Let’s face it. The BMW X1 is the segment king right now of the entry-level, compact, luxury SUV market. The design went right this time for BMW and the traditional strengths mean its easy to buy and running it also not complicated or hard. The others were doing well earlier such as the Mercedes GLA And Audi Q3. However, with the introduction of the Volvo XC40, the SUV which has been doing really well worldwide for the company came to India and threw many questions in the mind of many people. What should you consider, is your question? We have an answer for you, read on!
Let’s begin with the design of the BMW X1. The SUV stance is far more apparent than the older version and it continues to do well because of that. The blue color here is great and the 18-inch wheels, large kidney grille and the large head and tail-lamps are typical BMW make it look sophisticated indeed. However, the XC40 gets the SUV, stance and design just right with the dual tone roof, which is raised quite high and the boxy proportions appeal to a larger audience as it looks more authentic. The front grille of this R-Design SUV also makes this work in the Volvo’s favour. The headlamp with THOR LED DRL look great and signature Volvo LED large tail-lamps grab attention. The XC40 looks more purposeful with its cladding running all around the car, which the X1 is devoid of.
Quality of both cabins is good, but the Volvo is a bit higher with better plastics in the lower section as well where the BMW skimps a bit. The orange scheme in our test XC40 over the chocolate color in the BMW is louder, but is something new and looks great with the all-around black scheme. The element on the dashboard of the XC40 looks more futuristic and appeals to the younger audience which was testing these cars. The Harman Kardon sound system is better in the Volvo XC40 over the Hi-Fi BMW X1 unit. Did we mention the internal spray of the wipers in the XC40 which is the really good feel good factor?!
The piano black on the BMW is good but is now a very old fashion approach. The front seats on the BMW are a tighter fit, but do get the thigh support extension which makes this car seats a tiny bit more comfortable. Nevertheless, the Volvo seats aren’t behind which also come with excellent support and upright stance with raised height to give it the SUV feel too.
The seats on the BMW are all leather, but Volvo goes one step up and adds Alcantara as well in the R-design variant for that extra wow factor.When it comes to space in the back, the BMW X1 is slightly better with seats and legroom in the back. The rear seats are adjustable as well making it a spacious place to spend some time in. The Volvo seats are a bit upright and it delivers almost identical leg, shoulder, head and knee room.
Now the reason why the XC40 is better is the fact that the equipment list is a lot longer and it’s not just the safety systems. It does get radar-based safety kit like adaptive cruise control, pilot assist, collision mitigation system, lane-keeping assist, but it also gets Audi alike virtual instrument cluster, electric tailgate, semi-automatic parking, a larger 9.0-inch touchscreen infotainment, Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, wireless phone charging, 2-zone climate control, keyless entry and heated seats.
Something that is missing on the BMW X1. No cooled seats, is a miss on the XC40 though. Both cars have great infotainment system to use and iDrive offers a bit more toys to play around such as the technology in action and split screen. The Volvo also gets a unique waste bin in the car to throw away anything you want. The XC40 cabin is bit more quieter than the XC40’s cabin which makes it a better car to spend some time in.
The XC40 and X1 have their similarities in this area and they both come with reversing camera, apple car play, dual-zone climate control, paddle shifters, driving modes, auto LED headlights and wipers, panoramic sunroof and 18-inch wheels. BMW has two things up its sleeve, unique to itself and that is the head-up display and reclining/adjustable rear seats. When it comes to safety, the Volvo gets four airbags, while the BMW gets six airbags and Cornering Brake Control. BMW also has more cargo space at 505l, while the XC40 has 432 litres. Volvo XC40 boot has a lot of tricks to keep baggage, split it, many hooks and hidden tray below to add more things in the boot.
When it comes to driving these cars, it is apparent that the BMW has more focus over sport driving instead of the Volvo which claims to be completely opposite. Nevertheless, the Volvo feels more free, agile and easy to drive, while the BMW does feel constraint and focused at the same time. Volvo is more nimble and light on its feet in this suspension setup.
BMW has a stiffer setup of the suspension, corners with almost no body roll and grips really well and the steering is heavier and feedback-rich. These qualities are there on the XC40 but in fewer proportions. Ride quality is stiff on both cars, but the XC40 feels more compliant over bad roads. Highway stability on both cars is top notch despite different suspension setup.
The engine too, feels eager in the BMW, despite they make similar horsepower and torque of 190 BHP and 400 Nm of torque. The BMW does 0-100 km/hr in 7.5 seconds while the Volvo does it 8.2 seconds. Fuel economy is also higher in the BMW at 15-16 km/l, while the Volvo returned us 12-13 km/l. BMW claims 20 km/l with the car which is achievable on the highway.
Both cars have 8-speed gearboxes from same (ISIN) manufacturers and right from the lever operation to the cog shifting, the BMW is better. Volvo gearbox is slow and the cable operated gear lever is something that takes time getting used too. Both test cars came with a 4×4 setup and they are best for trail driving and mild off-roading only. Brakes are equally good on both cars in terms of bite on the pedal and power.
BMW X1 vs Volvo XC40 Diesel Comparison Review, Verdict
You think after going through all of this that the Volvo XC40 has more to offer and wins this test? Yes, it does, But the BMW comes close with its traditional strengths such as a better engine in every regard and more sporty dynamics. BMW now also offers a petrol engine too, which the XC40 doesn’t, period. Despite the fact that it is an FWD car in general and four-wheel drive comes as an option. The Mini platform helps the BMW put up a fight which is rather well despite the Volvo XC40 comes after the BMW X1.
BMW does get its design right over the previous version, but the Volvo aced by a considerable margin when it comes to the SUV design, stance and feels that it offers to the customer. XC40 also offers a lot of value for your money if you choose the R-Design variant over the BMW top-end variant. XC40 has the upper hand here as there is so much more to offer over the BMW and there is the novelty factor that this young Swedish boy possesses too.
BMW X1 Price
sDrive20d Expedition Rs. 41.29 Lakhs
sDrive20i xLine Rs. 43.65 Lakhs
sDrive20d xLine Rs. 45.92 Lakhs
xDrive20d M Sport Rs. 52.88 Lakhs
D4 Momentum Rs. 48.37 Lakhs
D4 R-Design Rs. 50.93 Lakhs
D4 Inscription Rs. 52.58 Lakhs
All prices on-road Delhi