As of right now, the BMW X1 is one of the best small luxury crossovers on the market. In its segment, it competes with the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class and Audi Q3, among some others, but the X1 is objectively the best of them. It has more cargo space, better performance, better handling, a more comfortable interior and more technology. It’s a great car, regardless of what enthusiasts say about its front-wheel drive nature. However, there’s going to be a new competitor to the segment that could really shake the X1’s world up. Welcome the Volvo XC40.
Slotted under the newly released XC60, the Volvo XC40 is the smallest SUV in the Swedish brand’s lineup but it’s also the most interesting looking. You can tell that it was designed for youths in mind, millennials more specifically. That’s because it was designed by a millennial. The exterior styling was designed by a young man by the name of Ian Kettle, who is only 31 years old. Kettle actually submitted the design a few years ago, immediately after finishing school at the Royal College of Art So it’s no wonder that it looks so modern.
All of Volvo’s SUVs look good at the moment, with the XC90 and XC60 being some of the most handsome people haulers on the road. This new XC40 is no exception. In fact, it looks better than the other two. As it stands right now, I don’t think it’s unfair to call it the best looking car in its class. From the front, it’s all corporate Volvo but that’s no bad thing, as it has a handsome mug. It’s in profile and at the back where it looks best. From the side, It’s sort of boxed dimensions, short overhangs and flared wheel arches give it a very athletic look. The way the C-pillar sweeps upward is also really nice. Out back, the design is kept simple but tasteful and keeps all of Volvo’s current design cues. The roof spoiler looks good and adds to the sporty look of the XC40.
If you get the XC40 R-Design, you get more stylish wheels, a gloss black roof and black mirrors. It’s a very youthful look but it looks good. IF you’re going to buy a Volvo XC40, go for the R-Design.
Inside is where customers are really going to like this new Volvo. The cabin is just as pretty as it is in the larger SUVs but with some more modern looking touches. For instance, the dash trim is a sort of textured plastic with little silver squares over black, and it looks fresh and modern without being to chintzy (I’m looking at you, Cadillac). XC40s will also get the same 9.0 in touchscreen infotainment system as the XC60, which works very well. It may not be as intuitive as BMW’s iDrive but it’s among the best touchscreen systems ever made. But it isn’t just pretty, as there are tons of storage spaces, something Jonas Engström, Volvo’s 40-series car boss, stressed. So it’s a very usable and practical car as well.
Under the hood, there will be two engine options in the US at launch. A 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder will power both. In XC40 T4-spec, it will get just the 2.0 liter turbo-four, making around 200 hp, and will be mated to an eight-speed gearbox and front-wheel drive only. The XC40 T5 will get the same turbo-four, only with Volvo’s Drive-E technology to make 250 hp and will get all-wheel drive. A three-cylinder hybrid model is on its way and Europe gets a 180 hp 2.0 liter turbo-diesel as an option as well.
Pricing for the Volvo XC40 starts at $34,195, which is about the same as a BMW X1. What’s even more interesting is the extra buying option Volvo is offering. So much like the way you lease your smartphone nowadays, Volvo is offering a certain sort of lease program, called “Care by Volvo”. Essentially, it’s a subscription service where you pay a flat fee, that includes the car payment, insurance and taxes, and all maintenance is covered by Volvo. You also get some other perks, such as the ability to let a friend borrow the car with a temporary “key”, which allows someone permission to drive the car using their smartphone as the key, temporarily. You can also trade your XC40 for a different Volvo for a brief period of time if, for instance, you need to move and you need a bigger car for the weekend. It’s the sort of program that will get millennials very interested in this new Swede.
We won’t know for sure if the Volvo XC40 will be a good car or not until we drive it. However, it’s shaping up to be an interesting and good looking one. So we’re curious how it takes on the BMW X1 when it finally debuts.