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 BMW X7
Should Keep The BMW Faithful Coming Back For More
While BMW got serious about their SUV game around the same time as most other luxury brands, it took them until just a few years ago to deliver a 3-row example. This year, that X7 is updated with new style and new tech. So, let’s see if that makes it the ultimate premium 3-row family machine.
When it comes to utility vehicles, bigger seems to be better for a lot of people. So, for BMW, there’s none bigger or better than the X7 3-row utility, which for 2023 gets a comprehensive update after just 4-years on the market. That includes a facelift to bring it more in line with the new 7-series carline, which is to say joins the more vertical, aggressive grille party. Also, the actual headlights have been moved lower in the front fascia, with squinty DRLs above for the first time on a BMW. In back, taillights take on a 3D posture, with a new chrome bar connecting them.
There are also multiple new M Sport packages to choose from to spice up the exterior, with larger air intakes up front, high-gloss black trim, upgraded exhaust, cascade grille lighting, and 22-inch wheels, as well as M Sport brakes…
…and the interior too, with aluminum trim and exclusive steering wheel. But, by far the biggest change inside for ‘23 is a new dashtop curved display that eliminates the typical BMW well-hooded gauge pod and blends 12-inch Live Cockpit Pro into the 15-inch infotainment touchscreen, which now features iDrive8. Both a Head-Up Display and a large panoramic sunroof are standard.
Whether set up for 2 or 3 passengers, 2nd row seat room remains plentiful, and though the X7 doesn’t look ungainly large like many of its competitors, access to the 3rd row is quite good. Cargo space is reached through a fairly unique, Range Rover-style, split tailgate, which is quite oddly satisfying to watch unfold. There’s room for 48.6 cubic-ft. of goods behind the 2nd row, with a max of 90.4 cu.-ft.
The base xDrive40i has always been the sensible choice, even more so now with a new inline-6 turbo getting a significant bump in horsepower from 335 to 375, and a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that results in a total of 398 lb-ft. of torque.
At our Mason Dixon test track, there was enough to blast this big beast to 60 in just 5.4-seconds. That’s only about half a second slower than the V8 did the deed back in 2019. Making that optional 523-horsepower V8 simply overkill at this point. Our best ¼-mile pass was 13.9-seconds at 100 miles-per-hour. All X7s get a quick shifting sport-tuned 8-speed automatic transmission, which adds a new Sprint Function that finds the lowest usable gear instantly and maxes electric boost with a hold of the left shift paddle. What fun!
New looks and updated tech are cool, but BMW has also addressed dynamics as well, with a retuning of all chassis systems, including the optional Dynamic Handling Package which adds adaptive suspension with roll stabilization and uses GPS and camera data to prepare for what’s coming. We’re not sure if our slalom course was anticipated, but the X7 sure felt well-equipped to handle it. All-wheel drive is standard on all X7s, along with comprehensive drive modes.
In our braking runs, the pads bit down hard quickly, stopping us from 60 in just 115-feet with very little nosedive.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the 6-cylinder are 21-City, 25-Highway, and 22-Combined. We averaged just 21.0 miles-per-gallon on Premium.
There’s an average Energy Impact Score; 13.5-barrels of oil yearly, with CO2 emissions of 6.5-tons.
Pricing starts at $78,845, and it’s a significant step up from there to $104,095 if you want the V8. Even more reason to stick with the 6-cylinder as far as we’re concerned.
It took the ultimate driving machine folks quite a bit of time to enter the 3-row family crossover segment, but when they did, they were able to create their largest utility ever and keep it consistent with their values. For 2023, the BMW X7 gets even more dynamic, embraces new tech, and looks better too. All things that should keep the BMW faithful coming back for more.
- Engine: I-6
- Horsepower: 375
- 0-60 mph: 5.4 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 115 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 21.0 MPG
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Torque: 398 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 13.9-seconds at 100 mph
- EPA: 21 City / 25 Highway / 22 Combined