Volvo XC40 (2018) Review

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Volvo XC40 (2018) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
Is this the best car on sale in Britain today? Launched in 2018, the Volvo XC40 joins the ever-popular compact crossover market, cementing a reputation as one of the best of the breed. Little wonder it has become Volvo’s best-selling car in the UK.

+Chunky upmarket and bold styling, excellent all-rounder, EV and plug-in hybrid versions.

-Not the most practical small SUV, expensive options, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto cost extra.

New prices start from £28,260
Insurance Groups are between 22–33
On average it achieves 77% of the official MPG figure

The Volvo XC40 was named Car of the Year at the Honest John Awards in 2019, so it should come as no surprise to discover that we think it’s the best compact crossover you can buy. It’s almost hard to fault, with the XC40 boasting chunky good looks, a wonderfully premium interior, enviable safety credentials and a long list of equipment as standard. Throw into the mix a wide range of powertrains, including petrol, diesel, plug-in hybrid and fully electric, and you’ve got the hallmarks of one of the best – not to mention, most relevant – new cars of 2020.

Looking for a Volvo XC40 (2018 on)?
Register your interest for later or request to be contacted by a dealer to talk through your options now.

You’re not short of alternatives. The likes of the Audi Q2, BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLB, Jaguar E-Pace, Lexus UX and Range Rover Evoque are just some of the premium rivals after a share of the XC40’s pie, and this is before you consider the plethora of mainstream models. So what makes the Volvo XC40 so special?

Put simply, it’s a terrific all-rounder. It’s a car we struggle to find fault with – it’s almost the perfect package. The build quality is a match for its German rivals, but the exterior and interior styling helps the XC40 to stand out in a very crowded market. It feels like a compact version of the XC60 and XC90, offering similar levels of safety and technology.

Prices start from around £25,000, but you’ll need to spend at least £30,000 to secure the XC40 you really want, especially once you’ve started browsing the options list. Get too carried away and you’ll be looking at the thick end of £40,000, so caution is required.

At least there’s plenty of choice. Although Volvo has ditched diesel, you can choose from 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre petrol engines, plus a couple of plug-in hybrids and an all-new electric version. Depending on the model, you can select from manual or automatic transmissions, and front- and all-wheel-drive. There are also three core trim levels: Momentum, a sportier R-Design, and a more luxurious Inscription.

Standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a 12.3-inch active driver’s information display, nine-inch portrait-style touchscreen infotainment system, cruise control, DAB digital radio, sat-nav, keyless start, automatic LED headlights, rain-sensing wipers and rear park assist. There’s also a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating to fall back on, should the worst happen.

It’s a practical car, boasting a large boot and room for five adults in the cabin. The quality of the cabin is first class, but the XC40 shines thanks to the use of sumptuous materials and clever details. Few cars are this good to spend time in, especially at this end of the market.

It’s also safe and predictable on the road, with Volvo focusing on comfort and safety to deliver one of the most satisfying cars in its class. From the comfortable seats to the ambient lighting, you’ll arrive at your destination as relaxed as when you set off, regardless of the distance.

If all this isn’t enough, there’s the fact that it holds its value on the second-hand market. While this might not be good news if you’re searching for a used bargain, it means the Volvo XC40 is available via some affordable Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) deals and you needn’t worry about losing a chunk of money if you’re buying new.

We’re not sure the perfect car exists, but the XC40 must come very close. It’s a charming, sophisticated and upmarket car in a family-friendly package. Take a look to see what all the fuss is about.

Ask Honest John

Do plug-in hybrids self-charge while driving?
"Does a plug-in hybrid have any self-charging capability?"
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) can self-charge, but only to a small degree. The plug-in battery (when fully charged) will provide the car with an electric range of 20-30 miles, which will lower the overall fuel economy on a long journey (with the battery assisting the engine) or allowing the driver to power the car from pure electricity (perfect for driving in a town or city). The hybrid system will recharge itself in a similar manner to a mild-hybrid car (recovering energy under braking); however, this will only add two or three miles to the battery and will not fully recharge the entire plug-in system. PHEVs are not designed to be driven without a fully charged battery. The additional weight of the battery will sap fuel economy to around 30-40mpg. If you want to know more about life with a PHEV, read our long term test of the Volvo XC40 Plug-in Hybrid here:
Answered by Dan Powell
What is the best crossover or SUV with an automatic gearbox?
"What's the best automatic SUV?"
From smallest to largest: Ford Puma, Volvo XC40, Toyota C-HR, Honda HR-V, Toyota RAV4, Skoda Karoq, BMW X5, Audi Q5, Skoda Kodiaq, Volvo XC90.
Answered by Dan Powell
Why are so many car interiors dark and dreary?
"I find it difficult to understand why so many car manufacturers only offer black/dark grey interiors, increasingly with black headlining. I think these are dreary and depressing when compared with models available in other countries and former times. I'm currently looking to replace my Kia Sportage First Edition and the choice is very limited. I would happily purchase another Kia but, as with so many other manufacturers, they no longer provide acceptable interiors. It seems that I only have the choice of Volvo XC40, Skoda Karoq and the new Hyundai Tucson (Ultimate trim only). It’s probably too much to hope that the new Nissan Qashqai will broaden my choices."
It's a matter of supply and demand. Car buyers generally prefer dark interiors – just like they prefer cars in dull exterior colours like black and silver! Dark interiors generally hide dirt well, age well and will be easy to resell in the future.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Which SUVs can be started remotely?
"Which SUV manufactures in the UK provide a remotely started engine?"
Most modern automatic Volvos (including the XC40, XC60 and XC90) can be started remotely with Volvo's On Call app. Also, look at Jaguar or Land Rover models with the Connect Pro Pack.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What does a Volvo XC40 (2018) cost?