Volvo just announced the new-for-2018 Volvo XC40, and it’s a very attractive step forward for the already trustworthy subcompact. On the outside, it looks very close to the concepts released a year ago; smaller, sleeker and rounder, especially on the distinctively Volvo rear-end. It has almost a Range Rover-esque appearance. The roof comes in black, if you’d like it to, and you can choose from 17 different color combinations. Those wheels look pretty sweet, too.
The engine is a 2.0-liter, turbocharged 4-cylinder, cranking out a powerful 247 horsepower into an AWD transmission. While that’s not exactly killer power, it’s more than enough for urban and suburban driving in this compact. Volvo has announced a front-drive T4 version for next summer, and have teased hybrid and full electric versions a little further in the future. The inside is loaded with all kinds of safety features, from Volvo City Safety, which detects pedestrians, cyclists, vehicles, and large animals, and has emergency auto-braking if the driver doesn’t intervene first. There’s also Pilot Assist (semi-autonomous driving); Run Off Road protection to keep the car from going off road, and protect the driver’s spine if it does; cross traffic alert with brake support, and a 360 degree surround view camera system. Volvo wants it to be “one of the best-equipped small premium SUVs on the market.” There;’s a 12-inch LCD that serves as the instrument panel, and a 9-inch Sensus Connect center stack touch screen infotainment system. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard, as well as Qi charging – the wireless charging system that Apple put on the new iPhone.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the new XC40, however, is Volvo’s new Care By Volvo; it essentially lets you lease a car for up to 12 months, for a simple, no-hassle price, with everything from insurance to taxes covered by Volvo itself – even maintenance. We can only describe it as a subscription service for you car. You can switch out for a brand new car every 12 or 24 months, and even borrow other people’s cars using the app, as well as share your own via app with friends and family using a sort of “digital key.”
So while the car itself is nice, the real question is, Care by Volvo the method of car buying in the future? Something tells us it’s a long way off from widespread adoption, but we’re interested to see how it works out for consumers. The Volvo XC40 will be available next Spring.