Get in, and the whole world seems to slow down. Your pulse lowers just a bit. Fire it up—there’s a pleasant two-note chime, gently suggesting you buckle your seatbelt. A little turbo four-cylinder hums away in the background. Pull the leather-wrapped shifter into Drive and glide off, the noise of the outside world suppressed. This is the Volvo XC40, a relaxing little SUV perfectly comfortable in its own skin.
The XC40 is not an enthusiast’s car by any stretch of the imagination. Sure, it’s about as quick as a modern hot-hatch, but nowhere near as fun. And frankly, it’s not the sort of car you came to Road & Track to read about. But that shouldn’t stop us from appreciating it.
There’s just something about the XC40. It warms its way into your heart, even if your ideal car is something more like a Lotus Elise.
The XC40 starts charming before you even drive. Where Volvo’s new 60- and 90-series cars are handsome and staid, the XC40 is a bit less serious. It’s definitely a Volvo, but one with a good sense of humor. Just look at the rubber Swedish flag attached to the clamshell hood—so whimsical!
At $44,315 as tested, this XC40 came with lots of big-Volvo tech including Pilot Assist, a semi-autonomous assistance system with adaptive cruise control and an automatic steering function. I didn’t get a ton of time to play with it in the XC40, but having used it extensively in other Volvo products, I can say it’s an option you should really consider. It’s great for making long highway slogs easier.
But while you can argue that Volvo is pandering to millennials—with things like a car subscription service and the general Active-Lifestyle vibe the XC40 sells—you can’t argue with the XC40 itself. It’s a lovely, relaxing thing that looks great inside and out, and seems to give up nothing other than size to the larger XC60 and 90. All things considered, it might be the best car Volvo makes today.
And for us, the XC40 is a perfect compliment to the stuff we usually write about. It’s the sort of thing you’d love to have taking up the more sensible half of your two-car garage.