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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Review: 2019 Volvo XC40 R-Design

      ..When being late to the party is a strength..

    Automakers want to be first into a new segment for various reasons. They can become the icon for the class and grab a fair chunk of sales as competitors rush to get their models in. There is a significant downside to being first as it allows some of the competition to study and figure out where to improve on. This brings us to the 2019 Volvo XC40 which is the focus of today’s review. It was one of the late arrivals to the subcompact luxury crossover class, but it allowed the automaker to study and figure what it could improve on. How does it stack up?

    The XC40 shares various design traits with the XC60 and XC90 crossovers. They include a familiar boxy profile, wide rectangular grille, and LED headlights with the signature “Thor’s Hammer” element. But Volvo allowed their designers to play around to give it a distinct identity. Take for example the side profile with its beltline that sharply rakes along the rear door and meets the rear pillar. There is also the option of a two-tone color palette that gives the XC40 a youthful look.

    Inside, the XC40 follows the ideals as seen in other Volvos with a minimalist look. But again, Volvo gave free roam to their designers to make it slightly different. While my test vehicle didn’t come with the bright ‘Lava Orange’ carpet, there is patterned metal trim where you would expect to find wood and felt-like material covering parts of the door panels. There is a fair amount of hard plastics used, but Volvo made the smart decision of keeping them in places where they make sense such as panels covering the center console.

    My R-Design tester came with leather upholstery for the seats, along with power adjustments for those sitting in the front. The front seats are the best place to sit in as they offer plenty of support and comfort for any drive length. In the back, there plenty of head and legroom for most passengers. But the XC40 falters on the seats as the bottom cushions come up a bit short and the seat-back doesn’t have any form of recline.

    Volvo’s technology story in the XC40 is mixed. The reconfigurable 12.3-inch display for the instrument cluster is a delight to look at with vibrant graphics and different layouts to present key information. Move over to the center stack to find a nine-inch touchscreen with Volvo’s Sensus infotainment system. Many of the controls for audio, climate control, and systems are controlled through the screen, with a row of buttons sitting underneath for volume and a few other functions. This decision does make for a cleaner dash but also makes accomplishing simple tasks very irritating. To change the fan speed or audio input, you have to go through various screens to find that one menu or slider. Adding more physical buttons would clutter up the dash, but would massively improve overall usability.

    What engine comes under the hood of the XC40 ultimately depends on the driven wheels. Go for front-wheel drive and you’ll end up with the T4 - turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder with 187 horsepower. Opt for all-wheel drive like in my tester and you’ll get the T5 - the same 2.0L four, but with 248 horsepower. Both come paired with an eight-speed automatic.

    The T5 is the workhorse of Volvo’s lineup by boasting decent performance and fuel economy for most of their models. In the XC40, the T5 becomes a surprising performer with excellent off the line performance and a seemingly endless flow of power when needed for passing. Some credit is due to the 258 pound-feet of torque which is available on the low end of the rpm band. The eight-speed automatic provided timely and smooth shifts.

    Fuel economy is rated at 23 City/31 Highway/26 Combined. My average for the week landed around 24 mpg.

    Opting for the R-Design does change up the chassis setup with an emphasis on sporty driving. This is apparent in the bends as the XC40 feels confident with minimal body roll and quick reflexes. Steering is responsive, but there will be some who wished there was a little bit more weight dialed in. The downside to the R-Design’s chassis is the ride feeling slightly rough, not helped by the optional 20-inch alloy wheels fitted to my tester.

    Despite being somewhat late to the party, the Volvo XC40 stands out from the subcompact luxury crossover crowd. The styling inside and out put the model into its own space that competitors dream about, along with offering a strong performer in the form of the T5 engine. Where the XC40 stands out is the Care By Volvo subscription service. Starting at $700 a month for 24 months, this service gives you the vehicle, complimentary maintenance, insurance, and the ability to upgrade your vehicle to another one after 12 months. No one has been able to match what Volvo is offering.

    The XC40 shows that if you bring something compelling to the party, it doesn’t matter how late you are.

    Disclaimer: Volvo Provided the XC40, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year: 2019
    Make: Volvo
    Model: XC40
    Trim: T5 R-Design
    Engine: 2.0L Turbocharged DOHC Four-Cylinder
    Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 248 @ 5,500
    Torque @ RPM: 258 @ 1,800
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 23/31/26
    Curb Weight: 3,713 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Ghent, Belgium
    Base Price: $35,700
    As Tested Price: $46,385 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)

    Options:
    R-Design Features - $2,500.00
    Laminated Panoramic Sunroof - $1,200.00
    Vision Package - $1,100.00
    Advanced Package - $995.00
    Premium Package - $900.00
    20" 5-Double Spoke Matte Black Alloy Wheels - $800.00
    Harman Kardon Audio System - $800.00
    Heated Front Seats & Steering Wheel - $750.00
    Metallic Paint - $645.00



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    I really like the uniqueness of the XC40. I feel as if Cadillac was sort of seeking for the same space as this with the XT4, although missing the funkiness by quite a bit. 

    Edited by regfootball

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      Intuitive Infotainment?
      Acura’s previous infotainment system drew a lot of ire from people. The dual-screen layout was confusing as some functions were split between the two screens such as changing the audio input. Not helping was the two different control methods for this setup; touchscreen for the bottom portion and a controller for the top screen. Thankfully, Acura has introduced a new infotainment system for the RDX. A large 10.2-inch screen sits on top of the dash and is controlled by a touchpad on the center console. Seeing the touchpad for the first time sent chills down my spine as I thought back to my frustrating experiences with Lexus’ Touchpad Controller. But Acura says this controller is much easier and logical to use than competitors. Okay, challenge accepted.
      Acura’s touchpad controller is slightly different from Lexus’ setup as it is mapped to the screen. So if you want to access the navigation, you tap that part of the pad that corresponds to the screen. This removes the dragging of the finger across the touchpad to get it to the selection you want. This seems quite logical on paper, but I found to be somewhat frustrating. It took me a few days to mind-meld with the system as I was still used to dragging my finger across the touchpad to select various functions. This made simple tasks such as changing presets or moving around in Apple CarPlay very tough.
      There is also a smaller touchpad that controls a small section of the screen. This allows you to scroll through three menus - audio, navigation, and clock. This would prove to be the most frustrating aspect of this system as it didn’t always recognize whenever I scroll down on the touchpad to move to another screen.
      Thankfully, Acura has left a number of physical controls for the audio and climate systems. I’m glad that some luxury automakers aren’t falling into the trap.
      Powertrain Goes Back To Its Roots
      The RDX has always found itself with a different powertrain throughout its various generations. The first version used a turbo-four engine, while the second-generation moved to a V6. For the third-generation, Acura went back to the RDX’s roots and settled on another turbo-four engine. The 2.0L engine punches out 272 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a 10-speed automatic and either front or my tester’s Super-Handling all-wheel drive system.
      The turbo-four is quite a potent engine with little turbo lag when leaving a stop and a seemingly endless amount of power for any situation. The ten-speed automatic is very smooth and quick when upshifting. But it does stumble somewhat when you need a quick shot of speed. 
      I did notice that the 2.0L turbo isn’t a quiet engine when traveling on the expressway, going above 2,000 rpm when traveling at 70 mph. This may explain the slightly disappointing 21.7 mpg average I got during the week. EPA fuel economy figures for the A-Spec SH-AWD are 21 City/26 Highway/23 Combined. The standard RDX models see a small bump in their EPA fuel economy figures.
      Capable Driver
      Acura is no stranger to building a crossover that is good to drive, the larger MDX crossover is a prime example. But the RDX A-Spec takes that a step further. This version gets a slightly stiffer suspension setup which negates a fair amount of body roll on a winding road. The steering firms up nicely when pushed through corners. When going through the daily grind, the RDX A-Spec will let in a few more bumps and road imperfections due to its suspension tuning. Road and wind noise are kept to very minimal levels.
      Welcome Back Acura
      The 2020 RDX shows that Acura is starting to figure out what it wants to be; a brand that offers something playful in the class. The RDX certainly has the qualities with a bold exterior, punchy turbo-four, and a surprising chassis that offers sporty handling and a mostly-comfortable ride. The slightly-confounding infotainment system and poor fuel economy figures do sour it a bit. But the RDX is a very compelling alternative to many compact luxury crossovers.
      It does give me hope that Acura is figuring out who it wants to be and excited to see what comes down the road such as the new TLX.
      How I Would Configure An RDX: For me, I would basically take the exact RDX tester seen here. That will set me back $47,195 after adding destination and $400.00 paint option. Everyone else should look at the Technology package that will get you most of the safety equipment that is part of Acurawatch, along with a 12-speaker ELS audio system, navigation, and parking sensors. It will not break the bank at $41,000 for FWD or $43,000 for AWD.
      Disclaimer: Acura Provided the RDX, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Acura
      Model: RDX
      Trim: A-Spec
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DOHC 16-Valve VTEC Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: 10-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 272 @ 6,500
      Torque @ RPM: 280 @ 1,600 - 4,500
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 21/26/23
      Curb Weight: 4,015 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: East Liberty, Ohio
      Base Price: $45,800
      As Tested Price: $47,195 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Exterior Color - $400.00

      View full article
  • Posts

    • Pretty close to dumping them all at once you have to admit. Fusion was pretty much the only one they held in production until now. Yeah, Hertz filed for Ch. 11 reorganization BK so didn't exactly go out of bus., but yes probably one of their largest "customers" commercial fleet accounts since rental fleet sales is their main sales model  
    • (Author's Note: For those wondering where the 2021 Bronco story is, that will be up sometime tomorrow morning. There is a lot to digest, and need some more time to figure out how to structure that. Stay tuned. -WM). If the standard Bronco is a bit out of your reach, then Ford has another option in the form of the 2021 Bronco Sport. Yes, it is based on the Escape platform, but Ford is very adamant this us a very different animal. Lets begin with the dimensions. The Bronco Sport measures 172.7 inches in length and rides on 105.1 inch wheelbase - 7.8 and 1.6 inches shorter than the Escape. But the Sport is about an inch wider and is taller in terms of ground clearance (7.8 to 8.8 inches depending on the trim). Design-wise, the Sport looks very rugged with a boxy shape. chunky c-pillar, and a deep cut in the doors. The roof is raised slightly higher towards the back, reminding us of the first and second-generation Land Rover Discovery. This allows for better headroom and more cargo space. The only items that the Bronco Sport and Escape share inside are the switchgear. Everything else is unique to Bronco Sport such as the steering wheel featuring a bucking Bronco, MOLLE webbing on the back of the front seats to allow owners to attach various items, and optional rubberized floor. An eight-inch touchscreen with SYNC 3 comes standard.  Power will come from two engines. A turbo 1.5L three-cylinder providing 181 horsepower and 190 pound-feet of torque come standard on the base, Big Bend, and Outer Banks. The Badlands and 2021 model year only First Edition get the 2.0L turbo-four with 245 hp and 275 lb-ft. All with come with an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. Like the larger Bronco, the Sport gets a range of drive modes called GOAT (Goes Over Any Type of Terrain). Controlled via a knob in the center console, a driver can select from five different modes - Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery, and Sand. Badlands and First Edition add Mud/Ruts and Rocks. Surprisingly, Ford has announced pricing for the Bronco Sport. The base model begins at $28,155 including a $1,495 destination charge. The rest are as followed, Big Bend: $29,655 Outer Banks: $33,655 Badlands: $34,155 First Edition: $39,995 The first Bronco Sports are expected to arrive in dealers this fall, but you can put in a reservation right now with a $100 deposit. Though, we would wait a bit as Ford's servers are having some issues dealing with the load of everyone trying to put a reservation for the standard Bronco. Source: Ford Press Release is on Page 2 ALL-NEW FORD BRONCO SPORT RUGGED SMALL SUV EQUIPPED FOR TRAILS WITH STANDARD 4X4 AND BUILT WILD CAPABILITY AND CONFIDENCE The Bronco of small SUVs: All-new Ford Bronco Sport expands the rugged Bronco family of 4x4-only vehicles, giving more outdoor adventurers Bronco off-road capability, durability and technology Built Wild™: With standard 4x4 across the lineup, Bronco Sport lives up to its G.O.A.T. (goes over any type of terrain) heritage with Built Wild Extreme Durability Testing, Capability and Innovative Design to deliver unsurpassed ground clearance, made-for-the-trails approach and departure angles, water fording, obstacle protection and segment-first trail technologies Thrilling: Bronco Sport SUV enables exciting, high-speed off-road driving thanks to its Bronco-specific variant architecture, Bronco design DNA, available 2.0-liter EcoBoost® engine targeting segment-best horsepower and torque, and advanced 4x4 system with class-exclusive twin-clutch rear-drive unit with a differential lock feature Ready for fun: Class-exclusive features designed for life on the trails include safari-style roof enabling class-leading headroom and a cargo area high enough to hold two 27.5-inch-wheel mountain bikes; more than 100 factory-backed and aftermarket accessories are available to transport gear such as kayaks, surfboards, skis and camping equipment Reservations: Open now for $100 at ford.com DEARBORN, Mich., July 13, 2020 – The all-new Ford Bronco Sport off-road vehicle – the Bronco of small SUVs – signals for adventure-seekers a welcome return to roads and trails less traveled. With unmistakable Bronco styling and unrelenting Bronco capability, the smaller sibling of Bronco two-door and first-ever four-door SUVs joins the family with its own idea of fun. As with all Broncos, 4x4 is standard, and this rugged SUV is engineered to handle whatever weekend adventure its owner has in mind. “Bronco Sport has the toughness and smarts to help turn off-road novices into 4x4 pros,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford chief product development and purchasing officer. “Bronco Sport embraces the needs of outdoor enthusiasts – every inch of it was designed and engineered with weekend adventurers in mind.” Bronco Sport is smartly designed to transport two mountain bikes standing up in its cargo area – and two cyclists up front. Four available accessory bundles – in addition to more than 100 factory-backed standalone accessories – let owners easily make the vehicle their own by outfitting it to transport kayaks, skis, camping equipment or whatever gear propels their adventure. Five trim levels are available, including the base model, Big Bend™, Outer Banks™, Badlands™ and First Edition™. Reservations for Bronco Sport open today at ford.com; vehicles can be reserved for $100. Vehicles arrive in dealerships late this year. Built Wild 4x4 confidence Like the larger Bronco, the all-new Bronco Sport delivers the 4x4 off-road capability that made the original Bronco a legend. With off-road performance at its core, Bronco Sport provides solid footing on sand, snow, mud, rocks and more. For maximum off-road capability and long-term durability, Bronco Sport was tested in extreme conditions in places such as the Johnson Valley desert in California, as part of Built Wild Extreme Durability Testing. Badlands and First Edition models pack an advanced 4x4 system with a class-exclusive twin-clutch rear-drive unit with a differential lock feature to allow greater off-road performance – similar to a traditional mechanical locking differential. The system can divert virtually all rear axle torque to either wheel, setting it apart from any other vehicle in the non-premium subcompact utility segment. Bronco Sport’s suspension can take on rugged terrain and is complemented by Ford’s trail technologies. The small SUV’s Terrain Management System™ with up to seven available G.O.A.T. Modes™ helps drivers “go over any type of terrain” and in various conditions. Standard modes include Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery and Sand; Mud/Ruts and Rock Crawl modes are available on Badlands and First Edition. All models feature an independent front and rear suspension engineered and performance-tested in demanding environments across North America. The suspension is optimized to help drivers confidently maintain vehicle composure while aggressively taking on rugged terrain. On Badlands and First Edition series, the system includes uniquely tuned front struts with hydraulic rebound stops designed to provide a quieter, less jarring off-road experience. In addition, 46-millimeter-diameter monotube rear shocks are among the largest in the class, helping provide improved response and more comfort off-road, while softer springs and antiroll bars offer greater articulation over obstacles. Class-exclusive Trail Control™ technology furthers the vehicle’s off-road prowess. The available feature enables a cruise control-like setting up to 20 mph forward and 6 mph in reverse for vehicle-controlled throttle and braking, letting the driver stay focused on navigating the trail. For adventurers taking on rough and rocky terrain, the small SUV’s design includes made-for-the-trails departure, approach and breakover angles. An available class-exclusive front off-road camera with lens washer serves as a spotter and helps provide better visibility of the trail ahead, displaying the video on the center stack-mounted touch screen. In Rock Crawl mode, the electronic power steering assist system is uniquely calibrated to provide more precise control and help reduce steering wheel disturbance during low-speed maneuvers over rocky terrain. Off-road capability is further reinforced by four steel bash plates, plus available frame-mounted front tow hooks that can individually withstand static loads up to 100 percent of the gross vehicle weight. Badlands and First Edition can wade through up to 23.6 inches of water. Thrilling performance borne of Bronco DNA Staying true to the DNA of the first-generation Bronco, the all-new Bronco Sport SUV pays it forward with modern, heritage-inspired style, agile off-road architecture and optimized suspension for better control in all environments. The Badlands and First Edition series are powered by a 2.0-liter EcoBoost® engine that produces a targeted best-in-class 245 horsepower and 275 lb.-ft. of torque for high-speed off-road performance*. Base, Big Bend and Outer Banks series feature the proven 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine with a targeted 181 horsepower and 190 lb.-ft. of torque*. Both engines are paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission, while Bronco Sport Badlands and First Edition add SelectShift® with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters to help drivers maximize control both on- and off-road. A cooling system with additional transmission and rear-drive coolers keeps 2.0-liter models running strong over tough terrain. The Bronco Sport SUV’s design inspiration is directly linked to the all-new Bronco halo model. Its rugged design attributes include signature encapsulated cartridge grille, round headlamps, clean, flat bodysides, and timeless proportions that enable the short front and rear overhangs required for off-road maneuvers. Tough unpainted finishes smartly cover exterior contact points, so the vehicle is ready for almost anything the rough and tumble outdoors can throw at it. The Badlands series comes standard with 28.5-inch all-terrain tires. First Edition comes standard with 29-inch all-terrain off-road tires with more aggressive, deeper treads that stretch on to the sidewalls for improved off-road traction. Ready for fun to venture into the wild Human-centered design led to special Bronco Sport features such as class-exclusive liftgate LED floodlamps – because out in the wild, there are no streetlamps – MOLLE straps to carry extra gear, zippered seatback pockets for additional stowage, and even a built-in bottle opener in the cargo area. Its upright design and safari-style roof contribute to Bronco Sport’s adventurous silhouette, which not only features a long flat roof rail for maximum carrying length, it also treats occupants to best-in-class first- and second-row headroom. The cargo area has enough height to accommodate two standing 27.5-inch-wheel mountain bikes with the available Yakima dealer-installed interior bike rack accessory. Bronco Sport will launch with more than 100 factory-backed and aftermarket accessories for maximum personalization, enabling dealers to provide outfitting-on-demand for each owner’s individual adventure needs. Bronco Sport buyers can also opt for any of four lifestyle accessory bundles themed Bike, Snow, Water and Camping. A flip-glass rear window, low-load floor cargo area, overlanding-ready roof rack with capacity to make roof-top tent camping easy, and front fender peaks that allow the driver to see the corners of the vehicle easily from behind the wheel reveal this small SUV is purpose-built for adventure from front to back, top to bottom. Bronco Sport can quickly help with basecamp setup thanks to an innovative slide-out working table, part of the available five-way configurable Cargo Management System, plus a class-exclusive 400-watt inverter and liftgate floodlamps that illuminate up to 129 square feet for when the adventure ends after sundown. To make post-adventure cleanups painless, the Badlands and First Edition series offer washable rubber flooring throughout the cabin and cargo area, easy-to-clean cloth seating surfaces and silicone-sealed control switches. For stowage of wet, icy or muddy gear, an available storage bin is located below the second-row passenger-side seat. Smart in addition to being rugged, the vehicle features a SYNC® 3 system with an 8-inch touch screen and compatibility with Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™. Other available technology features include Ford+Alexa and SiriusXM™ satellite radio. The Ford Co-Pilot360™ suite of advanced driver-assist technologies is standard across the lineup, including Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking featuring Pedestrian Detection, Forward Collision Warning and Dynamic Brake Support, Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane-Keeping System, Auto High Beam Headlamps and a rearview camera. Available Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist+ technology includes Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go and Lane-Centering, Evasive Steering Assist and voice-activated touch screen navigation. Available Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist 2.0 technology adds Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go, Lane-Centering and Speed Sign Recognition. View full article
    • Welcome @balingtwineau 🎉
    • Continental now has 3 more inches front legroom, and 5 more inches rear legroom than a MB S550. Hyundai "B-Body" ??? That's hilarious.
    • There are, but you responded to just 1.
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