L.A. Auto Show 2017: Volvo enters compact SUV market with XC40


This is the 2019 Volvo XC40, Volvo’s third sport utility vehicle (the others are the larger XC90 and XC60) and its first entry in the compact SUV market.

What is it?

The Swedish automaker claims the XC40 will be “among the safest, well-equipped compact SUVs available.” The all-wheel-drive T5 version will start at $35,200 and, next summer, Volvo will introduce the T4 front-wheel-drive version starting at $33,200.

Why it matters

Volvo, which was acquired by Chinese automotive giant Geely in 2010, needs to stay competitive in the SUV market. The XC40’s entry in the fast-growing smaller sector is “broadening the appeal of the Volvo brand and moving it in a new direction,” Volvo Chief Executive Hakan Samuelsson said.

Volvo also knows that compact SUVs are particularly appealing to younger drivers, and it maintains that the XC40’s body style “has a strong, structured profile for a youthful expression.”

Consumer Reports said the XC40 “combines an eye-catching exterior, a fresh and innovative cabin, and all the safety equipment one would expect from a Volvo.”

What's new?

At 174.2 inches long and 65 inches high, the T5 version of the XC40 has a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and eight-speed automatic transmission.

An optional panoramic sunroof is available, and there is interior LED mood lighting whose color can be adjusted.

Volvo long has put a premium on safety, and the XC40’s available features include detection for vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and animals; pilot assist, run-off road protection, cross-traffic alert with brake support and a 360-degree camera for parking.

There’s also a dedicated cellphone storage space between the front seats to free up cup holders, and for general storage there are large door pockets, integrated bag hooks and a customizable cargo area.

While the XC40 bears a resemblance to Volvo’s larger SUVs, “distinctive XC40 details include an upswept rear-side window, a clamshell hood and the sort of plastic wheel-arch cladding that has become visual shorthand for a crossover in recent years,” Car and Driver said.

The competition

The XC40 will compete with a range of upscale compact and crossover SUVs, including the Audi Q3, BMW X1, Mercedes GLA and Lexus NXT.

The details

The XC40 will be included in the automaker’s new Care by Volvo program, in which users pay a flat monthly fee for the vehicle, maintenance, insurance, protection services and the ability to upgrade to a new car in as little as 12 months. Traditional purchase and lease choices also remain available.

The L.A. Auto Show runs Dec. 1-10 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Times coverage begins Nov. 25 at