2020 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD Inscription
Class: Premium Subcompact Crossover
Miles driven: 375
Fuel used: 15.4 gallons
|CG Report Card
|Room and Comfort
|Power and Performance
|Fit and Finish
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.
|Big & Tall Comfort
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.
Real-world fuel economy: 24.3 mpg
Driving mix: 65% city, 35% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 22/30/25 (city/highway/combined)
Fuel type: Premium gas recommended
Base price: $35,700 (not including $995 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Inscription Package ($6750), Advanced Package ($1400), Heated front seats and steering wheel ($750), Park Assist Pilot ($200), 19-inch black alloy wheels ($800), Harmon Kardon premium audio system ($800)
Price as tested: $47,395
The great: Functional cabin space within tidy exterior dimensions; youthful-yet-sophisticated styling inside and out; high-end interior ambiance
The good: Comfortable-yet-nimble driving personality
The not so good: Complicated infotainment system; pricey options drive up the bottom-line price
The XC40 may be the smaller of Volvo’s two premium compact-crossover SUVs, but it doesn’t short you for choice. There are three trim levels, including sporty or luxury alternatives. All are available with either front- or all-wheel drive, and the choice of drivetrain dictates which of two available engines will be found under the hood.
Having just arrived on the scene for model-year 2019, the XC40 is minimally changed for 2020—there’s some alteration of standard equipment, particularly for the base Momentum and sportier R-Design. Consumer Guide took a turn in a luxury-oriented ’20 Inscription with AWD and the more powerful T5 engine, which was the same driveline/engine pairing in the first-year R-Design that we tested.
The greater difference is in how they are outfitted. Striving for a more sophisticated atmosphere, Inscriptions come with leather-upholstered seats and driftwood inlays on the doors and instrument panel. Orrefors Swedish crystal is used for the toggle-style shift lever for the 8-speed automatic transmission. There is a series-specific 18-inch-alloy-wheel design (though the test vehicle had extra-cost 19-inchers), chrome highlight trim for the vertical-bar grille and side windows, and roof rails in bright aluminum.
Among additional standard items are dual-zone electronic climate control, 12.3-inch digital vehicle-information display, 8-speaker audio, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone Integration, Wi-Fi hotspot, wireless charger, voice control, Sensus navigation system, 8-way power-adjustable front seats with driver’s-seat memory, leather-wrapped tilt/telescoping steering wheel, keyless entry, configurable cargo-area load floor, hands-free tailgate, panoramic moonroof, auto-dimming mirrors, oncoming lane mitigation, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alerts, and front and rear park assist. The T5 Inscription starts at $43,445 with delivery, but it can be had for $2000 less with the tamer T4 engine and front drive. With options, CG’s test truck ascended to $47,385.
Once the 248-horsepower T5 engine’s turbocharger spools up after some conspicuous delay the transmission downshifts and power starts to flow easily, albeit not necessarily quietly. “Dynamic” mode modifies engine performance and steering and ride calibrations. The Inscription lacks the sport-tuned suspension we experienced in the 2019 R-Design. Ride and handling were comfortable and alert.
Front passengers enjoy good head- and legroom. Adults—two of them—in the back seat will find decent headroom and a livable legroom unless front occupants need to stretch out. Driver vision to the sides and over the shoulder runs afoul of wide door posts and thick rear roof pillars. Passengers’ needs for personal-item storage are met by a large glove box, a modest console box, and a pull-out tray under the driver’s seat. A bay at the front of the console houses electronic-device inputs and the wireless charger. There are big pockets in the front doors, smaller pockets in the rear doors, net pouches on the backs of the front seats, and cup holders in the console and the pull-down rear armrest.
Driving controls display well in front of the driver, but we’re not universally enamored of the vertically oriented 9-inch infotainment touchscreen, with its smartphone-like swiping to access desired information and functions. Some climate settings are on the dash, but most are accessed through the screen. The shifter requires forward pushes to go into Reverse, and back clicks to select Drive, with a separate button to set Park. Volvo newbies will need a little time to get used to this.
Cargo space is good with the rear seats up, and is helpfully configurable thanks to the adjustable folding floor section. The hinged floor panel kinks to form a partition that keeps small items closely contained, or can be inserted at different levels to accommodate varying cargo needs. At one setting, if forms a continuous load floor with the rear 60/40-split seats, which fold absolutely flat. (Unfortunately, remote buttons for lowering the rear seats have been eliminated.) The rear seat incorporates a pass-through for skis and other long items.
Even with options and AWD the Inscription manages to stay on the right side of $50,000. However, Momentum prices start in the mid $30,000s for the same mechanical layout, so no XC40 buyer needs to feel shortchanged.
2020 Volvo XC40 Inscription