Volvos are robust and reliable, but they haven’t been especially fun until the arrival of the 2019 Volvo XC40 – the newest, smallest, and most playful of the Swedish automaker’s revamped three-SUV lineup.
The compact crossover, laden with unexpected colors, curves and cutouts to appeal to young urbanites, marks a departure from Volvo’s traditionally staid look. Instead, Volvo’s first-ever compact SUV comes with its own cheeky personality, strategically targeted toward millennials ambivalent about car ownership.
To seduce Gen Z, Volvo placed a strategic bet on packaging funky design, a plush cabin, and life-hacking storage compartments at a comparatively low starting price. Starting at $33,200, the XC40 arrives in dealerships next year as the quintessential urban crawler: functional and fuel-efficient with an optional, head-turning color-contrasting roof.
The unorthodox two-tone color scheme is one way designers strived to give the turbocharged, four-cylinder crossover more character to distinguish it from the automaker’s recently refurbished large XC90 and mid-size XC60 SUVs, according to Robin Page, senior vice president of design. That means sculpted door panels, flowing lines, and an unconventional silhouette more akin to other recent debuts in the growing compact crossover segment such as the Honda HR-V and Toyota CH-R.
Inside, the SUV is a Type-A millennial’s dream, with specialized pockets, nooks, and crannies placed throughout the cabin. Those include door pockets deep enough to fit a 15-inch laptop, slots to hold smartphones and parking garage tickets, and a fold-out hook for shopping bags or purses. Volvo also built a mini trash can into the center console, which can also hold a tissue box.
To court younger customers who don’t have the money or credit to finance a car, Volvo has launched Care by Volvo, a subscription-based, flat-fee national leasing program. Starting at $600 per month, the program includes insurance, service, and maintenance but not taxes or registration fees, and does not require a down payment.
Of course, the XC40 is also available for lease or purchase. The all-wheel drive version, which arrives in March, starts at $35,200. A front-wheel drive version expected next summer begins at $33,200. Volvo is also planning on releasing hybrid and EV versions later.