Volvo Reveals 2019 XC40 Compact SUV and Subscription Ownership Program
“Care by Volvo” to Include Flat Monthly Fee, Annual Upgrades
Volvo introduced the all-new XC40 compact SUV today, giving the world a look at the vehicle that will do battle with the BMW X1, Infiniti QX30, and other small luxury crossovers. In a departure from its bigger brothers, the XC40’s modern, tech-inspired styling should help it attract younger customers to the company fold.
Thanks to its big rectangular grille, diagonal grille garnish, “Thor’s hammer” LED headlight accents, and vertical taillights, the 2019 XC40 is instantly recognizable as a Volvo. But everything else represents a stylistic departure from the company’s larger offerings. A unique clamshell hood gives the front end some boxiness that links the XC40 to the much-beloved 200-Series wagons of old, but a stout power dome in the center section keeps it from looking too square.
The most distinctive vantage point for the new XC40 is its side profile, which is dominated by thick, triangular C-pillars with a black or white contrast roof on some models. A trapezoidal-shaped body contour low on the doors provides some visual interest, as do glossy black lower accents that wrap around the entire vehicle, including the front bumper, rocker panels, and rear bumper. The hatch’s fast angle and smooth contours help the XC40 look reasonably sporty, and bold “VOLVO” script just beneath the rear window leaves no doubt as to what the vehicle in front of you is.
Inside, the XC40 is similar to its bigger siblings, with comfortable-looking front and rear seating, a vertically oriented center touchscreen, and modern lines. Helping restore some funk to the design are unique materials, such as the checkerboard metallic trim found on the R-Design’s dashboard and the unusual black upholstery/orange carpet color combination available on the XC40. Volvo also made usable storage a high priority on the XC40, with dedicated cell phone storage in a cubby just ahead of the shifter. Furthermore, the company freed up space in the door panels by moving sound system equipment underneath the dashboard, and there’s a removable garbage bin found in the center console armrest.
Designed on Volvo’s new Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), the XC40 will be available in the U.S. with two powertrains, at least initially. The first model to come to our dealers will be the T5 Drive-E with all-wheel drive. Powered by a 2.0L turbocharged I-4, the T5 will produce 240 hp at 5,600 rpm and 258 lb-ft between 1,500 and 4,800 rpm. Following that model by about a month will be a front-wheel-drive T4, which will likely feature a depowered version of the same engine making about 200 hp. The T4 will start at $33,200, while the T5 will demand $35,200, each price referring to the base Momentum trim level. R-Design and Inscription packages will likely add $2,000 each.
In a bid to further enhance the XC40’s appeal to twenty- and thirty-somethings, the new SUV will be the first Volvo to offer a subscription-based ownership program. Taking inspiration from cell phones and entertainment services, Care by Volvo will offer customers a single, flat-rate monthly fee and the opportunity to upgrade to a new car as frequently as once a year. Unlike a traditional lease or finance option, Care by Volvo will also include maintenance, insurance, and certain protection systems, rolling most vehicle-related expenses into a single monthly payment. Care also offers unique upgrades, such as direct e-commerce delivery to your vehicle, scheduled car washes, and other services.
The XC40’s other unique offering in its segment will be a long list of standard safety features. Volvo City Safety will include pedestrian, cyclist, vehicle, and animal detection, incorporating automatic emergency braking to prevent collisions and injuries. The XC40 will also feature reverse cross-traffic monitoring and automatic braking, plus Volvo’s Pilot Assist semi-autonomous drive technology and Run-off Road Mitigation safety system—although it’s not clear if those features will be standard or optional.
What is certain is the XC40’s respectable performance in crash tests, as seen in the video the company released of its 31-mph side collision simulation. The XC40’s side impact protection does an incredible job of maintaining the vehicle structure. Look at the roof panel for proof: It hardly deforms at all as the XC40 is being struck on the side.
The 2019 XC40 T5 will hit U.S. dealers in May, with the cheaper T4 following that summer. With youthful styling, a long list of safety features, and an unusual-but-convenient ownership program, it could become the company’s biggest seller.