Emma Jayne Williams

Volvo’s all-new XC40 adds a compact crossover to the brand’s 2018 lineup

The Volvo XC40 compact crossover was all new for 2018, and comes with a starting price of $33,200. There are three trim levels, topping out at $39,750 (plus freight and options). This is the midlevel R-Design model with contrast roof.
The Volvo XC40 compact crossover was all new for 2018, and comes with a starting price of $33,200. There are three trim levels, topping out at $39,750 (plus freight and options). This is the midlevel R-Design model with contrast roof.

Introduced for 2018, the XC40 is Volvo’s third crossover, its first five-door compact (Volvo’s smallest), and the first use of the innovative CMA (compact modular architecture) platform specifically designed for smaller vehicles.

The XC40 makes use of award winning technology from previous Volvo models, including safety innovations not seen among competitors, making it one of the safest, most well-equipped small SUVs available, the company says.

Three trims are available, offering a choice of a 187-horsepower 2.0-liter T4 or 248-horsepower 2.0-liter T5 with all-wheel drive.

They are the Momentum, $33,200/$35,200; R-Design $35,700/$37,700; and Inscription, $38,395/$39,750. The T4 is rated for 33 mpg (combined), while the T5 drops to 31 mpg. All models are equipped with an eight-speed Geartronic automatic transmission with start/stop technology.

XC40 carries Volvo’s signature Thor’s hammer daytime running lights and a new interpretation of the Volvo grille. An 8.3-inch ride height, along with large wheels and wheel arches gives it a real SUV feel, and a strong, structured profile presents a youthful expression.

This bold exterior is available in a wide range of colors with contrasting roofs (black or white), depending on the trim chosen.

My XC40 was the R-Design T5 in standard Black Stone. Five metallic colors add $645: Crystal White, Bright Silver (platinum), Osmium Gray (light blue/gray), Bursting Blue (royal), and Fusion Red (medium), and add a black roof, lower body cladding, exterior mirrors, and headliner. Momentum and Inscription have two different sets of colors, and Momentum has a white roof.

The eye-catching grille was gloss black, with horizontal slats featuring raised, elongated rectangular accents. Outlined in gloss black, the grille had a concave bend, which extended outward under the LED headlights.

LED fog lights, integrated into the front bumper, were set in matte black. Heavy creases emphasized the sides of the hood, and a small Swedish flag peeked from the driver’s side lower rear edge.

A deep concave crease extended from the front wheel arch, up and along the upper doors, down to the rear wheel arch, mirrored by a smaller crease along the lower doors/rocker panels. Side windows were outlined in black, with the rear auxiliary window sweeping up at the “C” pillar, which was stamped “R-Design.”

Integrated roof rails were gloss black. A large rear spoiler connected the top of the vertical taillights, which flowed around the rear corner away from the gate. The power hands-free power tailgate was wide, with a convex crease below the bottom of the window, a silver and blue “R-Design” badge, and a concave crease at the bumper. Bright exhaust tips were integrated into the outer bumper.

The laminated panoramic moon roof with a perforated fabric shade added $1,200, and gave a light and airy feel to the interior. Integrated LED mood lighting was color adjustable.

Special 20-inch, five-double-spoke matte black alloy wheels added $800. The stylized backward “Y” spokes had black pockets with diamond cut faces.

The XC40 R-Design comes with Charcoal Nappa leather and Nubuck interior and offers a special Orange Lava carpet ($100) on the floor, console, and door panels, only on trims with black, white, silver, or gray exteriors.

The smooth and perforated leather areas in my tester (bolsters, slim headrests, console, R-design shifter and steering wheel) had gray contrast stitching and the front seats had gray piping. Aluminum cutting edge inlays, black with silver diamond-cut rectangles, trimmed the door panels and dash. Vertical rectangular air vents had silver trim. Uniquely shaped door handles were satin silver.

Clever storage and convenience features included larger front door pockets capable of holding a 15-inch laptop, a tablet, and a liter bottle all at once. Rear pockets were smaller, but still spacious. Door speakers were moved to the upper portion of the door to make space.

Under- seat storage trays in the front (Premium Package, $900) could hide small to medium items. Both front seats had thigh cushion extensions. Two slots on the dash near the driver’s knee could accommodate valet/parking tickets, IDs, credit cards, etc. and a shallow cubby on the side of the console could hold larger items. A fold-away hook on the lip of the glove box could hold a small bag or a purse, something I have dreamed about.

Another welcome feature is a built-in trash bin in the front of the armrest. The bin is handy for small items – a wrapper or unwanted receipt, for example – and can be removed to empty and clean. The hinged lid is removable. The bin under the armrest is large enough for a box of tissues or a bag of take-out, another plus, and has a small net to corral small objects.

In front of the shifter, a small bin with a pop-out lid held a phone or a box of fries. Under the center stack, a sizable bin contained a 12-volt outlet and two USB ports, plus a wireless Qi mobile charging pad in the bottom along with small bin for loose change.

Wireless charging was included in the Premium Package along with Pilot Assist semi-autonomous drive system with adaptive cruise control, rearview mirror with HomeLink and compass, power/folding split rear backrest and power headrests, folding cargo floor with integrated grocery bag hooks, heated windshield washer nozzles, and power rear child-safe door locks.

Two layers of storage are provided in the cargo area, which also includes a full-sized spare tire. The false floor folds up and secures in slots on both sides, creating a divider to help keep loose items contained. The hard tonneau cover can be removed and stored in the load floor to make room for bulky items such as bikes or strollers. Cargo volume behind the second seat is 20.7 cubic, and with the seat folded, cargo space is 47.2 cubic feet.

Sensus navigation used voice control or steering wheel controls, as well as on-screen functions, with directions shown in the 12.3-inch driver display and the center display. Real Time Traffic Information provided alternative routes.

The driver display featured two large, round instruments and one central information screen. When the navigation system was in use, the central screen became larger. Brightness of the entire display automatically adjusted to the exterior light. The display also showed actual road signs, and had four graphic modes to choose from, based on how the driver uses the information.

The Volvo On Call app allows destinations to be sent from a smartphone to the vehicle. Users can also sync meeting destinations from personal calendars with the navigation system for guidance. On Call service is standard for four years after purchase, and includes roadside and emergency assistance services.

Available for smartphones, iPad, wearables, and Windows 10 based PCs or tablets, the app allows preheating the vehicle, provides the vehicle location (and will alert the owner in case of attempted break-ins), locks and unlocks doors, and much more.

Volvo was the first manufacturer to offer cars without keys through the On Call app. Bluetooth-enabled digital technology can replace the physical key with a digital key, which can do everything the physical key does. Customers can send their digital key to others via mobile phone, allowing them to share their car.

My XC40 had standard Wi-Fi with smartphone integration, City Safety Collision Avoidance, run-off road protection and mitigation, lane keeping and oncoming lane mitigation, Volvo’s Side Impact Protection System, unibody high-strength steel safety cage, and emergency crash notification.

A Vision Package ($1,100) brought blind-spot information, cross traffic alert with auto-braking, Park Assist Pilot with front and rear parking sensors, power-retractable outside mirrors, and auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors.

A 360-degree surround-view camera, LED headlights with automatic bending light, and a high-pressure headlight cleaning system were included in an Advanced Package for $995.

Heated front seats and steering wheel added $750. An amazing Harman Kardon sound system with 13 speakers was $800. Volvo replaced the door-mounted subwoofer with the world’s first patented air-ventilated, dash-mounted Air Woofer Technology.

My Volvo XC40 R-Design was very attractive, easy to drive, comfortable and convenient for all passengers, technologically advanced in safety and convenience, and versatile.

Destination charges added $995, and options totaled $6,645 in addition to $2,500 for the R-Design upgrade, for a delivered price of $45,340.

The automotive columns of Emma Jayne Williams have appeared regularly in the Star-Telegram since 2007. Contact her at emmajayne1948@gmail.com.

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