What Car? says...
Looking at the distinctive design of the Volvo XC40, you begin to wonder if the German premium brands have it wrong – their ‘Russian doll’ designs lead to a very strong resemblance between models, which often leaves you struggling to tell one from another. At the very least, Volvo's creativity is jolly refreshing.
Of course, the XC40 does retain some distinctive Volvo design cues. Its Thor’s Hammer headlight design and equally striking LED rear lights, for instance, ape the company’s other models, keeping the bloodline recognisable.
Now, the Volvo XC40 is a former What Car? Car of the Year so it's no secret that it's good. But it's been around a while now, so is it still a better buy than rival family SUVs, such as the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Range Rover Evoque? Read on to find out.
If you decide to buy a Volvo XC40, or any other car for that matter, take a look at the latest deals available through our free What Car? New Car Buying service. You could save plenty on the brochure price without any tedious haggling.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
Our pick of the Volvo XC40's engines is the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Recharge T4 petrol, which offers a combined output of 211bhp from its 1.5-litre petrol engine and electric motor. The standard automatic gearbox is pretty responsive, and the brisk 0-62mph time of 8.5sec should be plenty for most buyers' desires.
Suspension and ride comfort
The regular petrol versions of the XC40 are more comfortable than any of their chief rivals, including the firm-riding BMW X1 and the unsettled Jaguar E-Pace. The XC40 betters even some relatively comfortable alternatives, such as the Range Rover Evoque and Volkswagen Tiguan.
Noise and vibration
The entry-level T2 is relatively hushed at low revs, apart from a few whooshes and whistles from the turbocharger. It starts to sound quite thrummy when you rev it harder, but you don't feel much vibration through the controls. The B4 emits the odd turbo whoosh, but the B4 and B3 are smoother and quieter than the T2 when you rev them out.
The PHEV models (T4 and T5) are relatively quiet in pure electric mode, although you do hear slightly more whine from the electric motor than you do in the Kuga PHEV and some other rivals. You can tell when the petrol engine fires up but it's never uncouth.
Whichever engine you choose, you'll hear mild wind buffeting around the windscreen at motorway speeds. There's also road noise, especially when big 20in alloy wheels are fitted (the Evoque is notably more subdued in this respect). Still, the XC40 is nowhere near as raucous as the X1 on a motorway. The regenerative brakes of the PHEV models are a little snatchy when they cut in, but the rest of the range has regular brakes that are progressive and make it easy to slow you down smoothly.
- Volvo XC40s with diesel engines were highly rated in the 2021 What Car? Reliability Survey but all the diesels have now been discontinued. Petrol XC40s came 22nd out of 28 family SUVs. Volvo as a brand didn’t perform particularly well, coming 19th out of 30 car makers in our survey. That was ahead of Jaguar (21st) and Mercedes (22nd), but behind Audi (18th), BMW (13th) and Lexus (first).Read more here
- Yes. Our favourite Volvo XC40 is the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Recharge T4, which offers a combined output of 211bhp from its 1.5-litre petrol engine and electric motor, and has an official electric-only range of 28 miles. A more powerful (and expensive) Recharge T5 PHEV is available, as is the fully electric Volvo XC40, with an official range of 261 miles.Read more here
- We recommend the Volvo XC40’s Recharge T4 engine with Plus trim, which sits above Start and Core in the line-up, but is still reasonably priced. The long list of standard equipment includes a 360-degree parking camera, ambient interior lighting and heated and electrically adjustable seats.Read more here
- In entry-level Start form, the Volvo XC40 gets a 9.0in touchscreen, built-in sat-nav, rear parking sensors and a sophisticated automatic emergency braking (AEB) system. Stepping up to Core trim brings some desirable extras, including rear parking sensors, a rear-view camera and a powered tailgate.Read more here
- Most of the Volvo XC40’s functions are controlled through its portrait-oriented touchscreen, which looks and works much like an iPad. It’s easy to use when parked up, but quite distracting and fiddly when you’re driving.Read more here
- The Volvo XC40 has an official boot capacity of 452 litres. While many plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) lose a lot of luggage space to their batteries, PHEV versions of the XC40 offer the same space as the petrols in the main boot area. You can fit seven carry-on suitcases below the parcel shelf – the same as in the Volkswagen Tiguan.Read more here
|RRP price range||£26,515 - £60,300|
|Number of trims (see all)||6|
|Number of engines (see all)||7|
|Available fuel types (which is best for you?)||petrol, electric, hybrid|
|MPG range across all versions||134.5 - 42.1|
|Available doors options||5|
|Warranty||3 years / 60000 miles|
|Company car tax at 20% (min/max)||£91 / £3,001|
|Company car tax at 40% (min/max)||£183 / £6,001|