XCitement: The 2019 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD R-Design

Front 3/4 view of 2019 Volvo XC40
The 2019 Volvo XC40 R-Design.
The strong success of Volvo's big XC90 SUV has Volvo doing the smart thing and spinning off XC variants in smaller sizes.  There's an XC60 in the middle and now, the XC40---a vehicle aimed squarely at urban Millennials.

Rear 3/4 view of 2019 Volvo XC40
2019 Volvo XC40 R-Design.
The good news is that there's a lot here to like for a suburban Boomer, too.  Volvos are as solid and safe as ever, but their most recent product shows an appreciation for performance, handling and style.  Case in point: Our rave review two and a half years ago of the then-new S90 sedan.

There are three trim levels of XC40 T5: Momentum, which is the base, R-Design, which Volvo describes as "sporty and stylish", and Inscription, which, again according to Volvo, is all about "sophisticated luxury.  Mechanically, all three are identical, with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 248 horsepower mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. 

There is also a T4 version of each, with only 187 horsepower on tap.  I haven't driven one, but I suspect I'd notice the missing 61 horses.  Choosing a T4 also takes you from all-wheel drive to front-wheel drive.

Erroneous EPA fuel economy estimate for 2019 Volvo XC40
Say what, now?
Our tester was the R-Design and its window sticker says that the EPA's fuel economy estimate is one mile per gallon city, one mile per gallon highway and (basic math) one mile per gallon combined, with an annual fuel cost of one dollar.   If Fiat Chrysler used that kind of math, they'd sell a lot more Hellcats and Demons.

The actual EPA fuel economy estimate is a much more believable 23 city/31 highway (26 combined).  Which is very strong mileage for any crossover. 

The base price for the 2019 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD R-Design is $37,700.  For that money, you get a 250-watt Sensus entertainment system with navigation and its own wi-fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, SiriusXM and HD radio, a full complement of Volvo's safety features, Nappa and Nubuck leather trimmed upholstery, eight-way power front seats with driver memory and four-way power lumbar, keyless entry and drive, a hands-free power tailgate, rear park-assist camera and auto-dimming rear-view mirror, dual-zone climate control, steering wheel shift paddles and sport pedals, and LED front fog lights.

Interior view of 2019 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD R-Design interior
2019 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD R-Design interior.
Our tester also had about $7,000 worth of extra cost options, and while I usually start with the biggest and work down, I'm actually going to start with the least expensive.  $100 for the "lava" carpet, console and door panels. Yes, it livens up an otherwise dark interior and it suggests an energy that goes along with the T5 R-Design.  But---and this is no reflection on the prep and delivery people at DriveShop who consistently deliver immaculate vehicles---after a few thousand miles, there was already a dinginess creeping in.  I can imagine what dirt, mud, snow and 50,000 miles will do.  I'd stick with black.

Our tester also had:

  • Premium Package (Wireless charging pad, Pilot Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, HomeLink and compass in rearview mirror, power folding rear backrest and power headrests, hidden storage compartment under driver's seat, removable/folding load floor with grocery bag holders, heated windshield wiper nozzles and power child locks for the rear doors): $900.
  • Vision Package (Blind spot information with cross-traffic alert and Autobrake), Park Assist Pilot with front and rear parking sensors, power retractable rearview mirrors and auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors): $1,100.
  • Advanced Package (360 degree Surroundview camera, LED headlights with automatic bending lights, headlight high pressure cleaning system): $995.
  • Heated front seats and heated steering wheel: $750.
  • Panoramic roof: $1,200.
  • 20-inch 5-double spoke matte lack wheels: $800.
  • Harmon Kardon premium audio system: $800.

Fold in $995 and the bottom line winds up at $45,340.   No, that's not cheap.  But I'm not one to buy into the broke Millennial stereotype.  Especially here in Northern California, there are a lot of people of that generation making a very nice living in tech and other industries, who are starting families and want something beyond the typical family hauler.  The Volvo XC40 T5 AWD R-Design hits that target beautifully.