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

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.

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2020 Volvo XC40

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

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

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.

Problems with the Electrical System

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.

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.

Problems with the Structure

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.

Complaint Data

CategoryElectrical System:software
DateMar 27, 2023
The contact owns a 2020 volvo xc40. The contact stated that while his wife was driving at an undisclosed speed, the speedometer and the infotainment system screen turned blank. The vehicle then lost motive power. The electronic stability program (esp) warning light was illuminated. The contact's wife veered to the side of the road, and the contact arrived at the scene. The vehicle was able to be restarted. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, where it was diagnosed that the failure was related to the software control module and srs air bags malfunction, which caused the vehicle to believe it was involved in a crash and to shut off automatically. The dealer determined there were no signs of a crash and performed a software update; however, the failure recurred while his wife was driving. The message "12v battery low charge" was displayed. The contact's wife pulled into a parking lot and was able to restart the vehicle. The dealer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 30,453.
CategoryAir Bags
DateSep 29, 2022
Air bags did not deploy when car hit another vehicle that failed to stop and dui. Volvo was traveling at 35mph and vehicle hit was traveling 35+. Vehicle is available for inspection at this time. Driver experiencing bodily injuries (neck, shoulders, back, ribs, and legs, etc. As well as affects of a concussion. I am not sure who to contact to inspect the vehicle. Please call me at 951-973-3035 or email me with who can help me with this. No warning prior to failure.
CategoryElectrical System
DateAug 26, 2022
The electrical system on my car apparently failed, which rendered the car unable to start and drive. Park place volvo claims that there is water, that penetrated the seals, from underneath the car. Although there were no visible signs of water, volvo claims that the rain caused this issue. Volvo has refused to honor a warranty for the alleged defective seals, and sent my car to its collision center.
CategoryForward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
DateApr 28, 2022
Vehicle suddenly puts on the brakes, for no reason. Has happened 3 times, 2 in parking lots and 1 while driving down the road, suddenly swerved for no reason. Could cause injuries to driver and passenger.
CategoryForward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings, Lane Departure: Assist
DateFeb 24, 2022
Almost once a month my car with think there is something in front of it and activate the emergency brakes. It causes huge strain to the brakes and almost makes me crash and puts the people in front of me and behind me at risk. I've turned the setting to a lower sensitivity to try to avoid this but it doesn't matter. The car does the worst on turns as well and thinks cars in the opposite lanes while turning are in your lane and will cause the system to react. On small roads the car will try to move your car to correct in the lane but it's too small and runs the risk of going off the road or go into oncoming traffic. Most of the time I just have to turn this setting off entirely since it's more dangerous than helpful.
CategoryService Brakes
DateFeb 24, 2022
My xc40 has 24, 500 miles on it, and it has already had three sets of brake rotors replaced. The dealership reported "warped rotors" on my front brake rotors in the summer of 2021 at 15,000 miles and replaced them. Now at 24,500 miles, both the front and rear rotors were again "warped" and replaced by the dealership noting that the "rotors had pad transfer marks".
CategorySeat Belts, Unknown Or Other
DateJan 14, 2020
Issue1: a few weeks ago while my wife had stopped at a traffic light and without any provocation, her seatbelt went into crash mode, tightening 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. Issue 2: three days ago when my wife was removing groceries from the trunk of the car, and while the engine was off, suddenly the trunk door released itself and hit her on the head with full force. This door is supposed to close only when a switch inside the trunk is triggered or when the key is used to close the trunk door. Neither was engaged at the time as she still had items to remove from the trunk. She has serious neck pain and nausea for a couple of days. The above incidents appear to be caused by some sort of computer malfunction. We are concerned about repetition of these incidents which have the potential to cause serious injury and harm for which we hold volvo responsible. Issues 2 and 3 are of particular concern. Seatbelt lock-up and severe tightening during drive can cause accident. The trunk door releasing itself suddenly can break someone's neck or cause head injury to us or grocery store staff who help us load groceries. Inaction will definitely constitute negligence.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 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.

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