four cylinder turbo engine which gets up hills quickly and makes it a breeze to coast along highways. This T4 Momentum model is front-wheel drive (FWD), but all-wheel drive (AWD) is available in the the next two models up if that’s important to you for better traction on slippery surfaces. 

The XC40 has a 2.0-litre, four cylinder turbo engine. The XC40 has a 2.0-litre, four cylinder turbo engine.

Parking in the XC40 is fine because of the size, and also because it has a very clear reverse parking camera. Our car was optioned up to include the 360 view camera, and left-hand and right-hand cameras as part of the 'Momentum Technology Pack' ($2000) which also includes 'Park Assist Pilot' (it will park the car by itself without your help).

How easy is it to use every day?

There are a number of power operated features including the tailgate which opens and closes with a button. The front seats are power adjustable with the previously mentioned Comfort Pack ($1000) and the sunroof opens with a button. There’s also keyless entry. 

For storage you’ll find two cupholders in the front, a spot for keys and a phone which also has a 'Qi' (chee) charger, a good sized centre storage bin, bottle holders in each door plus a few extra spaces: a deep stash in the centre console and a secret drawer under the driver’s seat. 

Rear passengers get two cupholders in the back, their own air vents which is one of the first things my children notice, and pockets on the back of the front seats. 

The rear seats have their own air vents. The rear seats have their own air vents.

How safe is it?

Volvo is known for its comprehensive safety and in the XC40 you’ll find auto emergency braking with pedestrian, cyclist and large animal detection. There’s also blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, a lane keeping aid and front and rear collision warnings. 

Volvo is known for its comprehensive safety. Volvo is known for its comprehensive safety.

There are airbags to cover driver and front passenger plus side curtain airbags that extend to the back row. You’ll find two ISOFIX points and three top tether points for kids car seats.

AWD versions of the Volvo XC40 have a maximum five-star ANCAP rating, but this FWD T4 Momentum model is not included in that assessment.

What’s the tech like?

The large touchscreen is a big drawcard, and it features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, which means you can plug your phone in and it instantly syncs with the screen. Use maps to navigate and a streaming app to listen to music. 

Everything is controlled on the touchscreen, including air conditioning, which I didn’t find too annoying (as it can be in some cars).

Everything is controlled on the touchscreen. Everything is controlled on the touchscreen.

The only thing that is slightly harder work, is switching back to CarPlay when you change the radio station. The screen swipes left and right for various controls and it took me a few minutes to realise I should do that. Hardly a complaint, I know.

This car was fitted with a Harmon Kardon Premium sound system (as a part of the Lifestyle Pack) so the audio sounded great. 

How much does it cost to own?

The Volvo XC40 T4 Momentum costs $46,990 before on-road costs and extras. Add the extras on this particular car we tested and the total comes to $54,890. 

Fuel consumption is a claimed 7.2L/100km, and for the week we drove it, it returned 9.5L/100km. 

It's covered by Volvo's three year/unlimited km warranty which is not great when compared with other car companies but on par with other luxury brands. Servicing is recommended every 12 months or 15,000km.

The XC40 is covered by Volvo's three year/unlimited km warranty. The XC40 is covered by Volvo's three year/unlimited km warranty.


The Wrap

For a small SUV the Volvo XC40 really comes through with the goods, even in this entry-level version. I would prefer it over a small car for the height and the interior space. It fits my family of four well and drives beautifully with all the safety you would want for your children. 

I gave it a family rating of 8.1 out of 10, taking points off because it would be even better with an electric motor - and word is that is coming at the end of 2020. My children gave it an 8.0 but they also wanted an electric motor. In fact, they were the ones that brought it up.

Likes

Interior and exterior design
Drives smoothly
Good interior space

Dislikes

Could have a bigger boot
No hybrid/ electric motot
So-so warranty

Scores

Nedahl:

4.1

The Kids:

4

$46,990

Based on new car retail price

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