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Volvo is an underrated luxury brand. Many of the Swedish manufacturer’s vehicles, such as the 2021 Volvo XC40, are marvelous machines. However, many models suffer from low sales.

Perhaps in an effort to combat this situation, Volvo has resorted to cutting-edge (or gimmicky) tactics. For instance, its vehicle subscription service allows owners to switch out their car for a different model every few months.

Volvo doesn’t quite carry the same weight as BMW and Mercedes-Benz. But the automaker’s sales issue might stem from something other than notoriety – at least in the case of the XC40.

Drivers have a plethora of reasons for why they’d like to get behind the wheel of Volvo’s subcompact SUV.

What you’ll love about this Swedish luxury SUV

A white 2021 Volvo XC40 parked in front of an orange building
The 2021 Volvo XC40 on display | Photo via Volvo

The 2021 Volvo XC40 is incredibly well-equipped and surprisingly affordable. It starts at an MSRP of just $33,700, and you’ll get niceties like standard leather seats and cutting-edge technologies.

Plus, you’ll feel at peace of mind when you’re behind the wheel. The 2021 XC40 upholds Volvo’s sterling reputation of safety, having been named an IIHS Top Safety Pick+. 

It comes standard with a vast assortment of standard smart safety systems. These include oncoming collision mitigation, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and many more. Volvo’s innovative Pilot Assist semi-autonomous driver-assistance system is also available.

Shoppers can choose from two sporty gas-powered turbocharged engines. The standard T4 powertrain kicks out 187 hp, and the available T5 variant is tuned to generate 248 hp. 

Meanwhile, eco-conscious drivers can opt to purchase the XC40 Recharge. This all-electric luxury SUV is surprisingly quick, rocketing from 0-60 MPH in only 4.7 seconds.

However, the SUV’s athletic performance is marred by annoying problems that you’ll experience on a daily basis.

The 2021 Volvo XC40 is a joy to drive, but not to operate

Consumer Reports gave the XC40 a reasonably positive overall vehicle score of 73/100. But the publication’s testers took issue with four significant components.

The 2021 Volvo XC40’s stiff suspension makes drivers feel every little bump in the road. Meanwhile, its loud engine destroys the atmosphere of the luxury SUV’s otherwise serene cabin.

Additionally, the vehicle’s controls are infuriating to use. Consumer Reports’ review stated, “Using the system while driving is frustrating, due to the multiple taps, swipes, and scrolls needed to execute common tasks.”

Volvo didn’t get the subcompact SUV’s gear selector right, either. Drivers have to push the “P” button to put the vehicle in park. 

However, it’s unclear how to shift into neutral, reverse, and drive – especially upon first use. Pushing the shift knob forward or backward one time activates neutral. Then, the operator must move it again to change into the next gear. For instance, moving it forward twice in a row puts the SUV into reverse, and pulling it backward twice shifts it into drive.

Is the 2021 Volvo XC40 still worth your consideration?

Every car has its faults, and this model’s problems just happened to drive some reviewers mad. Overall, the XC40 is an impressive luxury SUV that you should take for a test drive. 

Make sure to fiddle with all the infotainment controls, keep an ear out for its loud engine, and be mindful of any bumpiness during the drive. Additionally, play around with its gear shifter to analyze whether it’s something that’ll bother you or not.

If none of these traits grind your gears, then you may have just stumbled upon a hidden gem. The 2021 Volvo XC40 is an otherwise stellar small luxury SUV, and its affordable price tag makes it a smart purchase.


The 2020 Volvo XC40 Is the Best Luxury Subcompact SUV