Volvo XC40 Review & Prices

The Volvo XC40 is a spacious small SUV with smart styling and a comfortable drive. Some of the interior trims aren’t quite up to scratch and you might find the infotainment system fiddly

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RRP £36,720 - £46,370 Avg. Carwow saving £1,933 off RRP
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Reviewed by Carwow after extensive testing of the vehicle.

What's good

  • Sophisticated styling
  • Comfortable on the road
  • Plenty of room for passengers

What's not so good

  • Manual gearbox is unpleasant
  • Some trims not up to scratch
  • Fiddly infotainment system

Find out more about the Volvo XC40

Is the Volvo XC40 a good car?

The Volvo XC40 is a stylish and very trendy SUV that brings cool Scandinavian styling – inside and out – and a wide range of engine options including mild hybrid, plug-in hybrid and even fully-electric models to the table.

The XC40 is Volvo’s smallest SUV, but unlike alternatives such as the BMW X1 or Audi Q3 it doesn’t look like a scaled-down version of larger models in the range – it has its own style. That’s not to say that some of the most appealing aspects of Volvo’s range are missing, though.

We think it’s more youthful-looking than the larger XC60, which you could describe as a tailored shirt to the XC40’s funky tee.

The interior is full of neat details that help the Volvo to stand out. For example, the door trims, armrest and handles are made out of a single piece of plastic and have colour-coded felt-lined inlays. It means there’s some good-sized door bins on the one hand, but yet it also looks stylish inside.

Video triple test: Volvo XC40 versus BMW X1 and Audi Q3

In fact clever interior storage is one of the XC40’s key traits: the central armrest has a removable section that works well as a small waste paper bin; and the large, well-shaped boot features a pop-up divider to hold shopping bags or loose items in place. There’s plenty of space in the cabin for people as well, with nicely adjustable seats and plenty of room in the back.

The Volvo XC40 is a bit of a cracker. It's a sophisticated SUV with an upmarket feel and the icing on the cake is that it's really easy to live with.

There are some small issues with the XC40’s interior, though. Some materials look a bit out of place, certainly below the standard you’ll find in an Audi Q3. And while the touchscreen infotainment system looks great, it’s not as easy to use as the system in a BMW X1.

The XC40 is comfy over bumps, effortless in town, and relaxing on the motorway – so it makes a great everyday car. It’s not as sharp to drive as an X1, but that’s by no means a deal-breaker given its talents elsewhere.

The Volvo XC40 is a bit of a cracker. It's a sophisticated SUV with an upmarket feel and the icing on the cake is that it's really easy to live with

There’s a reasonable range of engines to choose from, although Volvo no longer offers a diesel XC40. The entry-level B3 petrol is quiet and efficient, so good for local trips. The B3 and B4 models use a petrol engine and mild hybrid technology for a small boost in fuel efficiency (B is for battery), and the B4 can be ordered as a 4x4 as well as front-wheel drive.

However, company car drivers should keep in mind the T4 and T5 Recharge plug-in hybrid models will be the cheaper to run – as long as you plug in regularly. There are also two Recharge Electric models which are fully electric and even more tax-efficient for business drivers, with a range of up to 270 miles.

The Volvo XC40 is one of the safest new cars on the road even without adding a single option, but extras such as blind-spot monitoring contribute even more to that. It’s also available with an advanced cruise control system that keeps you a safe distance from the car in front, can automatically keep you in lane and even works in stop-start traffic.

Check out our Volvo XC40 deals to see how much you can save on this upmarket, relaxing and practical SUV, or take a look at the latest used XC40s for sale from a network of trusted dealers. You can also browse other used Volvos available through carwow, and if you need to sell your current car first, we can help with that too.

How much is the Volvo XC40?

The Volvo XC40 has a RRP range of £36,720 to £46,370. However, with Carwow you can save on average £1,933. Prices start at £35,664 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £339. The price of a used Volvo XC40 on Carwow starts at £15,657.

Our most popular versions of the Volvo XC40 are:

Model version Carwow price from
2.0 B3P Core 5dr Auto £35,664 Compare offers

You pay a hefty price for the XC40 considering its size, but then that comes with the territory if you are shopping for an SUV with a premium badge. The BMW X1 costs similar money, although the most affordable versions of the Audi Q3 are a little bit less pricey than the entry-level XC40.

This is a very desirable car which makes for strong demand on the used market, which in turn makes for reasonable monthly payments if you are financing or leasing the Volvo rather than buying it outright.

The plug-in hybrids and all-electric models are the most expensive to buy, but the flipside is these models also promise the lowest running costs. If you are a company car driver, running one of these cars means lower tax bills than if you choose one of the mild hybrids.

Performance and drive comfort

Comfortable to drive, and equally at home in town or on the motorway, although the large rear pillars aren’t helpful in town and when parking

In town

Being the smallest of Volvo’s SUV range is a definite plus around town. The XC40 feels more at home nipping into gaps in traffic than the larger XC60 and XC90, and will comfortably squeeze into smaller parking spaces.

Volvo used to offer the XC40 with a manual gearbox, but now every new XC40 comes with an auto. We don’t think many buyers will miss the manual, as it had a clunky and unpleasant shift. The automatic shifts smoothly and makes for a relaxed drive on busy urban roads.

For the quietest town drive, go for the T4 or T5 plug-in hybrid, or one of the electric versions. These cars accelerate quickly and quietly at low speeds. The regen function that captures energy for the battery can make it harder to brake smoothly, but that’s a common foible with hybrids and EVs.

You sit nice and high in the XC40 – the high-up driving position is something many drivers really like about running an SUV – and this helps give a clear view of the road ahead. The view behind isn’t so clear, though, as the large rear pillars create big blind spots. This is a pain when reverse parking.

On the motorway

Long motorway drives are a pleasure in an XC40. The driving position is very comfortable, and the seats are supportive with plenty of adjustment. You can spend hours behind the wheel without any aches or pains.

If the car is fitted with Volvo’s Pilot Assist system, it will hold a safe distance from the car in front and steer for you. You still need to pay attention, but lots of drivers find this technology makes motorway journeys more relaxed.

The ride is comfortable and stable, and wind and road noise don’t disturb the peace too much. Maybe the only downside to the XC40 as a mile-muncher is that there are no longer any diesel models, which would be more fuel-efficient on a long drive than the mild-hybrid petrols.

On a twisty road

The XC40 handles neatly enough but blasting about on a B-road isn’t really what this car is all about. Comfort rather than excitement is what the Volvo offers. If you want a SUV that’s really sporty and entertaining to drive, consider the BMW X1 instead.

You can override the automatic gearbox and change gear for yourself if you want a bit more involvement, but you need to nudge the lever from side to side rather than back and forth. That’s different from just about every other auto gearbox and doesn’t feel intuitive.

Leave the auto to its own devices and it tends to be a little slow to grab a lower gear if you put your foot down. Like we say, cruising rather than rushing about is what the Volvo’s good at.

Space and practicality

There’s plenty of room for four with lots of storage, but the boot capacity isn’t quite a match for the best premium small SUVs

If you need space for four, or five at a pinch, the XC40 has you covered. It may be smaller than Volvo’s other XC models, but this is still a practical family SUV.

There’s lots of room for the driver and front seat passenger, and people are scarcely worse off travelling in the back. Even if you go for a model with a panoramic sunroof, there’s plenty of headroom. Legroom is generous enough for tall adults to get comfy.

Three can travel in the back without too much elbow-rubbing and the middle of the rear bench is comfortable. The thick transmission tunnel does get in the way of the middle passenger’s feet, though.

Volvo has thought carefully about storage. Apart from the small glovebox, there’s lot of space. The front door bins have room for two large bottles of water, and while the door bins in the back aren’t quite as big they are still useful. There’s a lot of room under the centre armrest in the front too.

The boot is a decent size, although the 452-litre capacity is smaller than the boot in the BMW X1 and Mercedes GLA. Fold the seats down and you have plenty of room to bring home your flat-pack furniture from Ikea.

Space in the back seats

The back seats of the Volvo XC40 are roomy enough for six-footers to get comfortable. Even if you go for an XC40 with a panoramic sunroof there’s still enough headroom. ISOFIX child-seat mounting points are standard and the back doors open reasonably wide, so fitting a child seat is straightforward.

Being a wide car, the XC40 has room for three across the rear bench and the middle seat is reasonably comfy. If the middle seat isn’t occupied, there’s a fold-down armrest with cupholders built in.

If we have a criticism of the back seats of the XC40, it’s that the upward kick of the rear window line makes you feel a bit hemmed in. It’s an attractive styling feature from the outside, but we’d rather have a larger window to look out of.

Boot space

It may not be the biggest boot, but the luggage space is packed with clever features.

Volvo has got the fundamentals right, so there’s no load lip to put a strain on your back and the boot opening is nice and wide. The 452-litre capacity doesn’t sound all that impressive, but you’ll be surprised how much you can squeeze in. It’s well down on the BMW X1’s 540 litres, but it’s bigger than the 420 litres in the Audi Q3.

With the back seats folded there’s 1,328 litres of space, compared with 1,600 litres in the BMW and 1,325 litres in the Audi. There’s also more storage under the floor (with enough space to stow the parcel shelf).

All models have a powered tailgate, and all but the most basic Core spec cars have handsfree opening and closing.

Interior style, infotainment and accessories

The XC40 is well made and stylish inside – just as you’d expect of a Volvo – but the clever infotainment system isn’t without its pitfalls

Volvo’s interior design has come a long way in the past decade or so. With one or two reservations, the XC40’s cabin is a class act.

Here and there you may notice inconsistent gaps between panels that wouldn’t be signed off by Audi. But most of the plastics are soft to touch and with just a few exceptions the materials look expensive.

The design is clean and minimal, with an uncluttered look that many buyers will find really appealing.

The entry-level Core model and the mid-spec Plus have textile upholstery. Ultimate cars are upholstered in part-textile, part-Microtech – artificial leather to you and me. If you want real leather, it’s a cost option on Plus and Ultimate cars.

As well as different spec levels, the XC40 comes in different ‘themes’, called Dark and Bright. You can probably guess what they look like from their names. Dark is the moodier of the two, with gloss black interior trim, whereas Bright adds splashes of silver and chrome.

Every XC40 comes with a 9.0-inch touchscreen, in an unusual portrait orientation. It looks great, and if you choose the Recharge plug-in hybrid or fully electric models it runs Google Automotive Services with voice recognition and Google Assistant. Four years of data for running apps and connected services is included.

This is where things get a bit confusing, because although the mild hybrids get what looks like the same screen, it doesn’t run the Google operating system. For many buyers that’s a good thing, as it’s compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto when the Google system isn’t, which seems like a bit of an own goal to us. The omission of Apple CarPlay was sorted by an over-air update during the summer of 2022. It’s not certain if Android Auto will be added, as the Google system already offers many of the same functions.

Whichever operating system the car has, the screen is an absolute magnet for mucky fingerprints, and it can be distracting to use on the move. Systems with a rotary controller, like BMW’s iDrive, are easier to use without taking your eyes from the road. So much is included in the various on-screen menus that we can’t help thinking a few more physical buttons would have made life more straightforward to the driver, even if it compromised the Volvo’s minimalist style.

MPG, emissions and tax

You can drive around without any exhaust emissions if you choose the Recharge Electric, which is available with front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, if you choose the more powerful Recharge Twin. Although expensive for private buyers, these are ideal for company car drivers as they sit in the 2% tax bracket for 2022/23. The front-wheel-drive Recharge has an official range of up to 264 miles, rising to 270 for the Recharge Twin.

Best of the rest for emissions and tax are the plug-in hybrids which are also badged Recharge and come with two different power outputs, although in this case both send power to the front wheels. If you are a company driver both have attractive tax bandings, although less so than the pure-electric models. They have identical official economy figures, although real-world efficiency will depend on how often you recharge. The all-electric range is up to 289 miles, which is a little disappointing.

The petrol mild hybrids are more affordable to buy but more expensive to fuel. The most economical is the front-wheel-drive B3 (P), which returns up to 42.7mpg depending on specification. The difference between this model and the other mild hybrids is very small, so you won’t pay a big penalty at the pumps if you want the extra power of the B4 (P).

Safety and security

Volvo’s reputation for safety is no accident, if you’ll excuse the pun. It has a track record of safety innovation and strong crash test results.

The safety gurus at Euro NCAP tested the XC40 back in 2018 and awarded the car five stars out of five. It helps that so many safety systems are standard, including City Safety, an autonomous emergency braking system that can detect animals, cyclists and pedestrians as well as other cars. In fact, if we listed all the features to help you avoid a crash or keep you safe if the worst happens we’d be here all day.

Security kit includes an alarm and immobiliser, private locking for the tailgate, and home safe and approach lighting (which leaves the lights on after you park up to safely see you to your door).

Reliability and problems

There have been a handful of recalls during the XC40’s life to fix various problems, including an issue with the autonomous emergency braking system and a loose nut in part of the car’s braking system. We wouldn’t worry about that, though – the odd recall is not unusual.

We’re not hearing many bad reports about the XC40’s reliability. It generally performs solidly in both owner satisfaction surveys and reliability studies. If anything, the petrol models have fewer issues than the diesels, which is good for anyone buying a new XC40 as the diesels are no longer available.

Volvo offers only the basic three-year/60,000-mile warranty on its products.

Buy or lease the Volvo XC40 at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £36,720 - £46,370 Avg. Carwow saving £1,933 off RRP
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