With multiple awards for its iconic XC90 sport utility vehicle (SUV), and more awards for its sibling, the XC60 small SUV, it’s no wonder that Volvo continued to propagate by entering the compact SUV segment with its newest baby, the 2019 XC40. Latino Traffic Report recently attended the national launch in Austin, TX and while the weather did not cooperate, the sporty XC40 was quite agreeable.
The small SUV segment (that includes compacts) remains one of the more robust in the auto industry with sales increasing by more than 45 percent from March of last year, according to the Wall Street Journal. More popularity, however, creates more competition, so from the onset, the XC40 will need to stand out in a crowd. As the only Swede in the bunch, it has a head start.
Volvo offers up to seventeen combinations for the XC40, including two-tone exteriors accentuated by a black or white roof. At the launch, we drove the XC40 T5 Momentum (mid-level trim) and R-Design in multiple color combinations.
Inside, Volvo’s distinctive Scandinavian touch combines art and function. On its siblings, like the XC90, that combination accentuated luxury, but a plethora of functional advances distinguishes the sportier XC40.
After extensive research that included feedback from its target audience—young professionals—Volvo adopted a clutter-free approach to the compact SUV’s interior. At the launch, we met David Clark of Kartwheel Studio (pictured, right), who designed a special desk to offer Volvo solutions that embodied the clutter-free goal for the XC40, like large door pockets, integrated bag hooks and customizable cargo spaces for special objects like laptops, a tissue box, cell phones, take out food, grocery bags and even trash. For added convenience, a power tailgate with hands free opening is standard.
Like all Volvos, the XC40 gets its power from a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, specifically, a 2.0-liter, on the base T4, but with a different turbocharger than the T5, which is the first to go on sale. Its engine produces 248 horses and 258 lb.–ft. of torque. While a hybrid and electric versions are planned, the only available fuel consumption information at the launch refers to the T5, which should achieve 23 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 31 mpg on the highway, according to www.fueleconomy.gov. Four available drive modes, Eco, Dynamic, Comfort, and Individual, help customize the driving experience even further on every XC40.
Additional standard features include a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel, the nine-inch Sensus Connect touch screen shaped like a tablet, Bluetooth connectivity, leather seating, 4G LTE connectivity with an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot (six-month trial subscription), and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A premium brand like Volvo also offers nice creature comforts like a panoramic sunroof, ambient interior lighting that can be adjusted, unique metal accents, and wireless QI mobile phone charging.
While the brand has evolved to grab raves for its design, safety will always be an essential element of any Volvo’s DNA. Standard safety features on the XC40 include Pilot Assist with adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, and Run-off Road protection and mitigation. The Blind Spot Information System that Volvo invented, however, and Cross Traffic Alert remain optional on the XC40 Momentum and R-Design. It is standard on the Inscription.
At the launch, Volvo execs also discussed Care by Volvo for customers not ready to commit to buying or leasing. It allows car buyers to choose a car online, pay a flat-rate monthly fee, and have the opportunity to upgrade to a new car as early as twelve months.
Available in all-wheel and front-wheel-drive versions, the 2019 XC40 has a base price of $34,195, including destination fees. Pricing for the currently available 2019 XC40 T5 is $36,195.
The new XC40 displays a youthful exuberance that should grab attention in the increasingly competitive compact SUV segment.
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