The 2019 Automobile All-Stars winners will be revealed on Saturday, March 9 at 11:00 am Eastern, but first we’re introducing—in no particular order—a few of the contenders each day this week. Head here for an All-Stars preview, and be sure to check back all week to see the contenders as they’re announced!
We like Volvos. All three 90-series variants—XC, S, and V—have been All-Stars winners in the recent past, and the XC40 shares many of their most appealing elements. But we found the differences to be equally endearing.
“Everything in the XC40 is just a bit different,” longtime scribe for Automobile Ronald Ahrens said, and he wasn’t just talking about the edgier styling. The littlest U.S.-market Volvo rides the marque’s new Compact Modular Architecture, as opposed to the Scalable Product Architecture underpinning the 60- and 90-series cars, and it has a more energetic feel. “Decent power with either engine,” senior digital editor Erik Johnson noted. Contributor Basem Wasef said it “delivers among the best balances between ride quality and handling,” but some of us thought the low-profile tires on higher-end models compromised ride quality.
Targeted toward a younger buyer, the XC40 takes stylistic liberties that several editors picked up on. “The XC40 is full of delights,” Wasef said, “and I’m not just talking about the shocking orange interior hue.” Added daily new editor Conner Golden: “All of the delicious design touches from the bigger 90-series Volvos are here, only scaled down.”
Judges also felt the XC40 stands out in a sea of compact crossovers. “I’m a huge fan of the quirkiness this thing injects into a segment that bores me,” Golden said, and Wasef agreed: “It’s a fresh-faced contender that brings new blood to the game.”
Our All-Stars gathering focuses on the driving experience, but editors called out the Volvo’s more practical features. The XC40 drew praise for its laptop-sized door bins, grocery bag and purse hooks, and even the center console’s integrated trash can. “I’m not sure there’s a smarter-packaged CUV on the market,” Golden said.
Although the XC40 didn’t end up taking one of the top All-Stars spots, like the rest of Volvo’s recent lineup, it did earn our respect. As Johnson said, “It’s a beautifully designed little runabout whose relaxed, refined demeanor can take the edge off a stressful day.”
2019 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD R-Design Specifications
|PRICE||$36,195/$45,935 (base/as tested)|
|ENGINE||2.0L turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4; 248 hp @ 5,500 rpm, 258 lb-ft @ 1,800–4,800 rpm|
|LAYOUT||4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, FWD/AWD SUV|
|EPA MILEAGE||23/31 mpg (city/hwy)|
|L x W x H||174.2 x 73.3 x 65.0 in|
|0–60 MPH||6.1 sec|
|TOP SPEED||140 mph|