2019 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD Inscription new car reviews

Quick: What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Volvos? Boxy design? Those days are long gone. Driven by professors with elbow pads affixed to their sport coats? Maybe, but we don’t have that kind of intel. Safety? Bingo!

As Volvo puts it:

“Safety and driver assistance features offered on the XC40 include Volvo’s Pilot Assist system, the latest generation of City Safety, Run-off Road protection and mitigation, Cross Traffic alert with auto brake and the 360° Camera that helps drivers maneuver their car into tight parking spaces. These and other technologies make the XC40 one of the best-equipped small premium SUVs.”

Feeling a little déjà vu? Sometimes, we get two similar vehicles in a close time span. Such was the case with this Inscription trim level of Volvo’s XC40 T5 AWD. We last time had the XC40 T5 R-Design, and there’s not much different here. Do read our review of the XC40 T5 R-Design for a more complete feel for what the XC40 is, and check out Tim’s counterpoint below.

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Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard

The XC 40 is an interesting and a bit more upscale alternative to a Ford Escape or Honda CR-V. With 248 horsepower, the XC 40 is quick enough and comfortable.

And while sprung appropriately soft for the market it serves, it handles with some confidence and is a very comfortable small SUV to eat up highway miles in. Volvo has their loyal fans and has soldiered on, despite having new overlords from the east.

While we are not sure how Volvo can compete in a world where Audi, Mercedes and BMW rule with some very good products, we did enjoy our time with the Volvo XC.

In the just under $55,000 price point that the fully loaded, and rather silly named “Inscription” model we drove lives, there are a lot of well-known choices. And for a little less, there are Acura and Lexus models to consider. And then as we mentioned earlier, for a lot less, there are solid choices from Honda Toyota, Ford and others.

The interior is spacious enough for this class of vehicle and is well appointed. This model came with all the bells and whistles like heated seats and all the modern safety features. The $4550 Inscription package includes a moon roof, 8-way power seats and driftwood inlays in the dash and door panels.

Sadly, the truly distinctive feature that marked our time with this Volvo is the truly different interface with the controls. While the Ipad generation will quickly figure out what they are looking at and learn how to work the radio, seat controls and the like.

Those of us familiar with either regular automobiles, or event upscale models from the aforementioned manufacturers will struggle for a bit as all is made clear in the computer screen style interface.

Overall the Volvo XC 40 T5 AWD Inscription is a nicely made, decent riding and driving car. It is not an off-brand bargain, nor is it a great handling sporting machine with German or even Japanese pedigree, Frankly, while we have always liked Volvos, we don’t see the value proposition for this model.

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MadScientistMatt PowerDork
7/17/19 11:47 a.m.

I heard they're planning to follow up with a Volvo XC 40 T5 Inception. This version sneaks into your dreams and plants the idea that you have to buy it.

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