What to Look Out for When Buying a Used Volvo XC40


A lot of auto brands try to move upwards from the mass market to take a slice of the luxury vehicle section of the industry, but the results are usually less than impressive. Volvo looks to be something of an exception with a growing string of success such as the XC40, which really is a superb option if you’re interested in buying a compact luxury crossover SUV segment. As it’s been around for a few years now, here’s what to look out for when buying a used Volvo XC40.

Volvo XC40 history

Volvo is an auto brand that has been repositioning itself in the market over the last few years and it appears to be having quite a bit of success. The Swedish brand used to be a byword for steady reliability and it was heavily associated in its European markets with a certain type of buyer. That sort of buyer was a somewhat boring, unimaginative, middle-class professional person like an architect or a college teacher who valued competence and reliability over desirability and enjoyment.

For decades, the Swedish automaker kept churning out ugly, boxy sedans and wagons that did what they were designed to do and lasted forever, but all that changed in 2002 when Volvo came up with the first XC90. The XC90 transformed the way the brand was perceived and it was later joined by the smaller XC60 in 2008 and the even smaller XC40 just a few years ago.

The first XC40 models started rolling off the Volvo production line in November 2017 and it soon started racking up a string of prestigious awards, including being named European Car of the Year at the Geneva Motor Show in 2018.

When the first XC40 arrived for the 2018 model year it was the first Volvo to be built on the company’s CMA platform that’s shared with Geely, Lynk & Co and will also be used for further compact Volvo SUVs.

So far, there’s only been one generation of the XC40 and the first ones to be sold in the US went on sale in March 2018 for the 2019 model year. The arrival of the XC40 also ushered in a new and interesting subscription model for buying new cars, but you don’t have to take out a subscription to buy a used Volvo XC40.

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Used Volvo XC40 overview

If you’re looking to buy a used 2019 Volvo XC40 you have a choice of T4 and T5 versions that can be either front- or all-wheel-drive, and there are three different trim levels of Inscription, Momentum and R-Design to select from. The XC40 is something of a departure for Volvo in terms of its styling as it’s a much more youthful, futuristic design that’s available in some interesting color combinations.

Contrasting white roofs are available, and even the wheels can come in white, black or more normal alloy finishes. Although this is a model aimed squarely at a more youthful buyer than Volvo’s traditional audience, it appears to appeal to the company’s traditional audience just as much as it does to the one Volvo is looking to bring on board.

Under the hood of XC40 T4 variants is a 2.0-liter turbo-four that produces 187 horsepower and 221 lb.-ft. of torque, while the same engine in the T5 version of the XC40 is tuned to produce 248 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. In both cases, the power is sent to the front or all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission.

If you come across a used XC40 T4 it will cost you less than a T5, but if you were to drive the two back-to-back I’m sure you’d consider the extra money for the more powerful T5 a very worthwhile investment.

The 2019 and 2020 model years are pretty much identical, but for the 2021 model year, the all-electric XC40 T8 Recharge model was added to the family.

Is the Volvo XC40 a reliable car?

The XC40 looks to be following the long-established Volvo tradition of being reassuringly reliable, and Edmunds Consumer Reviews give the 2019 and 2020 model years a rating of 4.1 out of a possible 5.0.

It’s a little too early to make definitive statements about the long-term reliability of the Volvo XC40 but it’s looking good so far, and it’s unlikely that this will turn out to be one of the first Volvos in living memory you can’t rely on for many years of happy driving.

Will a used Volvo XC40 be expensive to maintain?

A used Volvo XC40 is likely to be a little expensive to maintain over the long term, especially if you compare it to some of its domestic rivals. The caredge website estimates the XC40 will cost somewhere in the region of $11,907 to maintain over its first ten years from new, which is $3,553 cheaper than the segment average.

From what I know of Volvo, and the XC40 in particular, I think this is a little pessimistic and I would expect the cost of maintaining the XC40 to be lower than that. The website also estimates that there’s a 36.25% chance of the XC40 requiring a major repair during that period, but as the Volvo is only a few years old, that prediction is pure guesswork.

Does the Volvo XC40 hold its value?

The XC40 is probably going to hold its price reasonably well, especially for a model from a brand that’s not a full-established, bonafide luxury automaker in the eyes of some people. It’s estimated that a new XC40 will still be worth almost 70% of its original value after three years of average driving, but it’s hard to say beyond that at this point.

If you buy a used Volvo XC40 that’s just over a year old you’ll probably be saving yourself close to $10k from the new price, so you’ll be getting a vehicle that’s almost as good as a brand new one for a healthy saving.

How much should you pay for a used Volvo XC40?

The least amount you should expect to pay for a used Volvo XC40 is around $30,000 for a 2019 model with average miles, but that will be a base T4 Momentum model with front-wheel-drive. If you’re prepared to put up with a model with more miles on the odometer you could get yourself a more powerful T5 Momentum with AWD from around $32k.

A two-year-old AWD T5 Momentum looks like a reasonable used buy at $33,500 with around 30k miles, but the price gets higher very quickly if you want a higher trim level and fewer miles.

Why is the Volvo XC40 so expensive?

The Volvo XC40 can look expensive if you compare it to other compact crossovers because the Volvo is now classed as a luxury model and it’s made overseas and imported into the US. The ones we get in America are built at Volvo’s manufacturing facility in Ghent, Belgium, so the cost of shipping and associated taxes can make the XC40 appear a little expensive.

If you compare the XC40 to something like the BMW X3 or the Audi Q5 the Volvo is actually quite a bit more affordable, but you can get a Mercedes-Benz GLA for just $500 more than the cheapest XC40.

A Cadillac XT4 will also cost you less than a Volvo XC40, but all of this assumes you consider a Volvo badge to be the equal of a BMW, Mercedes-Benz or a Cadillac badge on your compact crossover SUV. Personally, I still don’t see Volvo as having the brand cache of those other automakers just yet so I’d want to pay quite a bit less for the Volvo.

Which is better, the Volvo XC40 or XC60?

The Volvo XC40 is classed as a midsize luxury crossover SUV while the XC40 is in the smaller compact segment, but the difference in size between these two isn’t massive and both are five-seaters. The XC60 is 12 inches longer than the XC40 but the wheelbase is only around 6 inches longer, and the XC60 is about an inch wider.

There are more engine choices available for the XC60 and there’s no T4 version, so you could say the XC60 is a more performance-focused model than the XC40. But if you don’t need the extra size of the XC60, I’d go for a T5 AWD version of the XC40 instead as I think you’re getting more vehicle for your money and a much more stylish SUV.

What is the Volvo XC40 comparable to?

There are a lot of rivals you might want to shop against the Volvo XC40, especially as some rival brands offer several different models you might consider to be direct competition for the Volvo XC40. I mentioned earlier that the Audi Q5 was an alternative option to the XC40, but Audi also has the Q3 which is an even closer match and it comes standard with AWD for the same price as a FWD XC40.

Other rivals include the likes of the Mercedes-Benz GLA, Cadillac XT4, Cadillac XT3, BMW X2, BMW X1, BMW X2 and BMW X3. And if you want to include non-luxury models because you’re skeptical of Volvo’s status as a luxury marque you can then look at the Subaru Forester, Mini Countryman, Volkswagen Tiguan, Nissan Rogue, Ford Escape and many more.

Does the Volvo XC40 require premium gas?

It’s perfectly fine to drive the Volvo XC40 using regular 87 unleaded gas and you’re even safe to use fuel with an ethanol content of up to 10 percent, but Volvo does recommend that you use premium 91 octane gas in your XC40.

Is the Volvo XC40 good on gas?

The Volvo XCF40 probably isn’t as fuel-efficient as you might imagine, and the best EPA fuel-economy ratings you can get from a gas-only T4 version are 23 mpg in the city, 33 mpg on the highway and 27 mpg combined. If you want the added capability of all-wheel-drive those ratings reduce slightly to 23 mpg in the city, 31 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg combined.

Is the Volvo XC40 safe?

Safety has always been one of Volvo’s key attributes and the Xc40 certainly doesn’t let the side down in any way in this important area. Right out of the gate the 2019 Volvo XC40 got a full five-star rating for overall safety from the NHTSA and the IIHS made it a Top Safety Pick+. In 2020 the IIHS only gave the XC40 Top Safety Pick status, but it regained the coveted Top Safety Pick+ rating in 2021.

Is Volvo XC40 worth the money?

In the luxury compact crossover SUV segment, the Volvo XC40 is definitely good value for money if you look at what you are getting for the price compared to its main rivals. An entry-level XC40 has the kind of standard features you have to go the mid-range versions of some luxury rivals to get, but the XC40 still costs less than the entry-level versions of those rivals.

A lot of the used XC40 models you’ll see for sale at the moment are the base Momentum grade, and that’s because its impressive list of standard equipment is more than satisfies the majority of buyers. Add the more powerful T5 engine and AWD to the Momentum offering and you really do have yourself an exceptional little crossover.

How many miles will a Volvo XC40 last?

You can easily expect a Volvo XC40 to still be going strong after 250,000 miles or more, and as long as they don’t do starship mileage during their life you’ll still be seeing XC40s on the road and going strong when they’re 20 years old or older.

Volvo has long had an enviable reputation for producing durable vehicles that just keep going on and on and refusing to die, and there’s no reason to expect anything else from the XC40.

Should you buy a used Volvo XC40?

A used Volvo XC40 is a good value, reliable, durable, very stylish and very well-equipped used vehicle and if you like the look of what you see then by all means go ahead and buy one. Unlike something like a Ford Escape, the XC40 is a more premium offering that would make a particularly good buy if you intend to keep it a long time.

A used XC40 probably doesn’t make quite as much sense if you’re only likely to keep it a year or two as there are much more affordable alternatives that could be better value for money in the short term, but the XC40 is definitely a real contender if you’re looking for a long-term buy.

The Volvo XC40 is a very stylish luxury compact crossover SUV that’s packed with the latest technology, and it does put a new and more exciting slant on the Volvo brand as a whole. I like the XC40 more and more as I see it more and more, but I do think the color makes a massive difference.

I’ve seen some gray and silver versions that look fairly anonymous, but I’ve also seen white ones with black wheels that look fabulous and a fully blacked-out XC40 with dark tinted windows and black alloy wheels really is a bit of a head-turner.

Sean Cooper

Former retail auto industry professional for almost a decade and an automotive writer and journalist for the last 8 years

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