Volvo XC40: Best Car To Buy 2019 nominee

October 30, 2018

With its 2018 XC40, Volvo steps out of its comfort zone. Not only does the XC40 not look like anything else in the Swedish automaker's lineup, it may turn the entire new-car buying process into something totally different.

MORE: Follow all our Best Car To Buy 2019 news as we name a winner

The XC40 takes what we like so much about Volvo's other cars and crossover SUVs—sublime attention to detail, strong turbocharged power, and excellent value—and shrinks it to square off against the BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, and Audi Q3. Viewed as a subcompact crossover SUV with luxury aspirations, the XC40 is a solid home run.

MORE: Read our 2019 Volvo XC40 review

With the XC40, Volvo rolled its first-ever subscription program. Unlike other programs that operate more like a costly, high-feature car-share, Care by Volvo subscribers keep their XC40s for two years with the option to switch out for another vehicle after a year. One monthly payment covers insurance and all maintenance down to windshield wipers, and a concierge service ensures that subscribers need never visit a Volvo dealership.

2019 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD R-Design

2019 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD R-Design

2019 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD R-Design

2019 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD R-Design

2019 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD R-Design

2019 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD R-Design

Demand for subscriptions exceeded Volvo's expectations, but not just because of the program's ease of use. At its core is an excellent, city-sized crossover SUV.

Its interior is spacious and imaginative, especially with the polarizing orange carpet option selected. Good outward vision, a back seat capable of seating adults, and decent cargo space make it a practical, stylish choice.

Underhood, the XC40 uses a small turbo-4 to shuttle power to either the front or all four wheels. At a base price a hair under $35,000, the XC40 wants for little. A few options such as adaptive cruise control that can automatically steer the vehicle for short distances, an innovative Harman Kardon audio system that uses a subwoofer mounted behind the dashboard to clear up space for small items in the doors, a 9.0-inch vertical touchscreen for infotainment, and, of course, lava orange carpet, a well-equipped XC40 costs about $42,000.

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