2018 Volvo XC40 Range Review

2018 Volvo XC40 Range Review

Priced From $47,990Information

Overall Rating


4.5 out of 5 stars

Rating breakdown
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Safety, value & features

5 out of 5 stars

Comfort & space

4 out of 5 stars

Engine & gearbox

5 out of 5 stars

Ride & handling

4 out of 5 stars


4 out of 5 stars

Pros & Cons

  1. ProStylish, practical; fun to drive

  2. ConOverly light steering at higher speeds

  3. The Pick: 2018 Volvo XC40 T5 Momentum (AWD) 4D Wagon

What stands out?

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Volvo’s first small SUV is an exceptionally stylish premium small SUV, with an innovatively-designed interior and a choice of turbocharged petrol powertrains. It’s great fun to drive around town and on the open road, with all-wheel drive adding traction on slippery surfaces.

What might bug me?

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The silly little gear shifter and the double-tap action required to shift gears from neutral to drive or reverse.

Driving at 80km/h on the space-saver spare, until you can fix your full-sized flat tyre.

What body styles are there?

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Five-door, five-seat SUV only.

Every XC40 drives all four wheels and is classed as a small SUV, higher priced.

What features do all XC40 versions have?

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autonomous emergency braking that works at city speeds.

Eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive traction.

Cruise control, speed limiter, and lane departure warning, which alerts you if you begin to drift out of your lane (a sign of fatigue or distraction).

A 9.0-inch central infotainment screen with inbuilt satellite navigation with voice control. Entertainment functions include Digital Radio (DAB+), Apple CarPlay/Android smartphone pairing, Aux and USB inputs and Bluetooth connectivity for audio streaming.

Reversing camera and front and rear parking sensors provide an audible warning.

A 12.3-inch digital instrument and driver-information display with road sign information that displays the current speed limit.

Blind spot warning, which senses if a car is approaching from your side, and rear cross traffic alert, which senses if a car is coming from either direction when reversing out of the driveway from a parking space.

Leather upholstery including steering wheel, gear knob and power-adjustable front seats, with driver’s seat memory functions.

Dual zone climate control, which allows the driver and front passenger to set their own temperatures.

Roof rails, which make it easier to fit roof-mounted luggage systems.

Keyless start and entry with hands free tailgate opening and closing

Auto dimming rear-view and power-folding exterior mirrors, and windscreen wipers that operate automatically when it rains.

Aluminium alloy wheels, which are lighter and more stylish than steel wheels (with a space-saver spare wheel).

Long-lasting LED headlamps that dip automatically for oncoming drivers and when you enter town, fog lights and LED daytime running lights, with Volvo's characteristic ‘Thor’s Hammer’ design cue.

Front fog lights.

Power steering drive modes.

Hill descent control and hill start assist.

Electronic stability control, which is mandatory on new cars and can help you recover from a skid.

Waste bin with net in centre console.

Seven airbags. (To find out where they are placed, please open the review section “What about safety?”).

The XC40 is covered by a three-year, unlimited kilometre warranty.

Which engine uses least fuel, and why wouldn't I choose it?

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The economical D5 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine was dropped from the Australian XC40 range in June 2018 and replaced with the 2.0-litre T4 four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine.

The T4 will be most economical of the two petrol engines when it arrives in mid-2018, with an official combined fuel consumption of 6.9 litres/100km.

One reason you may not want the T4 is because you prefer extra power from the similarly sized T5 turbocharged petrol engine. The T5 has can push the XC40 from 0-100km/h in just 6.5 seconds. It’s a little thirstier than the T4, with an official combined fuel consumption of 7.7 litres/100km that pushes out to about 10.0km/h in real-world conditions.

Every XC60 comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission that drives all four wheels.

The XC40 is set to become even more economical, with a three-cylinder petrol engine slated to arrive in the near future. Volvo Australia says it is also committed to introducing an all-electric XC40 at some point.

What key features do I get if I spend more?

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The Volvo XC40 comes with two model specifications, Momentum and R-Design, which have varying equipment levels and a choice of T4 and T5 engines.

The Momentum is the least costly XC40 spec and has all the above-mentioned standard features including 18-inch alloy wheels.

Pay marginally more again for an XC40 R-Design and you get a package adapted slightly for more spirited driving, including a sports steering wheel with paddle shifters and contoured leather seats, which provide progressively deeper bolsters each side of you, to help hold you in place around corners.

The wheel diameter increases to 20 inches, with Pirelli V tyres that are wider and lower in profile – mainly for a sportier look, but also adding grip on dry surfaces.

Active bending headlights that help see through corners.

Electric folding exterior mirrors

Special R-Design interior and exterior trim including the gear knob, foot pedals, tread plates, aluminium décor inlays, embroidery, floor mats and grille.

Active bending headlights that help see through corners.

Induction phone charging pad.

Dual tailpipes.

Optional extras

There are several packages which add extra features to the Momentum and R-Design spec-levels, including the Lifestyle Pack, which brings heated front seats, tinted rear glass and a sunroof.

The Technology Pack has adaptive cruise control, 360 degree parking camera, and Park Assist Pilot which helps steer the XC40 into a parking space.

The Sports Pack, for the Momentum includes sunroof, black headlining, tinted rear glass, sports steering wheel, Harman Kardon Premium Sound System and sportier-looking 19-inch alloy wheels.

The Momentum is also available with a Convenience Pack, which adds powered passenger seat, power-operated tailgate and keyless entry.

Does any upgrade have a down side?

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The R-Design’s 20-inch wheels use lower-profile tyres that will be more expensive to replace than those on the smaller wheels, and aren't as likely to last as long. They also produce a slightly less comfortable ride (because there is less cushioning air between the wheel and the road).

The Momentum comes with three standard colours, Black Stone, Ice White and Amazon Blue: all others cost extra. The R-Design only offers Black Stone as standard, and a greater number of extra-cost colours.

How comfortable is the XC40?

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The XC40 has a roomy and uncluttered cabin. The sculpted front seats provide excellent support on long trips. The driver sits quite high and has good forward vision, with controls easy to reach and use.

Second-row seating is also comfortable, with plenty of head and legroom, but less under thigh support than the front seats.

The cabin is pretty quiet, isolating you well from unwelcome external noises.

The optional premium audio provides a rich, all-encompassing musical experience.

What about safety in an XC40?

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The XC-40 was one of the first car to be rated under the tougher Australasian new Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) testing regime. It passed with the top 5-Star safety rating based on data provided by ANCAP’s continental partner, EuroNCAP

The XC40 has seven airbags: two in front of the driver and front passenger; side airbags to protect front occupants from side impacts; a driver’s knee airbag; and head-protecting curtain airbags down each side that protect even the third-row passengers.

Among the active safety aids on every XC40 are city-speed auto braking, blind spot monitoring (a light in the side mirrors warns you of vehicles alongside out of view), and rear-cross traffic alert (which alerts you, when reversing, to cars crossing behind).

Rear Collision Mitigation Support works when the car is at a standstill. It looks for cars approaching too fast from the rear, and flashes the indicators should it detect one. If it thinks you are about to be rear-ended, it tensions your seatbelts and applies the brakes, to reduce your potential for injury.

There’s also Front Collision Mitigation Support that helps avoid collisions by automatically veering to avoid a collisions with oncoming vehicles if travelling between 60 and 140km/h. If you cross a lane marking in the way of an oncoming vehicle, it automatically steers back and warns you.

I like driving - will I enjoy this car?

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You will enjoy driving the XC40, which, apart from the raised driving position, doesn’t really feel like you’re behind the wheel of an SUV. It’s particularly great around town where it feels well planted with light, direct steering.

That power steering can feel a little too light at speed though, where it feels a little disconnected from the front wheels meaning there’s less feel through bends. It does handle the bends well though, with the taut chassis doing well to contain its centre of gravity that's a little higher than a regular passenger car.

The XC40 absorbs bumps well; with any jarring well contained by the independent front and rear suspension and ergonomic front seats. The Things can feel a little choppy in the back seats, though.

The T5 feels relaxed when driving around town and at highway speeds, but comes alive when you put the foot down, when overtaking for example, with the eight-speed automatic gearbox providing smooth and well-timed gear changes.

The all-wheel drive system on the XC40 helps it maintain drive on snowy or otherwise slippery sealed roads, on gravel roads and on smooth tracks. The car does not have the ground clearance, underbody protection or low range gearing it would need for rough off-roading. And if you were to get a flat tyre while off the beaten track, you would have to struggle home on the skinny space-saver spare.

How is life in the rear seats?

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The second row seats provide ample leg and headroom for two adults, or three smaller people.

Rear seat passengers get their own air/heating vents, and a USB socket to keep their devices charged.

Side vision is restricted, particularly for smaller people, thanks to the rising window line and the frame separating the split door window.

It’s comfy back there, but it can get bumpy on rough roads and there are no grab handles to help counter side movement when travelling around bends.

How is the XC40 for carrying stuff?

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Cabin storage is a highlight the XC40’s interior design, with illuminated front door bins big enough to hold a laptop bag, a flip-out handbag hook on the glovebox lid, and a deep, removable tub in the centre console that doubles as a rubbish bin.

Boot space is 460 litres, which is about average for small SUV, but four bag hooks in the cargo area and a floor that lifts up to reveal a cavity to place loose items more securely, add practicality.

The 60:40 rear seats easily fold down flat to extend cargo space should you need to fit a bigger load.

Where is the XC40 made?

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The XC40 is made in Ghent, Belgium, and will also soon go into production in China where Volvo's parent company Geely is based.

Are there any rivals I should consider?

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The luxury small-SUV market is a late bloomer, with the XC40 joining a smallish field that includes the Audi Q2, BMW X1 and X2, Infiniti QX30, Jaguar E-Pace and Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class.

Most of these models have comparable performance, thanks to a range of 2.0-litre turbocharged engines.

I like this car, but I can't choose which version. Can you help?

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The T4 had yet to arrive at the time of writing, but we were already sold on the T5 Momentum, which provides a compelling mix of driving enjoyment, fuel efficiency and features for the price.

Are there plans to update this model soon?

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The current XC40 was introduced in May 2018 as an all-new model with D4 diesel and T5 variants.

The D4 was unexpectedly dropped from the range within two months of the XC40s arrival, to be replaced the T4 petrol. At the time of the announcement, in late-June 2018, the T4 had yet to arrive in Australia.