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Volvo’s smallest SUV targets younger buyers

PROS

  • Less expensive path to Volvo SUV ownership
  • Bold styling and finishes available
  • Likely to be cost-effective to run

CONS

  • No word yet on prices

Verdict

This forthcoming Volvo XC40 crossover is aiming to replicate the success of the XC60 and XC90 SUVs in a smaller package.

Volvo’s yet to reveal exactly how the production XC40 SUV will look, but from shots of prototype models undergoing rigorous testing, it’s clear that it retains much of the look of the Concept 40.1 unveiled in 2016, including that unusual kink in the window line.

New small car platform

The first model based on Volvo’s new, smaller, Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) underpinnings, the XC40 will be a premium-priced alternative to the likes of the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA.

That CMA platform will also form the basis of other future Volvo 40-series models, as well as an SUV for the brand new Lynk & Co marque, which enters European markets in 2018.

Lynk & Co and Volvo are both owned by Chinese car giant Geely.

Efficient engine range expected

Which powerplants the Volvo XC40 SUV will have installed is still to be announced, but expect electrification in the forms of Twin Engine plug-in hybrids and full EVs to be available early in the newcomer’s life-cycle.

Diesels will likely be popular, which means the four-cylinder, 2.0-litre D4 will be the line-up’s likely mainstay, but the XC40 is set to be the first model fitted with Volvo’s new three-cylinder 1.5-litre petrol engine, possibly badged T3.

While we would expect all-wheel drive (AWD) to be available on the XC40 for SUV credibility, most models sold will be front-wheel drive for superior fuel efficiency and lower CO2 emissions.

Tapping into a younger market

Volvo’s hoping to attract a younger audience with the XC40, and has announced that the crossover will be available with a wider range of colours and interior finishes than any model in its current line-up.

How bold are we talking? Volvo’s confirmed that orange carpeting will be one of the possibilities.

This vibrancy could prove to be an appealing mix with the solid modernity of Volvo’s recent interiors. We expect the XC40 to follow this form with a dashboard dominated by a portrait-oriented multimedia touchscreen. Physical buttons are likely to be few and far between.

XC40 trim levels should match Volvo convention, meaning Momentum as the entry-level specification, Inscription as the most luxurious and R-Design as the sportiest.

Safety won’t be scrimped on either, given it’s a cornerstone of Volvo’s brand image. Expect a full suite of driver assistance systems to be available, including a degree of autonomous driving capability.

Specifics such as pricing will be revealed shortly after Volvo finally shows the production version of the XC40, but expect it to cost slightly less than direct rivals if Volvo remains true to form. Order books are likely to open for UK buyers before the end of 2017.

Parkers will be among the first to see and drive the Volvo XC40 SUV in the coming weeks, so check back with this page to read the latest details.

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