New Volvo XC40 Review

RRP from
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This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
  • Cool styling
  • Comfortable
  • Spacious
  • Manual gearbox
  • Some poorly built interior bits
  • Fiddly infotainment system
39.8 - 56.5
CO2 emissions
131 - 166 g/km
First year road tax
£205 - £515
Safety rating

The Volvo XC40 is a small SUV that has funky styling and is comfortable to drive. Inside, it’s smart looking and spacious, but closer inspection some trim fittings feel a touch cheap

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If you want a car with a high driving position that’s comfy and spacious yet isn’t unwieldy in town then the Volvo XC40 is a cracking choice. What’s more it oozes charm with its head-turning design which is particularly eye catching in one of the two tone-paint schemes.

Unlike the BMW X1 and Audi Q3 which seem like ‘copy and paste’ designs of a X3 and Q5, the Volvo XC40 is noticeably different and more youthful than the larger XC60 and seven-seater XC90. Essentially it’s a Nike trainer to their Brogues and Oxfords shoes.

This individual style continues inside. The XC40 interior is classic Volvo minimalist cool… but with an even more modern twist. For instance the door trims, arm rest and handles are made out of a single piece of plastic and have colour-coded felt lined inlays. This design not only adds a dash of vibrance to the cabin but also frees up space for larger capacity door bins.

This kind of clever thinking runs throughout the Volvo XC40. You have plenty of room in the front, and it’s easy to find an ideal driving position whether you’re small or tall. Meanwhile, your rear passengers will be well accommodated – even if they are over six foot tall. Add to this a decent-sized boot with some useful features, like a pop up divider to stop your shopping sliding about, and you have a very practical yet relatively compact SUV.

It’s not all perfect though. Look closely around the Volvo XC40 interior and you’ll notice the build quality isn’t quite as impeccable as in an Audi Q3. And while the portrait-style infotainment system may look smart, being a touchscreen, it isn’t as easy to use when your driving as the rotary controller you get in a BMW X1.

The XC40 is a real star of a small SUV - it has bags of character and is easy to drive and live with

Mat Watson
carwow expert

Speaking of which the BMW is the slightly more fun car to drive. Yet that doesn’t mean the Volvo XC40 leans like a listing ship in the bends – it handles as well as you need an SUV to handle. And it gets the basics spot on. It’s comfy over bumps, effortless in town, and relaxing on the motorway. Okay, so the engines and gearboxes in the XC40 aren’t quite as good as those in the comparative German models.

But these aren’t dealbreakers. The entry level T3 petrol is punchy enough for town use and if you do lots of miles, the economical D3 diesel is more than up to the job. You don’t really need to pay extra for the more powerful engine.

There are some upgrades worth considering though. The Volvo XC40 is one of the safest new cars on the road but it is available with extra kit such as blind spot monitoring. You can also get an advanced cruise control system which will keep you a safe distance from the car in front, will steer to keep you in lane and even work in stop start motorway traffic.

Of course all this adds to the price, but the XC40 is still quite competitive for a posh small SUV – but check out our Volvo XC40 deals to see how much you can save on one. Also, for more in-depth info, read the interior, practicality, driving and specifications sections of our Volvo XC40 review.

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