Trucks & SUVs

Respected Critics Disagree Over the 2020 Volvo XC40

When two companies who have been in the business of reviewing cars for years completely disagree, what do you do? Consumer Reports and Car and Driver, two highly respected names in the automotive world, both reviewed the 2020 Volvo XC40 and came to very different conclusions. Which one, if either, is right?

Car and Driver gives the Volvo XC40 high praise

A white Volvo XC40 on display
A white Volvo XC40 | FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

On one hand, we have the Car and Driver review of the 2020 Volvo XC40. These reviewers had high praise for the luxury crossover, saying it is fun to drive, has spunky good looks, and lots of technologically advanced features. 

The Car and Driver reviewers enjoyed the 2020 Volvo XC40s peppy performance. It sports a turbocharged, four-cylinder 2.0-liter engine, either in the T4 version which puts out 184 horsepower, or the T5 with a more powerful 248 horsepower. It’s mated to an eight-speed, automatic transmission which Car and Driver thought was quick and precise. 

A few other things they thought set the Volvo XC40 apart were its towing capacity at 3,500-pounds, the Swedish contemporary interior design, and the abundance of passenger space. Some things about the 2020 Volvo XC40 that Car and Driver didn’t like were the mediocre fuel economy, harsh engine sound, and sluggish infotainment system. 

Consumer Reports reviewers aren’t as pleased

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The reviewers at Consumer Reports thought the Volvo XC40 was about average in its segment. This was especially true since the 2020 Volvo XC40 goes up against some of the most luxurious names in the business like BMW, Lexus, Jaguar, and Mercedes-Benz. According to these reviewers, the XC40 lacked the polish of other SUVs in the luxury entry-level sport-utility segment. 

In fact, Consumer Reports reviewers only gave the 2020 Volvo XC40 an overall score of 78 out of 100. They tested the XC40 on performance, reliability history, predicted reliability, comfort and convenience, and owner satisfaction. 

During the road test, they found the Volvo XC40 to be cumbersome on the road. They weren’t impressed with the controls inside the cockpit, which the reviewer described as “maddening”. 

They also found the gear selection difficult to master, because drivers have to move the gear selector twice to get drive or park to engage, a situation reviewers thought was potentially dangerous. 

The 2020 Volvo XC40 

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The Volvo XC40 is a compact SUV that is proud of its Scandinavian heritage. It has a sculpted body design that makes it a little less generic than many of the SUV’s on the road, and it’s packed with creature comforts. There’s an open and tilt panoramic sunroof, luxury interior styling, and advanced technology. 

Of course, Volvo is known for its safety and the 2020 Volvo XC40 is no exception. The vehicle features intelligent safety systems that help you avoid collisions, detect pedestrians, and monitor other vehicles.

Four cameras and various sensors alert you to other vehicles behind you and in your blind spot. There’s even run-off road mitigation, where the car takes over steering if you have to brake suddenly. 

A few innovative features in the 2020 Volvo XC40 are a hands-free tailgate that opens simply by waving your foot under the bumper, and the ability to pre-heat or pre-cool your XC40 through an app.

There’s also Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to keep you fully connected with every aspect of your world. There’s even dedicated storage space for your smartphone with wireless charging.

Two respected auto reviewers, Consumer Reports and Car and Driver, both gave the 2020 Volvo XC 40 very different reviews. So, there’s only one way to know for sure what to think of this luxury crossover and that’s to drive it yourself.