2018 Volvo XC40 T4 review – price, specs and release date

After the T3 left us cold and the T5 was just a bit too hot, could the Volvo XC40 T4 be the Goldilocks petrol version we’ve been waiting for?...

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Alan Taylor-Jones
11 October 2018

Priced from £31,500 | Release date Now

It may be getting on for a year since the Volvo XC40 won our overall 2018 Car of the Year award in its most powerful diesel guise, but the Swedish firm is still padding out its engine range. The latest couple are a less powerful, 148bhp diesel D3 and a mid-range 187bhp petrol T4 that we’re looking at here.

Available exclusively with an eight-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive, the T4 attracts a company car tax rate of 33% - 4% up on the front-wheel-drive T3 and the same as the pricier and more powerful T5 petrol.

Better news is that the T4 is the cheapest way to get four driven wheels, because it’s available in entry-level Momentum trim all the way up to top-spec Inscription Pro. Our test car was a Momentum on relatively small 18in wheels.

2018 Volvo XC40 side2018 Volvo XC40 dash

2018 Volvo XC40 T4 on the road

Prod the dash-mounted starter button and you’ll find the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine is quiet, but with a gruff edge. Still, it's smoother than the 2.0-litre diesels and 1.5-litre three-cylinder T3, with far fewer vibrations to be felt through the steering wheel and pedals. If you're after the last word in refined petrol power, the T5 remains your best bet, though.

Accelerate gently and the automatic gearbox shifts smoothly through the gears, albeit with a slightly gravelly edge to the engine note and a fair bit of whooshing from the turbocharger.

But if you decide to use all 187bhp to join a motorway for instance, you’ll find the gearbox slow to kick down two or three gears and an even coarser noise from the engine bay. Performance is adequate, but don’t expect it to feel particularly fast, and it certainly doesn’t have the mid-range flexibility of the diesels.

You’ll also find it can’t match the diesels or smaller petrols for fuel economy. Our experience on a mixture of roads suggests that economy in the low 30s is likely if you drive with a light right foot. Blame the four-wheel drive system and auto ’box for that.

So, what about the ride and handling? Momentum trim comes with ‘dynamic’ suspension and, as we mentioned, relatively small, 18in wheels with big, balloon-like tyres – features that should be good for comfort. This set-up certainly allows the XC40 to soak up bumps well, although the soft suspension causes your head to be tossed around over undulating country roads.

Handling is surefooted, with precise if uncommunicative steering and lots of grip. Just don’t expect it to feel particularly sharp; there’s lots of body lean and it doesn’t feel as agile as the BMW X1 and Seat Ateca. There is a way to improve both ride and handling, though; upgrade to R-Design trim with ‘sports’ suspension and you’ll get tidier handling and a more composed ride.

2018 Volvo XC40 T4 interior

The XC40’s interior is one of its highlights. Material quality is right up there with the class best (the BMW X1), with lots of soft-touch plastics, expensive-looking trims and slick switches, stalks and buttons.

Not only does the XC40 feel like a premium product, but there’s lots of space, too. A high roof means lots of head room, the driver's seat goes back far enough for the tallest of occupants and there’s no danger of clashing elbows with your passenger.

Likewise, rear seat space is excellent for a couple of adults and boot space is good, though not class-leading. If that all sounds good to you, have a look at our main 16-point review for an even more in-depth analysis.

2018 Volvo XC40 T4 verdict...