The Volvo XC40 is the smallest premium SUV that Volvo offers as it sits in the premium subcompact/crossover SUV segment which is currently booming in popularity. This segment is packed with amazing options such as the Audi Q3, the Mercedes GLA, the BMW X1, and the Range Rover Evoque.
Even though we could spend days comparing these five, in this article, we are going to focus on the most notable Volvo XC4O T3 engine problems. These include strange engine noises, sluggish acceleration, potential issues with the turbocharger, and potential issues with the gearbox.
All in all, the T3 engine found in the Volvo XC40 does manage to be mostly trouble-free and it seems like there are no overly serious, widespread issues that should stop you from buying one. Granted, some might be a bit disappointed with the power output of the XC40 as it isn’t the most powerful Volvo engine you can buy, not even by a long shot.
If you also take into account that Volvo pretty much only makes 4-cylinder engines at most, those who crave performance and speed are likely going to deem the T3 to be a bit too sluggish in general, even without any potential issues that could cause it to accelerate even worse than that.
Strange Engine Noises
There have been a few reports here and there about the T3 experiencing strange engine noises such as engine knocking, ticking, and fluttering, especially under load. Some believe that this is normal because the engine is just a tiny 3-cylinder that overworks itself whenever you put the pedal to the metal, but that is not always exactly the case.
Some say that these problems are directly associated with misfiring which can occur because of higher temperatures or overloading the engine for an extended period of time. Others say that the fuel delivery system has something to do with it, especially if the car stalls or you can’t hear the fuel pump priming once you hit the ignition.
There are a few reasons why you could experience sluggish acceleration with the XC40, the main of which being the fact that the T3 only offers 163hp while weighing around 1600kg (3,500lbs). However, sluggish acceleration can also be caused by clogged air filters, clogged air filters, or a malfunctioning fuel injector. As such, it would be a good idea to inspect all of these if you do come across sluggish acceleration.
As these components are usually dependent on frequent maintenance, you should do your best to maintain your T3 to the best of your ability. If you fail to do so, you are surely going to experience these issues at some point. Therefore, these issues are not “faults“ per se, but rather a sign that the engine wasn’t properly maintained.
The little T3 engine relies on the turbocharger to provide the necessary power to make it move at any notable pace. The turbocharger truly does often overwork itself with the T3 engine due to its small displacement, so whenever the car reaches 3k RPM or similar, the turbocharger needs to work at a really high load.
With such use, the oil that lubricates the turbo can break down earlier than usual while foreign materials can also make their way into the turbocharger through the air filtration system and cause the car to lose power. A few owners did report damaged blades within the turbo which are probably due to dirt accumulating within the turbo and causing them to break.
The Volvo XC40 T3 comes with either a 6-speed manual or an 8-speed automatic transmission, and there have been a few issues with the automatic transmission. These include potential problems such as gear slipping, hesitation during changes, and occasional jerking at lower speeds. These problems can be caused by software glitches, sensor problems, and damaged gears.
If the transmission fluid contaminates itself with small shards of metal, it can lead to fairly severe transmission problems, so much so that the transmission will need a complete rebuild/replacement. Thankfully, if you properly maintain your powertrain in your XC40 T3, you are not likely going to experience these issues.
Is the Volvo XC40 T3 Underpowered?
It depends on what you want from a car. In reality, 163hp is “enough“ for most people because the XC40 is not designed to be dynamic by any means. This means that the T3 is adequate for 90% of the situations you want to use it in addition to being fairly efficient, cheap to run, and very good on fuel.
However, once you push the pedal on an on-ramp or when trying to merge into a junction a bit more quickly, you will soon realize that the T3 is not all that comfortable with that. Therefore, if you are used to more powerful engines, the T3 is definitely going to feel underpowered as there is no denying that a 10-second 0-60mph time is anything except slow.
Which Engines are Available with the Volvo XC40?
The Volvo XC40 is available with different engine options, including a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with either 194 horsepower in the B4 or a 48-volt mild-hybrid system with 194 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque in the base model, and the aforementioned T3 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine in some models.
The B4 engine is only available with front-wheel drive, while other models come with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The XC40 Recharge pure electric model comes with an all-electric powertrain, while the C40 Recharge is a derivative of the XC40 Recharge and features a completely electric powertrain as well.
Should I Buy the Volvo XC40 T3?
If you want a stylish, well-equipped, safe, and premium crossover/subcompact SUV, the XC40 T3 is a good choice. We’ve already said that it isn’t the most powerful XC40 variant money can buy, so if you want more power, you should focus on more powerful engine variants instead.
Either way, the XC40 is one of the most popular Volvo models for a reason because it offers a great package of everything an average crossover premium SUV buyer wants.