Our 2021 Volvo XC40 has seen a lot of recent activity, serving as the road trip vehicle of choice for technical director Frank Markus and online associate editor Billy Rehbock. Those trips provided the perfect opportunity to discover many of the XC40’s strengths, as well as some areas that could use improvement.
Both staffers praised the compact crossover for a relatively roomy cabin. Rehbock noted its expansive storage spaces, especially the door pockets. Markus also called out interior space. “The XC40 proved to be an ideal size for two people and a week’s worth of luggage,” he said. “We were able to store three suitcases and a wine-shipping case hidden in the back, leaving just a cooler and a few incidentals showing in the back seat.”
Markus’ 1,200-mile California tour included stops at Palm Springs, Yosemite National Park, and Paso Robles, giving him plenty of opportunity to test the XC40’s adaptive cruise control system. “I was somewhat unimpressed with the Pilot Assist program’s steering,” he said. “Clearly it has been programmed to provide lane centering, yet the steering inputs seemed incremental or jerky. As someone who prides himself on smooth driving inputs, I was embarrassed to use the system when shuttling friends.”
When it comes to the XC40’s stop/start system, Markus and Rehbock had a bit of a disagreement. The latter said it was smooth enough, but Markus noted “vehicle-shaking” restarts and sympathized with a previous driver who noted they switched it off. Mercedes and Audi have undoubtedly set the stop-start system standard with their 48-volt mild hybrid powertrains, which Volvo has recently begun implementing itself in other models, such as the XC60. Let’s hope the technology trickles down to the XC40.
Following Markus’ and Rehbock’s trips, I logged some extended time in the XC40 with a couple trips from L.A. to San Diego. I walked away from those journeys with an ache-free back and much appreciation for the comfortable seats. There isn’t much lateral or thigh support, but the suedelike inserts were grippy enough to keep me in place during a frisky drive through some back roads in north San Diego.
Read More About Our Long-term 2021 Volvo XC40:
- Update 1: First Date Jitters
- Update 2: Storage Superstar
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