2020 Volvo XC40 Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical, seat belts, powertrain, and structure issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

As far as luxury compact SUVs are concerned, there are very few that compare to the 2020 Volvo XC40. The automaker claims that the vehicle is made “on your terms,” but customers tend to disagree. In fact, the owners are complaining about the seat belts, powertrain, electrical system and structure.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2019   2021   2022   2023

Problems with the Seat Belts

Seat belts are a basic safety system that has been in vehicles for decades. Without properly working seat belts, occupants are put in a lot of danger.

That’s what is seen with this NHTSA complaint. “A few weeks ago while my wife had stopped at a traffic light and without any provocation, her seatbelt went into crash mode, tightened significantly and locking. This was to the point that she felt being suffocated from pressure on her abdomen and chest. Fortunately, the car was not in motion, otherwise, the seatbelt tightening and lock could lead to an accident. The lock released after 30 seconds and she could open the seat belt. She had chest pain for a few days after this incident.”

If the basic seat belt system isn’t made right, what else is wrong? Actually, there is a major safety system under recall right now. NHTSA Campaign Number 20V144000 states that over 120,000 vehicles have a software/hardware incompatibility that causes the Automatic Emergency Braking system to malfunction. Not only will this defect fail to see obstacles, but it might not engage at all. Hopefully, the seat belts in the Volvo XC40 are working right when this happens, or there will be bigger problems. Of course, it could go the other way, where the seat belts suffocate the occupant – clearly not on their terms at all.

2020 Volvo XC40 Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Electrical System
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
Air Bags
Electrical System:software
Exterior Lighting
Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings
Lane Departure: Assist
Seat Belts
Service Brakes
Unknown Or Other

Electrical System Issues

Volvo is a premium automaker that makes luxury vehicles. With this in mind, the cabin of the Volvo XC40 should be filled with high-tech features that work well, but that’s not the case.

One Edmunds review states, “The car is VERY heavy, not fun to drive as you feel in a tank. Zero aerodynamics…spend a lot in gas. Plus after a month, Apple Play doesn’t work. Don’t spend $$$ on navigation as you need the postal address for most locations. The worst feature is the air-conditioning. I live in NJ and tend to run cold but am boiling in this car, even at full blast. The interior is good but the chassis, everything else is questionable. I’d love to dump this car for a Mazda CX-5. Just wonder if I could.”

Volvo is fully aware of many defects with the electrical system in the Volvo CX40. One communication, Service Bulletin #TJ34618.6.0-2020, even talks about a screeching and scratching noise coming from the sound system once it is started. If customers were creating this vehicle “on your terms,” the sound system and other features would be working correctly, so the driver would be able to listen to their tunes in peace.

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Problems with the Powertrain

This Volvo model needs a robust and potent powertrain in order to supply on-road enjoyment. Yet, this is another system that the Volvo XC40 seems to struggle with.

One Edmunds customer states, “I’m taking the car in next week to repair of a recall issue, and to check for what might be a potential leak of some sort near the front of the car. Sad as I have less than 8,000 miles on the thing.”

Unlike the other problems, Volvo has nothing to say about this system. Instead, the automaker is charging premium prices for a lemon car. If this was the kind of quality that a customer wanted, they would do better saving some money and purchasing a jalopy instead.

Structural Problems

Many consumers believe that this Volvo is a piece of junk.

Just read this Edmunds review. “One of the things I dislike about XC40 is the blind spots in the rear of the vehicle.  The third pillar is too wide and it’s unsettling not being able to see cars approaching, even with the BLIS engaged and mirrors set correctly.  While many cars often have blind spots, it is not typical for Volvo to create a car with blind spots. Once could assume this sacrifice was made for the strong frame support, but my XC60 never had this issue.  For some reason, I didn’t notice them during the test drive, otherwise I might have rethought my purchase.”

This isn’t even the worst of what’s happening with the structure. Service Bulletin #S39920-2019-10-1 states that the tailgate handle might crack under some conditions. To prevent this from occurring, Volvo wants to replace the tailgate handle on the SUVs with a modified version that requires two new screws and bushings get installed. What part of this vehicle has been done “on your terms?” According to customers, not much!

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes Volvo pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones

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