2023 Volvo XC40 Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical and brake issues are among the top complaints to the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones | Reviewer: Sergei Lemberg

2023 is the fifth model year of the compact Volvo XC40 SUV, one of the auto maker’s top sellers. Refreshed in appearance, all the 2023 options have mild hybrid powertrains. Volvo describes it as “Smart. Versatile, Fresher than ever.” But owners whose SUVs have electrical system problems or issues with the brakes don’t think their cars are smart, versatile, or fresh.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2019   2020   2021   2022

Most Common Problems with the 2023 XC40

Volvo has made a commitment to electrify its full range of vehicles by 2030. Nobody can say that this isn’t a fantastic goal. But some customers are complaining about major defects that affect both the gas-powered and electric variations of the 2023 XC40.

First launched as a 2018 model, the 2023 Volvo XC40 has been updated with what the automaker says will give the vehicles “cutting-edge design and modern statement” a “refresh.” They don’t say much in their initial press release, though it seems that the “new front bumper and a frameless grille plate” are features they believe will attract more buyers. New exterior colors and premium leather-free upholstery options are features they highlight about the XC40 Recharge.

It’s not surprising that owners aren’t complaining to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about any of these new exciting features. They are more concerned about the fact that brakes malfunction and the electrical system has serious faults. These two components are also the cause of two recalls that Volvo has issued for the 2023 Volvo XC40.

Recalls for the 2023 XC40

The first recall issued for the Volvo XC40 was because of a brake control module 2 (BCM2) diagnostic error that can cause a loss of the anti brake system (ABS), electronic stability control (ESC), and traction control. As the recall warns, a reduction in brake support functions can increase the risk of a crash.

The XC40 is one of eight 2023 Volvo models that are affected by the recall – 27,457 vehicles in all. In January 2023, Volvo Car USA, LLC stated that they would release a free over-the-air BCM2 software update that would solve the problem. Owners were to be notified by mail in mid-March 2023.

The second recall, announced in late March 2023 warned 329 vehicle owners that there might be false warning messages for the emergency call system. The issue is that if there is a false warning message, this could prevent the detection of a real e-call system failure. If this happens, it could delay an emergency response when there is a crash. This could, in turn, increase the risk of injury.

The solution for this problem is the telematics and connectivity antenna module software, which dealers will update free of charge. Volvo was expected to notify owners in May 2023.

2023 Volvo XC40 Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Electrical System
Unknown Or Other
Forward Collision Avoidance
Service Brakes
Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control
Fuel/propulsion System
Power Train
Service Brakes, Hydraulic

Problems with Faulty Brakes

Brake problems experienced by owners of the 2023 Volvo XC40 are varied.

Brake Malfunction Due to BCM2 Error

The Georgia owner of an XC40 with only 300 miles crashed when the brakes malfunctioned. He later discovered that the vehicle was on the recall list because of a faulty BCM2.

While driving at about 30 mph, the driver pressed the brake pedal to stop at a traffic light. The brake pedal stiffened and he “had to apply pressure to the brake pedal.” Then suddenly, the ESC warning light, the brake warning light, the ABS warning light, and other unknown warning lights came on. At the same time, the RPMs inadvertently increased to 1,000 without acceleration. He states that he “desperately pumped the brake pedal multiple times to stop the vehicle.” But, the vehicle started to decrease in speed as it went through the red stop light. As a result, another vehicle crashed into the front end of the XC40. The airbags did not deploy, although, ironically, it was the driver of the other vehicle who was injured and required medical attention.

Phantom Braking

Another owner of a 2023 XC40 reportedly experienced phantom braking while driving at 65 mph. The NHTSA complaint states that this happened multiple times. The cause appears to be the forward collision avoidance system activating when there are no other vehicles nearby.

Brake Problem Related to Software Recharge

An owner from California was notified via email that his 2023 Volvo XC40 Recharge was due for a computer update. He was told that the update would download automatically and he would then be asked “to initiate the installation.”

The next day, after charging the car, which is programmed for 1-pedal driving, he disconnected the charger and got into the car. “I put my foot on the brake, and placed the car in reverse. When I released the brake, the car just took off in reverse. It should not have moved until I pushed on the accelerator. I am theorizing that the car was either in the middle of the download or had just finished the download portion of the update. This problem persisted after I put the car in Drive. I drove about 2 blocks and parked the car. After about 10 minutes, I put the car in Drive and it returned to the 1-pedal drive mode. The computer screen in the car showed a message that the update was ready for installation.

“The car drove normally for 20 miles to our house. We installed the update after arriving home. My wife drove the car the following morning. She experienced no further problems.”

So, it remains a mystery.

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Electrical System Problems

The Volvo XC40 SOS button is designed for those traveling in the vehicle to summon help in the case of illness or if there are external threats to the car or passengers. All you have to do is depress the SOS button for at least 2 seconds.

But when the owner of a new 2023 XC40 with only 700 miles on the clock used it to try and call roadside assistance, it malfunctioned and made several other calls instead. The owner contacted the dealer about the problem, but no diagnosis was made and the vehicle wasn’t repaired.

What to do if your 2023 Volvo XC40 is a lemon?

If you think your 2023 Volvo XC40 may be a lemon you can do something about it. Every year, vehicle manufacturers replace vehicles, buy them back, or pay cash settlements to thousands of unhappy owners. Lemon law makes the manufacturer, including Volvo, pay the legal fees.

All you have to do is call the Lemberg Law Helpline or fill in a contact form and we’ll assess your problems free of charge. If we agree that you seem to have a lemon, we will help you get lemon justice.

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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