I thought I could give an early appraisal, in a cons and pros format, of my first 4 weeks with the much-anticipated Volvo XC40 (Petrol,T4).
Mind you that, until now and since I have not encountered major problems, I am very, very satisfied with the car.
Some years ago a I had a V70 T5 and it had some problems right out of the production line, problems that were solved to my full satisfaction in the end but that cost me time and aggravation until they were fully sorted out.
This, together with some reports, both here and in another UK forum, about some problems in some XC40 units made me a bit worried about this purchase.
As it seems to be all-OK and drives beautifully, I am still as giddy as I was, waiting for my car to be delivered.
As such, my overall impression is a very positive one, so don’t be too impressed by the cons, below, as they are more pet peeves than actual ownership problems.
1. Real life, on-the-road, the XC40 is as beautiful as it was in videos and photographs online or just standing there, at the dealership showroom. The design is a real heads turner.
2. Driving the car is an overall very positive experience. It is comfortable and drives in a way that is quite suited to my needs (over 55 years old, single user, occasionally with my wife, 50 miles per day in very good roads.). Being able to call different driving settings is a much welcomed bonus.
3. The way the design has been laid out “around the driver”. Everything is within reach and easily operated/selected from the driving position.
4. The intelligent human-car interfacing and automation.
5. The Harman Kardon sound system.
1. The reviews were right. The materials are carefully pondered to shave some bucks from each manufactured unit. Everything our eyes can see down to waist level is solid and the materials of acceptable or high grade quality. Everything from the waist down is just “Meh!”. The door panels, for instance, feature something akin to industrial carpeting. Certainly aware of the possible negative impact this might have on me and, in all certainty, duly instructed at the product seminars he must have attended, the salesman delivering the car made sure I understood that material was made from “recycled plastics” (...Looks and feels lame?...ah! but it is “green”...got to love marketing...).
2. Some brands are better at promoting themselves than others but this does not necessarily mean they have the upper hand on what they are promoting.
Volvo keeps touting about their Intellisafe technology but the matter of fact is that my wife’s 10 year-old Honda Accord Tourer already featured most of the road and city safety systems now deployed by Volvo.
I list this as a “con” because it is extremely clear that the algorithms behind these Volvo safety features, in spite of their continuous bragging over them, are not as refined as Honda’s already were, 10 years ago.
The systems on my XC40 keep triggering warnings or even stepping-up to active mitigation action in traffic situations where they simply were not necessary. It is a bit annoying to say the least and this was never a problem in the Honda.
3. Hyper-segmentation by Volvo.
My car costs roughly 54000 EUR in my country. I had access to a very significant discount and converted that discount in packages and individual options for the car.
I selected pack, after pack and individual option after individual option.
...but I still don’t have a rain sensor and a key lock in the glove compartment in a 54000 EUR car. Go figure...
The electric parking brake when used in “hill assist” mode is not mechanically refined. It makes (low intensity) grinding sounds when activating, coming to a rest, and deactivating, while starting to move again.
4. The “welcome” lights should work as both “welcome” and “good bye” lights. If the feature exists it does not make sense for it not to be activated after closing the car (This might be a SW bug, as there’s an option to set a specific timer on those lights in the “lights” configuration menu but, no matter what I select they won’t stay on after locking the car).
5. Although I measured the XC40 to be slightly quieter overall than my previous Honda CRV (...same stretch of road, same speed...), the acoustic graph showed to be much more irregular. That puzzled me and I started an investigation. It turns out it is the aerodynamic noise coming from the exterior mirrors and the doors. I kept the sound system off for some miles at around 65-70 mph in the highway and felt like the noise coming through the window to my left hear was quite noticeable and a bit annoying, after a while.
6. The consumption is nowhere near the advertised one. I was warned about it and told not to fret as it is system-induced during the break-in period.
I will wait a reasonable amount of time and mileage. If it does not lower, I will have to have a little talk with Volvo Portugal and, next, if needed, Consumer Affairs.
...And this is all I have from this first month owning the XC40.
Again, I cannot stress enough how happy, overall, I am with the car.
I hope this was useful.