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2023 Volvo XC40 B5 Combines Cuteness and Competence




The Volvo XC40 is the exact type of vehicle everyone seems to want these days. Tall, boxy, stylish, and comfortable, the XC40 is one of the most charming iterations of the subcompact-luxury-crossover formula. We’ve liked it quite a bit since it first arrived for 2019, and several updates for 2023 increase its appeal even further. Along with slightly sharper styling and some fun new colors, the changes for the new model year include a revised powertrain lineup and improvements to its Android-based infotainment system.

We tested a 2023 XC40 in its top Ultimate trim level—Core, Plus, and Ultimate trims have replaced Momentum, R-Design, and Inscription—finished in the attractive $695 Sage Green Metallic paint you see here. It had the more powerful of the two engine options, a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four now called B5 with 247 horsepower and a new 48-volt hybrid system. Opting for the $2000 B5 upgrade also includes all-wheel drive, while the base engine is a less powerful version of the 2.0-liter with 194 horses; this cheaper setup is called B4 and comes only with front-wheel drive.

2023 volvo xc40 b5 awd ultimate

Michael Simari|Car and Driver

Despite the new nomenclature, the engine feels pretty much the same as the previous T5 setup, and the addition of the hybrid system doesn’t change performance much. It got to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds, just a tick quicker than before. That’s sprightly enough by the standards of this segment, and the eight-speed automatic transmission is responsive and executes downshifts promptly when you request more power for passing or merging. The 48-volt system also smooths out the engine stop-start function, which is even more unobtrusive than before.

Highs: Fashionable exterior, practical and pleasant interior, solid driving dynamics.

The all-hybrid lineup is ostensibly meant to improve fuel economy, and it does—just barely. The EPA rates the 2023 B5 at 26 mpg combined, a bump of 1 mpg compared with the T5. Its highway rating is 30 mpg, but we only achieved a disappointing 27 mpg on our real-world 75-mph highway fuel-economy test. If this XC40 is not green enough for you, there’s always the electric version, called the XC40 Recharge, that’s more expensive (starting at $54,645) but also more powerful, with 402 horsepower.

Given that the XC40 starts at a relatively affordable $37,445 (our optioned top-trim test car stickered for $50,190), it’s impressive how well this overall package nails the luxury basics. The ride is composed and quiet, and the steering is assured if a little short on feedback. We love spending time inside the XC40, with its spacious and thoughtfully designed interior that includes both plenty of storage space and high-quality materials such as open-pore wood, metal trim, and nicely grained plastics. Leave it to the Swedes to combine practicality and poshness in such convincing fashion.

Digital displays abound, including a 12.3-inch gauge cluster screen and a 9.0-inch touchscreen in the center of the dash that controls nearly everything. We’d prefer a few more physical buttons and knobs, but the touchscreen is responsive enough, and its Android interface will be familiar to anyone who has used a smartphone. Some of the on-screen buttons are too small, as if Volvo forgot to scale them up from phone size. The digital gauge cluster can also be a bit cryptic, as we struggled to find the odometer at first—turns out it only reveals itself with a press of one of the steering-wheel buttons.

2023 volvo xc40 b5 awd ultimate

Michael Simari|Car and Driver

Lows: Disappointing real-world mpg, occasionally odd infotainment, could use more physical controls.

But these small complaints don’t sour our impression of the XC40 much. The way it looks, the way it drives, and the pleasant interior vibe more than make up for these tech quibbles, and it’s a great choice if you’re looking for a small, premium SUV. Although it’s the cheapest Volvo you can buy, it gives up little to its more expensive siblings in terms of the brand’s unique appeal and likable character.

Specifications

Specifications

2023 Volvo XC40 B5 AWD Ultimate

Vehicle Type: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 4-passenger, 4-door wagon

PRICE

Base/As Tested: $47,595/$50,190

Options: 20-inch wheels and tires, $800; Sage Green metallic paint, $695; climate package – heated rear seats and steering wheel, $550; Pixel LED headlights, $350; hands-free power tailgate, $200

ENGINE

turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection

Displacement: 120 in3, 1969 cm3

Power: 247 hp @ 5700 rpm

Torque: 258 lb-ft @ 1800 rpm

TRANSMISSION

8-speed automatic

CHASSIS

Suspension, F/R: struts/multilink

Brakes, F/R: 12.7-in vented disc/11.9-in disc

Tires: Pirelli Scorpion Zero All Season

245/45R-20 103H M+S Extra Load VOL

DIMENSIONS

Wheelbase: 106.4 in

Length: 174.8 in

Width: 73.7 in

Height: 65.0

Passenger Volume: 95 ft3

Cargo Volume, min/max: 20/58 ft3

Curb Weight: 3929 lb

C/D TEST RESULTS

60 mph: 6.1 sec

1/4-Mile: 14.7 sec @ 94 mph

100 mph: 16.7 sec

Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.

Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 7.3 sec

Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 3.6 sec

Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 4.7 sec

Top Speed (gov ltd): 114 mph

Braking, 70–0 mph: 185 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.85 g

C/D FUEL ECONOMY

Observed: 21 mpg

75-mph Highway Driving: 27 mpg

75-mph Highway Range: 380 mi

EPA FUEL ECONOMY

Combined/City/Highway: 26/23/30 mpg

C/D TESTING EXPLAINED

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