Volvo XC40 Review 2024

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 86% 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

Is it legal to have the engine running when not in the vehicle?

"My Volvo can be started from the phone app - useful for defrosting/warming in the winter and cooling in the summer. (The car remains locked and can't be driven without the key and the driver sitting the vehicle.) Will starting a car when not inside invalidate the insurance and is it legal have a vehicle on a public hi-way with the engine running and the driver not present?"
There is no specific legislation that prohibits a car from being parked on the highway with the engine running, but in terms of insurance we would suggest contacting your insurance company with this query, as opinions may vary between insurers.
Answered by David Ross

What should we buy when downsizing from two cars to one?

"My wife and I are both in our early 70’s and are now slowly reaching the conclusion that it is hard to justify our running two cars now that we are both retired. My wife currently drives a 2020 Fiat 500 (24k miles), I have a 2018 Fiat 500L Cross (25k miles). We are thinking of trading both for, ideally, a new hatchback/SUV but, not being particularly car-orientated, we really don’t know what makes and models we should be looking at. We live in deepest darkest Northamptonshire where the 'tracking' capabilities of the 500L have been particularly valuable. Otherwise the priorities for us would be reliability, economy and comfort, the car being used mainly around town and in our local area but with the occasional longer motorway hauls to family, friends and the coast. Budget would be the part exchange values on our current cars plus £6k - £8K’ish / as little as possible. What would you suggest that we look at?"
When choosing to switch from two cars to one within a household it is worth considering whether one of the cars you already own is suitable for the job. Your Fiat 500L appears to be well suited to your needs, assuming it has been reliable, and with such low mileage it should have plenty of years left in it. Alternatively, if you are looking for something newer we would suggest looking at cars such as the Skoda Karoq, Volvo XC40 and Hyundai Kona, all of which should suit your needs.
Answered by David Ross

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
More Questions

What does a Volvo XC40 cost?