Volvo has unveiled the 2019 XC40, a smooth-riding compact crossover aimed squarely at buyers who may or may not have heard of a band called “The Beatles.”

The car has collected lots of accolades in the U.S. and abroad. It was recently named the “Compact SUV of Texas” by the Texas Auto Writers Association at the annual Texas Truck Rodeo in Austin and was also named 2018 “European Car of the Year” ahead of the Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland.

The new XC40 is a styling departure for Volvo, known for building safe if not stylish automobiles. But the sleek, sporty look of the new XC40 has new signature LED headlights that designers have named “Thor’s Hammer.” The XC40 looks more sporty – and just way cooler – than previous XC offerings.

The new XC40 is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that develops 248 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. The transmission in the AWD XC40 is a smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic. Volvo says the XC40 T5 will hit 60 miles per hour from a standstill in 6.2 seconds.

Behind the wheel of the test 2019 XC40 T5 AWD R-Design test car, I found the power came on smoothly and swiftly. It doesn’t slam your head to the headrest but is refined as it smoothly launches the car forward. The shifter on the XC40 requires two motions, one that moves the car from park into neutral and one more to put it into drive or reverse.

The cabin is elegant with high quality materials and a thoughtful dashboard layout highlighted by a vertical 9-inch touch screen monitor for infotainment and connectivity. (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are supported). A Qi wireless charging pad is below the center stack, next to a 12v and USB ports. Harman/Kardon is the sound system, and it is fabulous.

The seats in the XC40 are comfortable and firm, just right for long rides. Our test Volvo had the optional orange/red carpeting which is, well, different.

Tall drivers have no worries in either the front or back rows in this crossover. Headroom was fine for my 6-foot-1 frame, even with the fabulous sky roof that stretches all the way back over Row 2. Three adults in the back seat, however, will be cramped on the sides.

The XC40 has a very generous 20.7 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats in place. That jumps to 47.2 cubic feet if you fold Row 2 down. The opening at the rear hatch is tall and wide and a pass-through allows longer items to be accommodated without folding the back seat down. Grocery bag hooks are a nice convenience in the rear deck, and so is the extra 12v connection in the right side wall near the lift gate.

When it comes to safety, Volvo has a strong reputation. The 2019 XC 40 has not yet been crash tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety nor the government, but it is outfitted with sophisticated safety systems like active lane control, forward collision warning with emergency braking and a rearview camera on all trims. The 2018 XC 60 was a “Top Safety Pick” from the IIHS, and I’d be surprised if the 2019 XC40 didn’t wind up with the same rating.

On the road, I found the XC40 refined and flat in hard cornering. Steering was precise and on-center, and braking was excellent. The A pillars are relatively thin, which makes visibility from the cabin quite good.

The XC40 is also the first Volvo model that can be obtained through the company’s new subscription service. For a flat rate of $700 a month, buyers can get a new XC40 T5 plus a host of other amenities like insurance and all maintenance covered. It’s a plan that Volvo hopes will appeal to young buyers who won’t have to come up with a barrel of cash for a down payment. Ask your local dealer for more information on that program.

Otherwise, the MSRP on my 2019 XC40 T5 AWD R-Design was $35,200. A long list of options, plus fright, brought the out-the-door price to $45,935.

2019 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD R-Design

Engine:

2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder Horsepower/Torque:: 248/258 lb.-ft.

Transmission:

8-speed automatic

MSRP:

$35,200 (plus options, packages & freight)

EPA mileage estimates:

23 mpg city/31 mpg highway/26 mpg combined

Estimated Highway Range:

440 miles