Jump to content
Create New...
  • 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)

    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

    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    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
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Join the conversation

    You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
    Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • google-news-icon.png

  • google-news-icon.png

  • Subscribe to Cheers & Gears

    Cheers and Gears Logo

    Since 2001 we've brought you real content and honest opinions, not AI-generated stuff with no feeling or opinions influenced by the manufacturers.

    Please consider subscribing. Subscriptions can be as little as $1.75 a month, and a paid subscription drops most ads.*

    You can view subscription options here.

    *a very limited number of ads contain special coupon deals for our members and will show

  • Community Hive Community Hive

    Community Hive allows you to follow your favorite communities all in one place.

    Follow on Community Hive
  • Similar Content

  • Posts

    • Tech help needed prior to going in to Office Depot or other store to inquire ... or conducting research and spinning my wheels: I have 2 HP Pavilion desktops ... one is circa 2019 and the other is circa 2009, and it still works.  They are boxed up. Questions: 1.  If I needed to get hard drive carrying cases, how does one go about sizing the one they should buy? 2. I have never seen one before, but I'm assuming the construction of the case is thick and tough enough to protect the hard drive, yes? 3.  How much do hard drives in typical household HP Pavilions weigh and are they easy to remove so they can be transported? THANK YOU!
    • @Drew Dowdell, I bought it last week. My baby tree should be here tomorrow. 
    • https://newparts.com/articles/gm-3-6-v6-problems-and-known-issues/   I thought this was somewhat interesting when reading about the history of the 3.6
    • So we're all moved into the new server, but part of the process didn't fully work and I need your help to track some things down. The URLs for a number of pictures didn't update to their new locations.  Your job, when you spot one of these, is to use the Report Post/Article/Gallery button so I can fix it.  If we get a lot of these, I'll think up of some prize for the person with the most reports.  It can be missing emojis, missing pictures in threads, or missing pictures in an article.  The fix for most of these is super simple, but I need to crowdsource finding them. I'm leaving the 2025 Acura MDX  and 2025 Infiniti QX80 articles up as an example to look at. But you can also see it in this screenshot below, where it shows: 2025 Acura MDX Interior infotainment screen and dash Thanks for any help you can offer.  
    • I would look at an Ohio chapter if you want to join.  You're probably too late for seed distribution this year, I got mine right around this time last year.  My membership is expired as it was paid for through my prior employer, but it is something I'd like to join again.
  • Who's Online (See full list)

  • My Clubs

  • Create New...

Hey there, we noticed you're using an ad-blocker. We're a small site that is supported by ads or subscriptions. We rely on these to pay for server costs and vehicle reviews.  Please consider whitelisting us in your ad-blocker, or if you really like what you see, you can pick up one of our subscriptions for just $1.75 a month or $15 a year. It may not seem like a lot, but it goes a long way to help support real, honest content, that isn't generated by an AI bot.

See you out there.


Write what you are looking for and press enter or click the search icon to begin your search

Change privacy settings