Thanks to SUVs’ wild popularity, they come in a wide range of sizes and with various powertrains and capabilities. To help consumers, MotorTrend weighed the options and recommends the best new SUVs to buy. And the 2021 Volvo XC40 is a top luxury subcompact crossover.
Here’s a look at this and other highly rated options.
The 2021 Volvo XC40 and other top SUVs
In a recent article, MotorTrend recommends 10 SUVs in five size categories from seven brands. They’re all 2021 models.
On the smallest end, the publication recommends the Subaru Crosstrek as the best subcompact SUV. In the luxury subcompact SUV category, the Volvo XC40 takes the top spot.
For the best compact crossover, MotorTrend suggests the Honda CR-V. And the best luxury version of this size is the Volvo XC60.
In the next size up, the Subaru Outback impresses as the best midsize SUV. The top luxury version is the Land Rover Defender.
For the best three-row SUV, MotorTrend chose the Kia Telluride. And the best luxury choice is the Lincoln Aviator.
Last, MotorTrend selected the Ford Expedition as the best full-size three-row SUV and the Lincoln Navigator in the luxury category.
The 2021 Volvo XC40
MotorTrend describes the 2021 Volvo XC40 as an “expertly executed lifestyle accessory.” And it starts at an affordable $34,795, though the top trim starts at $55,085, MotorTrend reports. Let’s take a closer look.
This luxury crossover boasts modern styling and refined features. They include a built-in trash bin in the console and a glovebox bag hook. The XC40’s interior also has comfortable leather front seats and fun color options.
However, MotorTrend notes the liberal use of hard plastics in the cabin, and it can be a little noisy. It also doesn’t have a huge cargo area. It offers 21 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row or 47 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.
This Volvo offers two engine options or a fully electric version in the XC40 Recharge, the automaker’s first EV. The gas engines are a 2.0-liter turbo I-4 producing 187 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque, and a 2.0-liter turbo I-4 producing 248 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The EV version has two electric motors, which produce about 402 hp and 486 lb-ft of torque. Its range is about 208 miles.
The two engines are rated for 22 or 23 mpg in the city, 30 or 32 mpg on the highway, and 25 or 26 mpg combined. The XC40 Recharge EV is rated for 79 mpg-e combined. MotorTrend found that it drives well, but the ride can be a bit “harsh.” This little SUV can tow an impressive 3,500 pounds.
Technology and safety
The XC40’s technology includes semiautonomous functionality. The infotainment system has a nine-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. There’s also a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, and built-in navigation is available.
The XC40 includes plenty of driver-assistance features standard. Expect “forward collision warning, front and rear automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, automatic high-beams, and rear cross-traffic alert,” MotorTrend reports. Also available as part of the Advanced package are adaptive cruise control, enhanced steering assist, and traffic jam assist.
Other great luxury subcompact SUVs
MotorTrend likes the 2021 Volvo XC40 better than other luxury subcompact SUVs, including the BMW X1, Lexus UX, Audi Q3, and Jaguar E-Pace. However, U.S. News placed the 2021 XC40 third, behind the Audi Q3 and BMW X1.
The BMW X1 offers good handling, better predicted reliability, and a spacious cargo area, U.S. News reports. However, the Volvo XC40 costs less and provides Android Auto and standard leather seats. The Audi Q3 comes standard with all-wheel drive and has a good predicted reliability rating. But the XC40 boasts a roomier second row, better fuel efficiency, and quicker acceleration.
Although automakers offer many excellent SUVs for buyers to consider, the 2021 Volvo XC40 stands out as a top luxury subcompact crossover.