Volvo XC40

The Volvo XC40 comes in three different trims for its launch this year. Each is powered by a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine displacing 2.0L, powering all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission. With 248 horsepower on tap, the compact SUV is quite quick in a straight line, though it should still return over 30 mpg on the highway. For later in the year, a front-wheel drive version with a less powerful engine is expected to be added to the lineup at a slightly lower price point. The most basic XC40 trim is dubbed the Momentum trim. Since the Volvo XC40 is still a bit of a luxury vehicle, basic amenities are pretty nice and include items such as a 12.3-inch display, a power operated liftgate, smartphone integration, a park assist camera, LED headlights, SiriusXM satellite radio, a powered driver's seat with a memory function, 18-inch wheels and tinted windows. The next step up is the R-Design model. The R-Design comes with a slightly more aggressive exterior as well as an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a navigation system, keyless entry with a hands free tailgate, 19-inch wheels, fog lights, a unique grille and various R-Design bits throughout the interior. XC40 subscribers can subscribe to the R-Design model for an additional $100. The top-of-the-line model for 2019 is the Inscription model. The Inscription has a luxuriously appointed interior which includes details such as driftwood Deco trim and a crystal gear knob. The Inscription model also comes standard with a panoramic roof, nicer seats and a leather clad interior.

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Editors' First Take

After a couple of short visits that left two very different impressions on our Los Angeles-based staff, Roadshow's long-term 2019 Volvo XC40 came to spend a few months at our San Francisco HQ. Since taking delivery of our little Swede, we've put about 5,675 miles on the odometer, averaging 32.59 mpg along the way, which is surprisingly high considering the EPA estimates just 26 combined mpg for the 2.0-liter turbo, all-wheel drive T5 configuration.

Our west coast film crew put the XC40 to work as a production vehicle, using the Swede to transport the gear we need to shoot dozens of video reviews. Downsizing after a year in the spacious Mercedes-Benz Metris took some getting used to, but the compact SUV was up to the task, swallowing up all of our cameras, tripods and equipment without complaint.

Highs and lows

Our staff almost universally hates the XC40's electronic shifter, which requires a weird double pull to engage drive and double push for reverse. It's ridiculously easy to forget the double tap and end up revving awkwardly in neutral. It's particularly annoying -- and, at times, dangerous -- when trying to make a quick three-point turn. There's almost no reason to ever be in neutral during normal driving, so I don't understand why this is the case. If I could change one thing about the XC40, it'd be to fit a normal shift lever.

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