2020 Volvo XC40 Inscription: All Volvo Qualities in a Smaller Package

Published on Jan 17, 2020

Introduced in 2019, the Volvo XC40 is a compact crossover that seats five. For 2020 the XC40 gets more standard features on its higher trims and the lower trim gets faux-leather upholstery.

The XC40 is the smallest and least expensive SUV in Volvo’s lineup, but it doesn’t suffer from shortcuts. The interior of the XC40 is as nice a space as the larger and more expensive vehicles and it sports most of the driver aids that the bigger siblings offer. The major difference is the size. As a compact crossover the XC40 has a much smaller footprint and offers less passenger and cargo space.


Available in three trims and two powertrains the XC40 comes in the Momentum, R-Design, and Inscription. The two powertrains are a front-wheel-drive T4 and the all-wheel-drive T5. This review will focus on the Inscription trim with the T5 powertrain.

With posh extras like unique wheels, leather upholstery, wood trim, dual-zone climate control and an adjustable cargo load floor. The Premium package adds a hands-free liftgate, keyless entry, auto-dimming exterior mirrors, a wireless charging pad, and a blind-spot monitor, I certainly didn’t feel shortchanged.

A turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine powered the XC40 producing 248 horses and 258 lb-ft of torque. The engine was paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission that glided through gears with no harshness. Expect to get 22/city, 30/highway, and 25/combined mpg.


The beauty of a Volvo is in it’s contemporary interior design. The XC40 does not suffer from a lesser interior for the less price tag. The interior is clean and functional with playful touch, including a Orrefors crystal shift knob and driftwood trim in the Inscription model. My main criticism of the XC40, actually most Volvos is the touchscreen interface. It’s a large 9-inches but most of the cars functions are controlled through the interface, there are very few redundant knobs or buttons. The main menus are simple enough but go a little deeper and it can get really confusing in there. Also its not something you want to operate when you are driving, so you really need to wait until you can pull over or hit a red light to operate the system safely.

The turbocharged engine brings on the speed with a touch of the accelerator. It’s fun to drive on curvy roads and this I know because I drive the curviest freeway around, the Arroyo Seco Parkway. I have to get on the freeway from a dead stop and the twist and turns are challenging. The XC40 with the T5 powertrain handled these challenges, no sweat and steering through the turns was assured with little body roll.

Want a Volvo with a smaller footprint but all the Volvo extras? Give the 2020 XC40 T5 Inscription a test drive.

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