Spec Sheets: 2020 Volvo XC40

by   Anthony Fongaro

The plethora of sub-compact SUVs is on the rise. For around $20,000, you can get a Korean or Japanese brand with them range-topping trim levels priced around $30,000. Premium sub-compact SUVs start around $36,000 and can be optioned out to over $50,000! You can thank more luxurious interiors, powerful engines, and upgrading your brand image. Although there are many good options from luxurious brands around the world, my top pick comes from Sweden. The Volvo XC40 is my favorite for its style, drivetrain, and goal of being more luxurious than sporty.

How Volvo packages the XC40 is interesting. Instead of allowing all-wheel-drive in the base and upgraded engines, the XC40 allows all-wheel-drive in the more powerful engine. Although the front-wheel-drive XC40 T4 has a more economical 2.0-liter I4 with 187-horsepower and 221 lb-ft, it’s too slow to be competitive. Just pay more for the $2,000 T5 and you get a more powerful 2.0-liter I4 with 248-horsepower and 258 lb-ft. Since this is more powerful and has standard all-wheel-drive, there is a three MPG deficit for the T5 compared to the T4 but it is a trade-off that’s worth it. Although the T5 doesn’t need all-wheel-drive, the added security and performance is fine with me.


With three different trim levels, the XC40 can be more sporty or more luxurious. Base models are Momentum, the sporty trim is called R-Design, and the luxurious model is the Inscription. Whichever model you choose, the XC40 has upscale standard features. Some of these features include a 12.3” drivers display and 9” Sensus touch screen display. This is Volvo’s infotainment system that includes climate control and navigation. Driving wise, all XC40s receive drive mode settings that include Eco, Comfort, Dynamic, Individual, and Off-Road. Finally, all trim levels get the cool LED Headlights with Thor’s Hammer design along with Lane Keep Assist.

Although the R-Design is the best looking with more paint choices, I’m going with the Inscription T5 since it is the most luxurious model. This starts at $42,450. Some of the standard equipment for the Inscription includes 18” 6-spoke black diamond-cut alloy wheels, leather upholstery, and a very stylish crystal gear lever knob. There is also a different 3-spoke leather steering wheel with uni-deco inlays and a different grill that’s high-gloss black with glossy chrome. Finally, you have a large panoramic roof. Time to build out the XC40 T5 Inscription and see why it is the luxury version of the lineup.

Let’s start with color. These are quite simple. These colors are black, grey, silver, brown, and white. Volvo makes this very simple, but if you want a more vibrant color, you’ll have to go with a Momentum or an R-Design. My favorite color for the exterior is the Thunder Grey Metallic. Wheels are also simple. You have the standard 18” wheels but have optional 19 and 21” wheels. The optional wheels are not necessary since the standard 18” 6-Spoke black diamond-cut alloy wheels are all that you need.


The interior has a few different colors. Compared to the R-Design, you can get more than just black. These seats are also actual leather seats. The options for these include red in charcoal, amber in charcoal, blond in charcoal, and charcoal in charcoal. Whichever color you choose, you won’t be disappointed. My choice would be the more brown looking blond in charcoal with the exterior combination. There are no additional options for the interior, so you’ll see driftwood inlays, the 3-spoke leather steering wheel with uni-deco inlays, and crystal gear lever.

There are only three packages, and the two I would get are the Heated Front Seats and Steering Wheel and Advanced Package. The package pretty much speaks for itself. This gives the XC40 heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. An Advanced Package allows more peace of mind with a few safety features. Pilot Assist with Adaptive Cruise Control, LED lighting with Active Bend Lights, a 360-degree Surround View Camera, and Headlight Clean System are all in this package. Finally, there are a few options. The only one I would do is the optional 13 speaker Harman Kardon Premium Sound system.


All of these add $4,000 to the base price of the most expensive XC40, the T5 Inscription. Although the paint, interior leather, and styling features are all standard, the packages and single option increase the price. $750 will get you the Heated Front Seats and Steering Wheel. For the Advanced Package, pony up an additional $1,400. Finally, the upgraded Harman Kardon sound system adds $800. The total price online: $46,395. To be honest, this isn’t that bad. Yes, it is a lot, especially since you have to pay $750 for an option that should be standard. That said, rivals can cost more than $5,000 more.

Volvo really knocked it out of the park with the XC40. Although it may not be the sportiest SUV, it combines style with a luxurious interior. My favorite engine is the T5’s engine with an all-wheel-drive system. Out of the three trim levels, the trim level of choice for a more luxurious interior is the Inscription. Adding a few features will always increase the price, but $46,000 for a luxury subcompact SUV isn’t bad. If you’re looking for a competent sub-compact luxury SUV, look no further than the Volvo XC40 T5 Inscription.

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