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2021 Cadillac XT4 vs. 2021 Volvo XC40: Which Is Better?

The 2021 Cadillac XT4 and the 2021 Volvo XC40 are the smallest SUVs from their respective brands. Which is better?

Quick Facts

  • The Cadillac XT4 is in its third model year.
  • The Volvo XC40 is newly available as an EV.

2021 Cadillac XT4

2021 Cadillac XT4

Base Price: $36,790 / Read our 2021 Cadillac XT4 Review

What we like: Generous rear-seat legroom, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto

What we would change: Increase luggage space; add a second engine option; upgrade the cabin materials; make active-safety features standard on the base trim

Overview: The Cadillac XT4 is the brand’s smallest SUV, but it’s still somewhat larger than most small luxury crossovers. That pays dividends for rear-seat passengers but not in luggage space, which is on the small side either behind the rear seats or with the rear seatbacks folded. Interior materials quality is marginal for a luxury offering. The XT4’s sole powertrain offering is a 2.0-liter turbo-four with 237 horsepower. It’s paired with a 9-speed automatic and front- or all-wheel drive. EPA combined fuel economy is 26 mpg (FWD) and 24 mpg (AWD). An available active suspension with adaptive dampers improves the ride and handling versus the base setup.

What’s new for 2021: Wireless smartphone integration is new and is standard. The base Luxury trim gains a power liftgate and can now be had with leather and a new Driver Awareness package with lane-keep assist and automatic high-beams. Red-painted brake calipers are new for the Sport model.

Features and technology: The XT4 is offered in base Luxury form then branches into Premium Luxury and Sport trims, which are nearly equivalent in price. The XT4 lags in its standard active-safety features. All trims get forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking, but lane-keeping assistance, rear cross-traffic alert, and blind-spot monitoring are extra-cost on the base car. The Sport offers the desirable adaptive dampers, while adaptive cruise, a 360-degree-view camera, and navigation are optional on the top two trims. A user-friendly 8-inch touchscreen is standard and includes Wi-Fi and the aforementioned wireless smartphone mirroring, but wireless charging is part of the optional Technology package.

What does the future hold: Likely a mid-cycle update next year and maybe a high-performance “V” variant? We’ll have to wait and see. See 2021 Cadillac XT4 models for sale near you

2021 Volvo XC40

2021 Volvo XC40 Front Left Side in White


Base Price: $34,695 / Read our 2021 Volvo XC40 Review

What we like: Two gasoline engine choices; available EV version; many standard active-safety features; stylish exterior; roomy interior

What we would change: Greater range for the EV; redesign the electronic gearshift; add more physical controls outside the touchscreen

Overview: The Volvo XC40 is very much in the mold of its larger siblings. The XC40 has its own spin on the brand’s Scandinavian-inspired design, giving it a modern, substantial look despite its small size, and the roomy interior is full of clever touches. Gasoline-powered models use a 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder in one of two strengths. The T4 has a 184-hp version and comes only with front-wheel drive. The T5 gets 248 hp and all-wheel drive. Both engines are paired with a well-mannered 8-speed automatic that unfortunately suffers from a balky electronic shifter. The T5’s acceleration is brisk, while the T4’s is merely adequate. In either version, the 2.0-liter four can sound coarse at high revs. The T4 averages an unexceptional 26 mpg combined, barely beating the T5’s 25 mpg. New for 2021 is the battery-powered XC40 Recharge P8 AWD. It’s blisteringly quick with 402 hp, but its range is somewhat disappointing at 208 miles.

What’s new for 2021: The XC40 Recharge P8 AWD is a new all-electric variant. Elsewhere, the base Momentum trim adds a host of new equipment including blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, LED headlights with automatic high-beams and active curve illumination, power-folding auto-dimming side mirrors, leather, two USB-C ports for rear-seat passengers, and a programmable Care Key (that sets limits for young drivers). Additionally, the XC40 and all Volvos can now alert each other to slippery roads or a vehicle with its hazard lights on.

Features and technology: The XC40 T4 and T5 are offered in Momentum, R Design, and Inscription trim levels. All trims come with a full slate of active-safety features. The base Momentum includes leather, a power driver’s seat, a digital instrument cluster, and a 9-inch vertical touchscreen. The R Design gets a sport-tuned suspension, 19-inch wheels, Nappa leather/Nubuck upholstery, navigation, and more. The top Inscription trim has the standard suspension, real wood trim, and a crystal shift knob. Adaptive cruise with assisted steering, a 360-degree-view monitor, wireless charging, and self-parking are among the available options. The Recharge P8 AWD comes in a single trim level. As in other Volvos, a vertical touchscreen is featured, and while it looks impressively modern and is highly customizable, its learning curve is steep, and more physical controls would be welcome.

What does the future hold: The XC40 lineup appears to be fully filled out with the arrival of the Recharge P8 AWD, so we don’t expect major changes soon. See 2021 Volvo XC40 models for sale near you

XT4 vs. XC40: Strengths comparison

Cadillac XT4 Benefits: More powerful standard engine, wireless Android Auto/Apple CarPlay

Volvo XC40 Benefits: Lower pricing, available EV, larger cargo hold, more standard active-safety features

2021 Cadillac XT4 vs. 2021 Volvo XC40: Which is better?

Unless you really prefer the look of the sharp-edged Cadillac, the Volvo XC40 comes out on top here. See 2021 Cadillac XT4 models for sale or See 2021 Volvo XC40 models for sale

2021 Cadillac XT4 2021 Volvo XC40
Popular Powertrains
Engine 2.0-liter I-4 turbo 2.0-liter I-4 turbo
Horsepower 237 hp  at 5,000 rpm 187 hp  at 4,700 rpm
Torque 258 lb-ft at 1,500 rpm 221 lb-ft at 1,400 rpm
Transmission 9-spd automatic 8-spd automatic
Fuel Economy 26 mpg (24 city/30 hwy) 26 mpg (23 city/32 hwy)
Also Available AWD 2.0-liter I-4 turbo; EV; AWD
Warranty 4 years/50,000 miles 4 years/50,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty 6 years/70,000 miles 4 years/50,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety 5 stars 5 stars
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 109.4 inches 106.4 inches
Overall Length 181.1 inches 174.2inches
Width 76.7 inches 73.3 inches
Height 63.2 inches 65.3 inches
Turning Diameter 38.0 feet 37.4 feet
Headroom, Front 39.4 inches 39.0 inches
Headroom, Rear 38.3 inches 39.1 inches
Legroom, Front 40.4 inches 40.9 inches
Legroom, Rear 39.5 inches 36.1 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 57.0 inches 56.7 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 55.1 inches 56.3 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 100.6 cu. ft. 102.9 cu. ft.
EPA Cargo Volume 22.5/48.9 cu. ft. 21.7/57.5 cu. ft.

Joe Lorio
Joe Lorio
Joe Lorio is an author specializing in automobiles. He says, “I have been into cars ever since I started with Matchboxes, and have been sharing my opinions about them for almost as long. Granted, I was pretty young at the time, but my parents really should have listened to me when I told them not to buy an Austin Marina.”

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