Earlier this month, Volvo announced their intention that, by 2030, every new vehicle they sell will be pure electric. This is an ambitious goal, made more challenging by the statement they plan for a full 50 per cent of their global sales volume to be EVs by 2025. That’s just four short years away.
Until then, we’ll focus on what’s currently (pun intended) available in showrooms. For 2021, the XC40 crossover is the Swedish brand’s least expensive vehicle, making it a good candidate for our Base Camp series. Its entry-level trim is called Momentum T4, priced at $39,950 and powered by a gasoline engine making 187 horsepower. Its eight-speed automatic gearbox funnels traction to all four wheels through the company’s all-wheel drive system. Swedish people know a thing or two about driving in the snow, after all.
A piano black grille with a chrome surround stands proud up front, bookended by a pair of LED headlamps. Bright cargo rails line the roof and Momentum includes colour-keyed door handles and retractable sideview mirrors. Standard fog lights look better than the sad-sack empty buckets that appear on other base models in this category. Non-metallic shades of black and white are offered as no-charge paint options, and the 18-inch silver alloys are perfectly serviceable. The rear liftgate is power operated, as well.
Inside, even this entry-level trim features a 12.3-inch driver display that can be configured with four different graphic modes and umpteen combinations of information. Heated cloth seats are standard but, perhaps surprisingly at this end of the Volvo pool, there is a selection of upholstery colour. Touchpoints like the steering wheel and gearshift knob are swathed in leather.
A well-integrated centre display spanning nine inches looks a lot better than many other brands who simply appear to have tacked a tablet onto the dashboard. There are plenty of USB ports for charging or media input, plus the usual assortment of Bluetooth and satellite radio features. Climate control is but a single-zone, however, which may cause marital discord for those who like their car cabin a significantly different temperature than the person sitting next to them.
What We’d Choose
For the sake of $1,000, Momentum T4’s optional Climate Package will be worth a look to most Canadians. It will bestow your new Volvo with the likes of heated wiper blades, heated rear seats, and warmers on the steering wheel. Those of us with long legs may also want to consider the manual cushion extensions for the front seats, a stand-alone option costing just $100 and likely to add thigh support on boring commutes.
Volvo designs thoughtful interior details – such as a waste bin in front of the armrest and a little hook that folds out of the glovebox lid to hold take-out food or a handbag – and sees fit to include them even in the least expensive vehicle they sell. Combined with a solid powertrain and a towering reputation for passenger safety, that’s more than enough reason to give the least expensive vehicle that Volvo makes a spot on our Base Camp roster.