Updated Lineup and Engines. The 2023 Volvo XC40 rolls into the new model year with a refresh. Volvo’s updated the subcompact SUV’s exterior design, lineup, and engines. The changes help the XC40 retain its spot near the top of the segment for the subcompact class.

The XC40 adopts Volvo’s new Core, Plus, and Ultimate naming structure for its trims. It’s a small change, but it keeps things simple when cross-shopping the XC40 with other Volvos. Additionally, the XC40’s powertrain lineup goes from T4 and T5 to the B4 and B5. Both the B4 and B5 consist of a turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with a mild-hybrid 48-volt system that’s new for 2023. The B4 is rated at 194 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque, while the B5 produces 247 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The new mild-hybrid system helps the engine deliver its full output more efficiently, though fuel economy only gets an incremental boost.

We suspect that most consumers will upgrade to the B5 powertrain. Not because it brings more power, but because it comes with standard all-wheel drive (AWD), while the B4 is front-wheel drive (FWD) only. Not offering AWD with the B4 powertrain seems like an oversight on Volvo’s part.

Of course, consumers seeking improved fuel economy should check out the XC40 Recharge. The electric SUV features two electric motors, AWD, and a 75-kWh battery pack. Output is rated at 402 hp and the electric motors result in quick acceleration. Range isn’t great for the class, as the XC40 Recharge can travel up to 223 miles per charge.

Sleek Scandinavian Design. Regardless of whether you choose a gas-powered or all-electric XC40, the subcompact SUV features a youthful exterior design with some distinctive elements. For 2023, the XC40 lineup, which includes the all-electric Recharge models, gets a slightly updated look that mostly changes the way the front end of the SUV looks.

The XC40’s front end gets tweaked headlights that get more prominent LED daytime running lights and a smoother overall design. Instead of a grille with horizontal and vertical lines that intersect for a weave pattern, the 2023 XC40 gets a new grille with vertical slats for a more upscale look. New wheel designs and three new exterior colors round out the changes on the outside.

Just like its gas-powered counterparts, the XC40 Recharge arrives with similar exterior updates for 2023. The Recharge model’s electric powertrain brings a closed-off grille and a charging port at the back of the SUV.

The changes don’t do a lot to alter the XC40’s design, but then again, the subcompact SUV was already one of the better-looking models in the class. The SUV’s boxy silhouette, L-shaped taillights, sharp body lines, and rugged body cladding help it look similar to Volvo’s larger and pricier SUVs.

2022 Volvo XC40 Interior

More Advanced Infotainment System. The all-electric XC40 Recharge arrived in 2021 without Volvo’s Sensus Connect infotainment system. Instead, the electric SUV received a new infotainment system with software that was developed with Google’s Android Automotive. Having Google’s operating system integrated into the infotainment system brings things like Google Maps, Google Assistant, and Google Play. For 2023, the gas-powered XC40 models adopt the Recharge’s infotainment system with Google built-in capability, leaving Volvo’s Sensus Connect system behind for good.

The XC40 lineup continues to come with a nine-inch touchscreen, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, eight audio, speakers, and multiple USB ports. The infotainment system is a mixed bag. The screen is nice and bright and responds well to inputs, most of the time, but the on-screen icons are small, which makes them hard to use. The central touchscreen doesn’t have many physical controls, causing drivers to rely on the touchscreen for everything.

Roomy Where It Counts. The XC40’s cabin blends style and function to be a usable interior that also looks great. Thanks to the SUV’s boxy design, the subcompact offers an impressive amount of passenger space and feels airy. Despite being a subcompact SUV, the XC40 has two roomy rows of roomy seating with plenty of headroom and legroom. The rear seats have 36.1 inches of rear legroom and 39.1 inches of rear headroom, which should be enough for most adults. The problem is when you have to squeeze three adults side by side in the back.

There’s plenty of cargo room in the XC40, though some of its rivals are more spacious when it comes to cargo capacity. The SUV offers up to 20.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats and a total of 57.5 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded. The XC40 Recharge is slightly more spacious with an extra cubic foot of cargo space behind the rear seats.

While the XC40 doesn’t have the same enormous cargo area as some options, it has a few innovative storage innovations, like a cargo cover that can be stored onboard, integrated hooks in the cargo floor, a hook on the glovebox, extra-large door pockets, storage bins under the front seats, and a removable garbage bin.

Final Thoughts. Volvo didn’t need to update the XC40, as the subcompact was already one of the better choices in the segment. But the refreshed design, updated mild-hybrid engines, and new Google-based infotainment system further help the XC40 stand out in the segment. The XC40 may not feel as luxurious as Volvo’s larger SUVs and its infotainment system can be difficult to use, but it brings a lot of the same strengths as the brand’s pricier SUVs with its own feel. Plus, the XC40 Recharge is one of the few all-electric subcompact SUVs on sale.

In comparison, the redesigned BMW X1 is larger than before, has a refined ride, comes standard with AWD, features high-tech features, and comes with a 241 hp engine. The Mercedes-Benz GLA has upscale styling, a premium cabin, enjoyable handling, high-performance AMG models, and high-tech features.

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