Volvo XC40 Review 2023

Volvo XC40 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 small SUV 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 costs extra.

New prices start from £28,260
Insurance Groups are between 22–33
On average it achieves 83% 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 small SUV 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 (take a loot at our separate Volvo XC40 Recharge review), and you’ve got the hallmarks of one of the best – not to mention, most relevant – new cars of 2022. Read our Volvo XC40 review to discover more...

You’re not short of alternatives. The likes of the Audi Q3, 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 Volvo 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 Volvo 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 a fully 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.

We lived with a XC40 plug-in hybrid for six months - find out how we got on with it in our Volvo XC40 long term test. Why not get a second opinion with heycar's Volvo XC40 review

Ask Honest John

Can I use my Nextbase dashcam in my New Volvo XC40?

"Last week I took delivery of my new XC40, It is a lovely car and I am sure I will enjoy a long ownership. However when I asked the dealership staff about getting them to hardwire my Nextbase dash cam in to the car they told me that Volvo will only hardwire another brand. The brand they will use is Roadhawk which may well be ok but I already own a perfectly good Nextbase. They said that anything other than Roadhawk could be detrimental to the car's electronic systems causing problems in various areas of the car. If this happens the warranty could be affected. To me this sounds like the Volvo dealership network trying to make a sale of their preferred product, at a cost of £200 to £300, and using scare tactics to achieve this. Would it cause any harm to the car if I were to plug my Nextbase into the dashboard 12 volt socket and continue to use it in my new Volvo?"
It is highly unlikely that a Nextbase dashcam will cause any detrimental effect to the electronics of your Volvo, but if the dealer is saying that this could invalidate your warranty then this is probably not worth the risk. We would suggest contacting Volvo UK head office asking for an explanation of their policy, as this does sound unreasonable.
Answered by David Ross

I need to replace my BMW 420i for something with a higher driving position, what do you suggest?

"I have a BMW 420i grand coupe. I’ve had it since 2016. I really love it but I have arthritic knees and I’m finding it too low. Reluctantly, I think I’ll need to change it for a car with higher seats, maybe an SUV. What would you recommend please? BMW’s are now so expensive. I was wondering if there is a better value car that would be just as lovely to drive and smart inside. It’s just me and the dog in it usually."
If you still love your BMW 420i but are put off by the price of new models, you could consider a used example of the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer or X3, both of which offer a similar driving experience to your 4 Series but with a higher driving position. As for new alternatives, you could consider the Volvo XC40 or the BMW X1, which may be within your budget.
Answered by David Ross

When is the best time to trade in a car?

"I'm planning to trade in my Volvo XC60 for a used XC40 from a Volvo dealer. At the moment, there are only a few available that meet my criteria. In your view, would it be better to wait until the end of August / early September, when more trade-ins should become available with the release of the 73 registration plate?"
If you are struggling to find an XC40 in the specification you are looking for, it does make sense to wait until later in August when there should be an influx of trade-in vehicles. You may wish to consider letting your Volvo dealer know exactly what specification you are looking for so they can notify you if one becomes available.
Answered by David Ross

Should I SORN my car while I'm away for a month?

"I have a Volvo XC40 phev and the road tax is £550 per year. Is it worth my while to SORN it for a complete month when it is locked in my garage while l am on holiday?"
If you have paid for a whole year's road tax up front, depending on how many months you have remaining it may be worth SORNing the vehicle if you are not using it for a whole month, as you will be refunded any unused complete months. You will need to re-tax the vehicle when you want to start using it again. If you pay by monthly direct debit you will only save the payment while not using the vehicle, which would be around £45.
Answered by David Ross
More Questions

What does a Volvo XC40 cost?