Auto review: 2019 Volvo XC40.
Frank S. Washington | 3/7/2018, 9:28 a.m.
It has taken eight years and $12 billion and some good old fashioned Scandinavian patience. But Volvo has finally righted the ship and is ready to reassert itself in the premium luxury market. What’s more, those big bucks don’t include the additional billions spent to build assembly plants in China and South Carolina.
Volvo has developed three-cylinder and four-cylinder Drive E engines that deliver power and fuel efficiency, it promises to electrify in some form everything it sells by 2020 and the company has made a heavy commitment to developing autonomous vehicles.
We came here to see and to drive the 2019 Volvo XC40. The last and the smallest of Volvo’s new trio of crossovers. In a market where utility vehicles outsell cars, the XC40 promises to keep more new buyers opting for Volvos; the company already has 20,000 orders for its small crossover and 80 percent of them are new to the brand.
The 2019 XC40 has a design that is intended to set it apart from the bigger XC90 and XC60. It had short overhangs and the wheels were at the corners. However, make no mistake the XC40, with the Iron Mark in the middle of its shark nose grille, looks like a Volvo. There was the clamshell hood, signature LED taillights, hidden tailpipes, under wrapped doors with scalloped light catchers and it had 8.3 inches of ground clearance.
The new Volvo V60, which they showed us through a live stream from Stockholm, looks like a Volvo too. It’s made me realize that Volvo has introduced a bevy of new products and it has managed to give each one of them its own personality.
Volvo is pushing the XC40’s design, it featured several combinations of two-tone paint and there were changes around the C-pillar that lowered the roof. It had what Volvo called innovative storage compartments, mainly a storage tray beneath the driver’s seat and a compartment under the folding cargo floor.
And there were smart technology attributes that set it apart. The gear shifter in the Volvo XC40 was electronic leaving storage space in the tunnel console. The center armrest had a storage compartment underneath. There was a trash bin that could be taken out and emptied, an open storage compartment in front of the gear shifter, wireless phone charging, a 12V outlet and a USB port were placed in the front part of the tunnel console, a guide by USB ports to cleanly direct wires, a card holder on the lower left side of the dashboard, a storage drawer under driver’s seat, large door bins thanks to an air woofer moved to the dashboard and a folding hook on the glove compartment door to hold take-out or small bags.
They removed audio speakers from the doors too and now Volvo says the XC40 has the roomiest door bins on the market. To prove that claim I would have to take a tape measure and use it on every vehicle on the market. But I can say this: I put a banana and a bottle of water in the front passenger door bin and there was plenty of room left.