2019 Volvo XC40
If you’re Volvo, how do you follow up the fantastic XC90 full-size and XC60 mid-size crossovers? Well, automotive logic would dictate things would continue to trickle down; and indeed they have, with an all-new, compact sized, 2019 Volvo XC40.
It may be Volvo’s smallest crossover yet, but it feels big for the class. And, it is the first modern Volvo not built on the SPA platform, but a new Compact Modular Architecture.
Looking taller and stubbier than its bigger kin, the XC40’s exterior is both bold and cartoonish. We also see traces of Land Rover and Jeep in its luxo-rugged design. There’s plenty to draw the eyes here; from the scooped out grille, deep body cuts, an available contrasting roof, and even a little Swedish flag sticking out from under the clamshell hood. Just don’t tell anyone it’s actually made in Belgium.
Our tester is a T5, which in current Volvo-speak means the 2.0-liter I4 underneath the hood is turbo-charged. Sums of 248–horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque put it well above class average.
An 8-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive are standard with the T5. Volvo is of course, no stranger to the front-wheel-drive based all-wheel-drive game; having fielded examples for some 20-years, since the 850 Estate, becoming V70XC here in the states.
A naturally-aspirated, 2.0-liter, front-wheel-drive only, XC 40 T4 will arrive here later this year, with a plug-in hybrid and pure EV following that.
The suspension design, and our T5’s ride itself, favors that of its bigger kin; yet needless to say, its diminutive size makes it a breeze to whip around city streets, as well as in and out of traffic. Which you can do quite easily, with incredibly powerful response from the engine.
So, the XC40 squirts off the line quite efficiently as well, capable of hitting 60 in just 6.3-seconds. Power arrives early and stays, shifts click through quickly and smoothly, for a ¼-mile ending in 14.8-seconds at 95 miles-per-hour.
The XC40 felt nimble and eager through our cone course. Steering is very light, yet we always had a good sense of where our wheels were pointing.
There’s laser-like attention to interior details, with a wealth of sensible storage options throughout the cabin. On the flip side, the shortage of physical controls, and over reliance on a big touch screen, didn’t impress us.
When it comes to materials and theme, it’s totally Swedish; with pleasant-looking aluminum on the dash, nicely carpeted door panels, and fit-and-finish commensurate with rival luxury brand.
Size has not impacted the Volvo comfort we’ve come to expect, with a fairly high seating position; again, giving you the impression it’s a larger vehicle.
Rear seat legroom is quite good as well, with adequate headroom for most adults.
In back, there’s 20.7 cubic-ft. of cargo space, maxing out at 47.2 with the rear seats folded; not as roomy as some, but the space is flexible and very nicely finished.
When it comes to safety systems, if Volvo has it, it’s here; and not just available, but standard.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 23-City, 31-Highway, and 26-Combined. We saw a good 27.8 miles-per-gallon with the required Premium. The Energy Impact Score is an average one, at 12.7-barrels of yearly petroleum use, along with CO2 emissions of 5.6-tons.
If all of that wasn’t enough, you can buy one for a more than reasonable $34,195. The T5 with all-wheel-drive, starts at just $36,195. And with this vehicle, Volvo is also launching a new subscription service, that will allow you to get a vehicle including insurance and maintenance for one monthly payment, with no money down. And, much like the millennials they are going after probably already do with their smartphones, you can upgrade your vehicle after as little as one year.
But, what really matters, is that the 2019 Volvo XC40 delivers on all points, with a refined interior and ride quality found nowhere else in the compact segment. Now that Volvo has revamped their entire SUV lineup in just 3-years, it’s hard not seeing the XC40 following in the footsteps of XC90, and 60; which is to say, being another big success.
- Engine: 2.0 liter
- Horsepower: 248
- Torque: 258 lb.-ft.
- 0-60 mph: 6.3 seconds
- 1/4 mile: 14.8 seconds @ 95 mph
- EPA: 23 mpg city / 31 mpg highway
- Energy Impact: 12.7 barrels of oil/yr
- CO2 Emissions: 5.6 tons/yr
2023 GMC Canyon
Canyon Goes Bigger
Most people know the GMC Canyon as the Chevrolet Colorado’s professional grade cousin. And while that sounds like just marketing speak, with an all-new design of GM’s midsize truck platform comes more genuine brand separation. So, let’s see what the third-gen GMC Canyon delivers in real time!
Small trucks are once again a big deal, and part of the reason is that they are no longer small. There’s not much about this 2023 GMC Canyon that resembles the ¼-ton Sonomas, S-10s, Rangers, and Datsun trucks that were wildly popular in the 1980s.
Of course, then, people were willing to sacrifice certain “big-truck” things for an easier to use and more economical pickup experience. Well, we don’t seem to be big on compromise for much of anything these days, and the current midsize crop of trucks deliver more than ever. So fittingly, the 2023 Canyon will be available as a Crew Cab only with a 5-foot bed. No more extended cab or long bed options. Wheelbase is about 3-inches longer than before, with the front wheels pushed more towards the front. It definitely looks tougher, and they’ve even eliminated the much-hated front air dam that protruded well below the front bumper.
The Canyon also comes exclusively with the high-output version of GM’s 2.7-liter turbocharged I-4, with a stout 310-horsepower and 430 lb-ft. of torque. At times it feels even more powerful than those numbers would indicate, with its diesel-like torque delivery enabling a best-in-class max tow rating of 7,700-lbs. No choice of transmission either, strictly 8-speed automatic, but you can still decide whether you want rear or 4-wheel-drive.
At minimum, ground clearance is 9.6-inches, which is more than an inch taller than last year, and almost 2-inches over Chevy’s base Colorado. And since it’s all about the off-road packages these days, our AT4 tester comes with 4-wheel drive, off-road suspension, locking rear diff, 2-speed transfer case, hill descent control, and 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tires.
And that’s just where things get started, as at the top of the heap, there’s a new AT4X with 10.7-inches of ground clearance, enhanced front and rear e-locking differentials, 33-inch mud terrain tires, Multimatic dampers, and an additional Baja Drive Mode. We’ll have more on the AT4X real soon.
But for all Canyons, including this AT4, GMC went tech-heavy, as all get 11-inch infotainment screens and a fully digital driver display in either 8 or 11-inches. Plus, an available head up display comes with most trims, and there are even optional underbody cameras.
Unique AT4 features include a Jet Black and Timber interior motif with stitched logos on the leather front seats. Those seats are definitely comfortable, and it feels maybe a tad roomier than before, but still well shy of the sprawling space in a full-size truck. It’s even more noticeable in the rear, though there are more practical storage options back here.
The AT4 gets a sliding rear window, along with a tailgate storage system to complement the integrated ruler, and bed side-mounted 120-volt power outlet. The Canyon already delivered one of the best rides in the midsize class, and the taller suspension seems to only improve on that; it’s not quite crossover plush, but certainly great for a body on frame truck.
Though the higher ground clearance and off-road emphasis kept it from being a track star. Indeed, healthy amounts of understeer and body roll greeted us in our handling course. It was a little hesitant off the line in speed runs, but once rolling, power poured on steadily. 0-60 in only 7.5-seconds, and through the ¼-mile in 15.6-seconds at 91 miles-per-hour.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the AT4 are 17-City, 21-Highway, and 19-Combined; we averaged an acceptable 18.2 miles-per-gallon of Regular. Pricing starts with a 2-wheel-drive Elevation at $38,395. That puts it at midlevel Chevrolet Colorado, with is consistent with the mission of the new Canyon. All other trims come with 4-wheel drive, this AT4 starting at $45,395, and the AT4X now eclipsing Denali as the highest offering at $56,995.
So, as small trucks have grown, so has the price of entry. But if that doesn’t scare you off, there is no denying the 2023 GMC Canyon is yes bigger, but also bolder and badder than before. Does that necessarily make it better? We say positively yes!
- Engine: 2.7L Turbo-4
- Horsepower: 310
- 0-60 mph: 7.5 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 121 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 18.2 mpg (Regular)
- Transmission: 8-speed auto
- Torque: 430 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 15.6-seconds at 91 mph
- EPA: 17 City / 21 Highway / 19 Combined