The spunky little sibling in the Volvo lineup is the 2023 XC40 SUV, which blends Volvo’s safety-first ethos and upscale ambiance with a more youthful character. The XC40’s cabin is practical and nicely trimmed, and the seating position is much higher than that of rivals such as the BMW X1 and the Mercedes-Benz GLA-class. A host of technology features are at the ready as well, including Volvo’s advanced driver-assistance tech and a new Google-based infotainment system. Two four-cylinder powertrains are available—both with a 48-volt hybrid system—but only the more powerful of the two has all-wheel drive. An electric version is also available if you’re looking for a more eco-friendly option, but we review the XC40 Recharge separately.
What’s New for 2023?
Not only has the 2023 XC40 adopted Volvo’s new Core, Plus, and Ultimate trim levels, but it has also swapped out its T4 and T5 four-cylinder powertrains for new B4 and B5 ones that feature a 48-volt hybrid system. To mark the occasion, Volvo has given the XC40 a light exterior styling refresh that includes revised headlamps, an updated front bumper and grille, and new wheel designs. Three new colors—Bright Dusk Metallic, Platinum Grey Metallic, and Silver Dawn Metallic—are available, as is a new City Block textile upholstery option. Inside, the XC40 transitions to Volvo’s newer Google-based infotainment system but retains the same 9.0-inch touchscreen display.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
While we haven’t driven the XC40 with its updated powertrains yet, we’d still select the B5 because it has the more powerful 247-hp engine and offers all-wheel drive. We’d choose the mid-range Plus trim, as it comes standard with a panoramic sunroof, leather seats, LED fog lights, a power-folding rear seat, and a crystal gearshifter.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Under the hood of every XC40 is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder powertrain making either 194 horsepower in B4 form or 247 horsepower in the B5. Both feature a 48-volt hybrid system. The more powerful B5 pairs exclusively with all-wheel drive while the entry-level B4 comes only with front-wheel drive. We haven’t had a chance to test drive the XC40 with its new powertrains yet, but the older T5 version scooted to 60 mph in a reasonably brisk 6.2 seconds. The eight-speed automatic transmission handled gearchanges without delay and transmitted no harshness to the cabin while doing so. Our sole complaint was the coarse sound the T5 engine emitted under heavy throttle. We expect similar behavior from the updated B5 setup, but we’ll update this story when we get a chance to take it for a spin. The XC40’s towing capacity—a rarity among subcompact-luxury crossovers—remains a stout 3500 pounds.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The XC40’s EPA fuel-economy ratings are a class-competitive 24 mpg city and 32 mpg highway for the B4 model and 23 mpg city and 30 mpg highway for the B5. When we get a chance, we’ll take the XC40 on our 75-mph highway fuel economy route and report its real-world test results here. It’s up against strong competition in the form of the efficient Mercedes-Benz GLB250, which delivered an impressive 32 mpg in our testing. For more information about the XC40’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Contemporary Swedish styling meets fun and functional design inside the XC40. The cabin’s light and airy atmosphere imparts a truly upscale vibe even in the base Core trim. Passenger space is commodious in both the front and rear seats. As is the case with its more expensive stablemates—the XC60 and XC90—the XC40 is functional inside, well made, and beautifully designed—if not quite as plush and luxurious. Volvo designers took the opportunity to incorporate more youthful flourishes in the cabin of the Plus trim, such as the textured metallic trim in place of traditional wood inlays and rectilinear vents with floating chrome adjusters. Top-of-the-line Ultimate models sport a classier appearance, with driftwood trim and a shift knob crafted from Orrefors crystal. In our luggage test, the XC40 managed to accommodate 23 carry-on suitcases with its rear seats folded. Additionally, Volvo has integrated a number of inventive cargo-storage features throughout the XC40’s interior, such as a hook that flips out from the glovebox to hold takeout bags, a divider for the cargo area, and a removable garbage bin with a hinged door in the center console.
Infotainment and Connectivity
From its prominent position in the center of the XC40’s dashboard, Volvo’s Google-based infotainment system is projected brightly on a 9.0-inch touchscreen. Almost everything inside the cabin is controlled via this screen, but there are few physical buttons. System usability is a mixed bag: The main menus are intuitively arranged, but on-screen icons are too small, which makes them fussy to use on the go.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Volvo offers plenty of driver-assistance tech as standard, including automated emergency braking. However, more advanced features including a semi-autonomous driving mode are optional. For more information about the XC40’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Standard lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control with a semi-autonomous driving mode
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Volvo’s warranty coverage is fair, and three years of complimentary scheduled maintenance are a nice perk. Unfortunately, there’s nothing here that makes the XC40 a standout among its rivals, which all offer roughly the same coverage.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Complimentary scheduled maintenance is covered for three years or 36,000 miles
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