Another day, another new compact SUV. For what used to be considered a niche market, the compact SUV has become a crucial part of any serious manufacturer’s repetoir. So right on time here is the Volvo XC40, key to Volvo’s future bottom line.
It’s true that for the most part, compact SUVs are nothing more than inflated hatchbacks, but the XC40 is a little different. Like the XC90 before it, this is an entirely all-new car. Based on the new ‘CMA’ platform, the XC40 will form the centrepoint of Volvo’s future compact range, as well as Volvo’s first pure EV.
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The XC40 will initially be available in 2-litre turbocharged petrol and diesel options with a total of five output options. Entry-level T3 and D3 will be front-wheel drive, while higher powered models are exclusively all-wheel drive and paired to an automatic gearbox. The top spec T5 petrol offers a respectable 243bhp, although economy figures have yet to be released.
Eventually Volvo will also offer the XC40 with a turbocharged three-cylinder engine, a plug-in hybrid and full EV options, although we wouldn’t discount a future performance variant with a little assistance from Polestar to balance out all of this sensibleness.
Saftey has also been high on the list as despite its lower price point, the XC40 incorperates Volvo’s full suite of active and passive saftey, as well as the option of the semi-autonomous Pilot Assistance system – an unusual addition in the compact SUV class.
The Volvo’s biggest drawcard to buyers, however, is likely to be the slick, contemporary styling. The XC40 has very cleverly taken the deisgn langauage of its larger siblings and livened it up with just enough funky details to make it look seriously desirable.
The extrerior is defined by it’s slick Thor’s-hammer LED headlights and Volvo’s first application of a clamshell bonnet. From here sophisticated surfacing rounds off a fresh take on Volvo’s traditional upright taillights, all punctuated by large wheels and clever use of contrasting colours and materials.
Inside is even better, again taking the best bits of Volvo’s current interior design language and combining them with more expressive shapes and clever use of materials. Volvo’s portrait style Sensus infotainment system is present here, mimicking the minimalist feel of other Volvo interiors, while the 12.3-inch digital dial pack is also standard on all models.
With production slated to begin in November, the XC40 should reach customers soon after, with prices likely to be in line with rivals like the BMW X1, Audi Q3 and Mercedes-Benz GLA. Volvo’s excellent form looks set with the XC40, let’s hope it continues for future Polestar models too.