Volvo will offer its just-announced 2018 XC40 subcompact SUV with the option of a yearly upgrade: One monthly lease payment gets you the car, maintenance, insurance, and the chance to get another new Volvo 12 months from now. This may be the solution for technology-oriented drivers who see a three-year-old car as ancient in infotainment, self-driving, safety, telematics, and fuel efficiency.
With the XC40, Volvo now completes a subcompact-compact-medium line of SUVs with the subcompact XC40, compact XC60, and mid-size XC90. Volvo will be absent only in the Cadillac Escalade / Mercedes-Benz GLS class of full-size highway cruisers measuring well over 200 inches in length and weighing on the high side of 5,000 pounds.
XC40 Loaded with Safety Tech
Volvo On Call
Volvo says the XC40 will be “one of the best-equipped small premium SUVs on the market.” Volvo City Safety comes standard; it comprises pedestrian, cyclist, vehicle, and large animal detection with emergency auto-braking if the driver doesn’t intervene first. The XC40 will also offer Pilot Assist (semi-autonomous driving); Run Off Road protection and mitigation, which keeps the car from going off road, and protects the driver’s spine if it does and the car lands hard; cross traffic alert with brake support; and a 360 degree surround view camera system.
There will be a 12-inch LCD as the instrument panel and a 9-inch Sensus Connect center stack touch screen in portrait mode, resembling a tablet PC. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard, as well as Qi charging, the same as Apple is using on its iPhone 8 and iPhone X models. Qi is now the likely wireless charging standard going forward. Four years of Volvo On Call telematics are included. Volvo telematics will also enable the phone to work as an ignition-key replacement, so you can share the car with family and potentially rent it to others.
In the category called “we could have told you this for free,” Volvo says it conducted “extensive global research into how compact SUVs are used and discovered proper storage is essential.” Thus, it has all manner of storage bins, drink holders, and a dedicated storage space for phones so you don’t take up a cupholder.
New Volvo XC40 offers wireless phone charging.
New Every Year: Care by Volvo
Volvo’s model for single-price, no-haggle leases is called Care by Volvo. For one price, to be detailed at November’s Los Angeles Auto show, the customer gets a national, flat-rate monthly fee, combined with the aforementioned opportunity to upgrade to a new car as early as 12 months. “Care by Volvo in the United States includes almost everything needed to own and operate a car such as maintenance, insurance, wear and tear items and protection services,” the company said in a statement. If BMW’s multi-year free maintenance is a guide, this includes windshield wipers and brake pads–virtually anything other than fuel and collision damage. Protection services might included pothole damage to low-profile wheels and tires and the suspension.
Volvo says there will be traditional leases as well, along with regular purchases. Still, it will be interesting to see if Volvo can convince dealers that “one price” means they shouldn’t tack on computer processing and office fees that can add $ 300-$ 500 to closing costs and don’t show up until you see the final paperwork.
Cadillac earlier this year announced the Book by Cadillac program for $ 1,500 a month, including maintenance and insurance, allowing you to choose and use a Cadillac Escalade, XT5 crossover, CT6 sedan, or V-Series performance vehicle. You pay $ 500 initiation fee and an accident deductible of $ 750, can drive any one vehicle for up to 30 days (5 days for V-Series), and make 18 vehicle swaps per year.
Volvo XC40 Specs
The XC40 was announced this week; orders can be taken now, the car goes into production (in Belgium) in November, and it arrives in the US in early 2018. The first XC40 here will be the T5 with all-wheel-drive and a 200 hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine. List price is $ 35,200, Volvo says. An XC40 T4 with front drive and a smaller engine will be available in summer for $ 2,000 less. It’s likely Volvo will follow with hybrid (T8) and pure-electric versions.
While Volvo calls the XC40 a compact SUV, in industry parlance it’s a subcompact, a term usually defined as vehicles of about 170 to 180 inches in length. The XC40 is 17 inches long. The XC60 is 183 inches long, making it a compact SUV, and the XC90 is 194 inches, making it a midsize. Volvo says the XC40 will compete with the BMW X1 (175 inches long).
The XC40 is the first to be built on Volvo’s Compact Platform Architecture, meaning a series of small SUVs, crossovers, sedans, and wagons could share a common platform. The 60 and 90 series Volvos all share the Scalable Platform Architecture, and most all Volvos use a common four-cylinder engine architecture, increasing power by going to turbocharged (T5), turbo- and supercharged (T6) and plug-in hybrid turbo- and supercharged (T8) engines. Worldwide, Volvo uses gasoline and diesel, and may add three-cylinder engines for its smallest cars.