Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?

The Volvo XC40 is the smallest crossover in the Volvo range, but in my opinion, it is one of the most interesting cars of the company. The XC40 entered the market at the end of 2017, and only reached the Russian market towards the end of 2018. The compact crossover was well received by us, the model ranks third in sales in the company’s model range. At the end of 2019, the XC40 was sold in the amount of 1 cars, lagging only behind the XC898, which was purchased by 90 buyers, and the XC2073, which was sold in the amount of 60 units. And according to Avtostat, the small Volvo even managed to enter the top 3 best-selling crossovers in Russia in the price range of 365-10 million rubles at the beginning of 2.5, however, it only managed to take the last line of the rating.

Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?

I love the XC40, it is one of the few cars that I would change my current car for right now. Perhaps the reason is that in spirit, albeit not very much, it is still close to MINI, the car from which I have only pleasant memories and to which I will definitely return whenever possible. Or maybe the fact is that, despite the seemingly modest dimensions, the XC40 is very roomy, and not at the expense of comfort. I quite calmly sit down behind the wheel of a compact crossover, all the settings are enough with a margin, while with a height of 187 cm, I also sit quite freely behind myself. Yes, the rear seating position is slightly vertical, but, despite this, it is comfortable to sit there, the knees do not rest against the back of the front seat, and there is room overhead, despite the presence of a large panoramic roof in the test car. The manufacturer has arranged the cabin in such a way that at least four passengers feel free in it. The back sofa was lowered a little lower than usual and moved back, so that an adult would sit there calmly, and, of course, a child would sit quietly in a chair. The sofa is more likely designed for two passengers, the third will be cramped, and the central tunnel will also interfere, but if it really squeezes, you can accommodate three of us.

Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?

The Isofix mounts are located underneath the end caps so they can be easily accessed. At the back, you can easily install two child seats, but no one can network between them. For a surcharge, the rear doors can be locked from the driver’s seat, so you can activate / deactivate the child lock immediately on the go.

Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?

We are used to the fact that if in a compact crossover, and just in a compact car, there is enough space for four people, then the trunk will be flawed, but in the XC40 this is not the case, and the luggage compartment in it is quite decent – 460 liters. By folding the backrests of the rear sofa separately (accessible only from the passenger compartment), which form a flat floor, we get an already impressive 1 liters of usable space. Under the flat floor of the luggage compartment, access to a small organizer opens up, in which you can store all sorts of things a motorist needs, and, if necessary, remove the luggage rack there. A stowaway is hidden even lower. The car has an electric tailgate with the ability to open / close it with a swing of the foot under the bumper, as well as a button that allows you to immediately completely close the car.

Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?

In general, with the organization of space in the XC40, everything is done smartly, there are large pockets in the doors, a small drawer is available as an option under the front seat, for the rear passengers there are small niches for the same bottles at the edges, and in the trunk, in addition to the net (also option), an elastic band is available for fixing things.

Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?

But, unfortunately, not everything is so smooth in the new XC40. To increase the space, Volvo engineers have narrowed the front seats slightly, leaving a wide frame, which, by the way, you will often hit when exiting the car. For me, the chair is perfect, especially with the optional seats with a retractable thigh cushion. They have a good profile, developed lateral support and are quite rigid, so that you can drive hundreds of kilometers in them without any problems and not get tired a bit. An electric adjustment package is available as an option for the driver’s and front passenger’s seat, and for the driver’s seat there is also a position memory. The only pity is that for people of large build, the XC40 chairs will be cramped.

Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?

The interior of the XC40 is broadly similar to the rest of the brand’s vehicles, but there are many details that make it stand out. For example, the compact crossover lost its proprietary engine start knob on the tunnel and received the usual button to the right of the steering wheel. The automatic transmission lever familiar to Volvo has also disappeared, replaced by a miniature joystick, which, by the way, is not very convenient to use, since all switching occurs through neutral, that is, with unnecessary movement. But the XC40 received matte buttons on the steering wheel instead of glossy ones like in older models, and this is much better and more practical. The crossover and decorative overlays, for example, like the XC60, have lost, but they received concave elements with an interesting pattern inside, in which atmospheric lighting is hidden. In addition, there is no leather on the front panel and in the design of the central tunnel, but from this, it seems to me, the interior is not particularly affected. But for the XC40 in some trim levels, you can order an orange floor, brightly stylish and youthful, although not very practical in Russian realities.

Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?

Based on materials in the XC40 without much chic, but pretty decent for a car in this price range. The plastic is mostly soft, and the hard one is of decent quality. The seat upholstery is pleasant to the touch, especially the one found on the optional seats, which use a combination of leather and Alcantara. As you probably know, Volvo is green and environmentally conscious, so some of the XC40 uses recycled plastic parts, but even if you try, you won’t be able to tell them apart.

In terms of exterior design, the compact XC40 looks even more like a crossover than its big brother XC60, the younger one looks more like a large XC90. The only solution that I do not really like is a strong slope of the edge of the window line of the rear door, somehow it is striking, although it is practically invisible on a black car with tinted windows. And the branded running lights in the form of Thor’s hammer are more like a fallen letter Y here, although this is not so critical. And so a very cute formidable kid, especially when on 20 ”wheels, which can even be in some versions with a two-tone body. For example, it looks very interesting red with a black roof (right my MINI).

Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?

In terms of filling with electronics, the youngest of the Volvo crossovers does not differ from the brothers, except that the projection on the windshield is not available to him. And so here is the same Sensus media system with a 9 ”touch screen with a vertical orientation. The display is not bad in quality, responsive, but the resolution would have been higher. True, in the current generation Volvo will not change anything, Sensus is being replaced by a new system based on the Android OS from Google, it has already been shown along with the premiere of the Volvo XC40 Recharge electric crossover. The new system will retain the familiar design, but otherwise it will be completely different.

Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?

The current solution is quite clear and logical, with three screens. The first one contains quick settings for the car in the form of icons, the second, which is also the main one, provides access to basic data such as navigation and the player in the form of horizontal tabs that can be expanded, and the third screen contains additional data. All basic settings are hidden in the shutter, by analogy with Android smartphones. In general, for those who are familiar with modern smartphones, Sensus will be immediately clear, the same gestures work here, and the logic of the menu is similar to mobile devices. In terms of speed, the system is not reactive, but on the whole it is quite acceptable, and the manufacturer hid some thoughtfulness with animation.

Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?

The user can install additional applications to the system from the set suggested by the manufacturer. The list includes weather, local Google search, which is integrated into the standard navigation, and, for example, the TuneIn program. All applications, as well as standard navigation maps can be updated online, and media system updates are also available online. As an option, there is access to remote control of the car from a smartphone via the Volvo On Call app, which is available for both Android and iOS. This program allows you not only to view statistics, but also to open or close the car, carry out a remote start, see the location of the car on maps in real time, and also give access to the car to relatives or friends (hello, Apple Car Key). The app has recently been updated to provide hybrid owners with information on how far they have traveled in pure electric mode, energy and fuel consumption. Later this year, the service will also give drivers the ability to see the size of their carbon footprint, the amount of CO2 the car emits, and the approximate cost of fuel saved by driving in electric mode. Through additional functionality, Volvo Cars aims to encourage Volvo plug-in hybrid owners to recharge their batteries as much as possible and drive exclusively in electric mode, and more globally to increase interest in the benefits of electric vehicles and their environmentally friendly mobility. There are two plug-in hybrid models available on the Russian market, the XC60 Recharge and the XC90 Recharge.

Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?

What I don’t really like about Sensus is that the manufacturer has brought in there and all the settings related to climate control. Yes, all data is always available at the bottom of the screen, and it is easy to reach them, but still this is not the most convenient solution, classic buttons and knobs would be much more convenient. On the other hand, the climate can be controlled with the help of a voice assistant, even the phrase “I’m cold / hot” is enough, and the system will immediately react. But most users, despite the proposed innovations, will always poke at the screen, and there is not only temperature control, but also the inclusion of a three-level seat heating and steering wheel heating. For the last points, of course, I would very much like to see physical keys, since using them on the go on the touch screen is not the most convenient solution.

Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?

Our car had a pre-installed navigation that can work with traffic jams, for this we use a built-in 4G modem, or you can connect the car to access points (for example, created on a smartphone) via Wi-Fi. The latter is relevant if you do not want to purchase a separate SIM card for the car, but Volvo does not offer it free of charge, as in solutions with Yandex.Auto. The maps in the system are up-to-date, the company says that they are updated once a quarter, and the system builds the optimal route. The only thing is that for some reason navigation does not give the exact arrival time, taking into account traffic jams, it is always calculated without them, and the visual design of the maps is not the most beautiful. Navigation tips are displayed on a virtual dashboard, and in the settings, you can turn on the constant display of the map between devices. If you do not have a navigation option in your car, then you will still have access to simple maps based on HERE (standard navigation is also built on them), but with access only when connected to the Internet, with very simple construction along the route and without the possibility of normal scaling. And also the car has support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay (optional), the latter without wireless connectivity.

Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?

Two USB-A connectors are available in the front of the cabin for recharging devices, and wireless Qi charging is also available as an option. The charging platform is large enough, located at the bottom of the front console, it is located slightly tilted, so it is convenient to look at the screen of the smartphone lying on it from the driver’s seat. The charging pad has a rubberized coating and sides; while driving, the smartphone is securely fixed and does not dangle in a niche for any maneuver. For rear passengers, one USB Type-C is available, which is located on the back of the front armrest, next to the buttons for switching on the separate three-level heating of the rear sofa. For some reason, the connector was covered with a spring-loaded cover, which constantly grips the wire plug when using it. Modern devices are charged from the car’s on-board network quite quickly, so that even during a short trip, you can slightly replenish the charge of a dead gadget.

Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?

Connecting smartphones to the car’s system via Bluetooth is not difficult, it is established quickly and always works stably. Thanks to two directional microphones in the upper part of the cabin, the interlocutor always hears you well.

There was a complete set of electronic driver assistants in our test car. I would like to note the excellent picture from the all-round cameras, which makes it much easier to park even in the most difficult places. True, the cameras in the XC40 have a fisheye effect, so it’s a bit unusual at first. There is a blind spot monitoring system, as in other models of the brand, visual information is located in the corner of the mirrors, but in general, the car has large enough mirrors that give a good view, and you can do without prompts. On the other hand, the BLIS system not only warns you, but in an emergency it can automatically return the car to the lane if you do not react. This package also includes a reversing warning system that avoids collisions with perpendicular traffic. Of course, it is worth noting the Pilot Assist system, which allows the car to move almost autonomously, no matter in a traffic jam or on the highway. The system is one of the best on the market, it reacts well to the environment, smoothly slowing down and accelerating the car, but always keeping in the flow. All control rests on the buttons on the steering wheel, they look flat, but thanks to their large size, they are easy to operate even blindly. The assistant allows you to release the steering wheel for 10 seconds, but then asks you to put your hands back on the steering wheel. True, Pilot Assist is not a full-fledged autopilot, so the driver should always be ready at all times, and the assistant just makes the driving process easier and allows you to avoid trouble if you are a little distracted. But if you are considering buying a Volvo car, I would recommend taking it with Pilot Assist, the function is useful, and standing tired in a sluggish traffic jam somewhere on the Moscow Ring Road, you will be glad that you have it.

Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?

All Pilot Assist operating tips are displayed on a 12.3 ”virtual instrument cluster, where you can select a display theme from four available options. It also displays tips on road restrictions, which are transmitted from a camera on the windshield that reads road signs. Information about calls, as well as about a musical composition, and even with album covers, is also available here. Yes, there are no particular questions about the virtual dashboard, but it’s time to increase the display resolution.

Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?

In terms of comfort, the car did not disappoint, in most situations it is quiet, only on some types of coverage, tire noise makes its way into the cabin and aerodynamic noises appear on the track, but all sounds are not too loud and unobtrusive. For the XC40, unlike its older brothers, air suspension is not available, but the standard one is quite good, you practically do not feel small irregularities in the cabin, and a large car passes resiliently like a ball. The doors in the crossover are heavy, like the entire model line of the company, but this is understandable, Volvo has safety first, and the little XC40 is very good in terms of safety. According to the Euro NCAP test, the crossover received 5 out of 5, ensuring the safety of an adult driver and passenger by 97%, and a passenger-child by 87%.

Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?

In Russia, the Volvo XC40 is presented with three gasoline and two diesel engines, all go only in conjunction with an automatic eight-speed gearbox, and the drive for some engines can be front, for others – only full. We tested an XC40 R-Design with a junior two-liter D3 diesel engine with 150 hp. and four-wheel drive. The power of the junior diesel engine may not be enough for some, along with a good pickup from the bottom, there is also a slight lack of power, apparently, the D4 with its 190 hp is still more optimal for the car. On the other hand, a slight dip is noticeable only at the start, you won’t notice it at speed, the D3 is enough not only in the city, but also for comfortable overtaking on the highway. The box works smoothly, besides, it quickly reacts to the situation, including the right gear. Several driving modes are available in the driver settings. Optimal for everyday driving – “Comfort”, for those who want to play a little naughty, there is “Dynamic”, and for off-road driving – the “Off-Road” mode. By the way, the XC40 allows for easy off-roading, it has short overhangs, and the ground clearance is 211 mm. I liked the control of the compact crossover, it has some kind of charisma and enthusiasm, precise control and small rolls allow you to turn on the gas when entering a turn, and on rebuildings it behaves obediently, not MINI, of course, but with dignity. There is only one drawback of diesel Volvo: the tractor sound still makes its way into the cabin a little, especially in the parking lot, and competitors from BMW and Audi have already solved this issue a long time ago, but the Swedes are in no hurry. But the diesel XC40 c D3 has a huge plus, this is a fuel consumption of about 7 liters. Here, however, having driven through a busy Leningradka to the region and back, 90 km in one direction, the on-board computer showed me a consumption of 6.8 liters per 100 km, and after standing in the center in decent traffic jams due to repairs on Tverskaya, it gave 7 liters exactly per 100 km.

Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?Volvo XC40 test. The best compact crossover?

Prices for Volvo XC40 on the Russian market start at 2 rubles. A complete set of XC380 R-Design D000 with all possible options, as we have on the test, already costs almost 40 rubles. Yes, the price for a compact crossover is decent, but competitors cost no less, and Volvo, in turn, has decent capacity, high safety, a full range of modern options, good handling and comfort.

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