Competes with: Audi Q3, BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class
Looks like: A truncated XC60 with a lot of C-pillar
Drivetrains: 248-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with eight-speed automatic transmission (T5); forthcoming T4 TBD; front- or all-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: Spring 2018
Volvo's newest SUV, the XC40, is also its smallest. Anchoring the bottom end of the Swedish automaker's SUV lineup, the XC40 competes with a slew of entry-level luxury SUVs — from German entrants like the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class to the Lexus NX, Jaguar E-Pace and Infiniti QX30.
Volvo tells us the XC40 will go on sale "around spring 2018." It will come as an all-wheel-drive T5 at first, priced (including destination) to start at $36,195; that's $6,300 less than the larger XC60. A front-wheel-drive T4 will join the lineup in summer 2018 and start at $34,195, which puts the XC40 right in the thick of competitors' entry pricing.
Of note, the automaker will launch a program called Care by Volvo that allows XC40 ownership on a monthly-fee basis that includes insurance and maintenance, with the option to upgrade to a new car every 12 months. More details will come at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show in November, Volvo says.
The XC40 reprises the avant-garde flavor of its larger XC90 and XC60 siblings, albeit in truncated form. The result is a tidy, high-beltline SUV with a high stance and short enough overhangs to suggest off-road chops and a high driving position. That's a welcome departure from the glorified-hatchback profiles in rivals like the GLA-Class and QX30. The XC40's beltline kicks up into an enveloping C-pillar — a common styling trick among small SUVs, but one that can sacrifice over-the-shoulder visibility.
The five-seat cabin's muted textures and deft simplicity should look familiar if you've been in an XC60 or XC90. Volvo promises ample storage space, including a bin ahead of the cupholders with wireless smartphone charging. Between a pair of tall air vents is Volvo's now-familiar dashboard touchscreen — a big, 9-inch vertical unit that integrates most climate and audio controls. It's angled slightly toward the driver and sports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A four-year subscription to Volvo's On Call telematics service and smartphone app is standard.
Under the Hood
The T5 has a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 248 horsepower and 258 pounds-feet of torque; it pairs with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Specs for the T4 — also a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder — are still to come, Volvo told us. The XC40 will eventually offer hybrid and fully electric versions, too.
The XC40's standard City Safety system includes low-speed collision warning and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian and animal detection. Volvo's Pilot Assist semi-autonomous system is also available.
Check out the full XC40 photo gallery here.