Posh compact SUV adds luxe, increased frugality.
Swedish carmaker Volvo is riding high on the launch of its new XC40 compact SUV, the smallest utility vehicle they’ve ever had. When it was launched last September, the XC40 was available with (relatively) large 2.0-litre Drive-E mills (namely the T5 petrol and D4 diesel). This week, in keeping with their promises, Volvo has unveiled a new three-cylinder petrol mill as well as a couple of new 4-cylinder engine options for the new crossover, as well as a flagship trim level.
First, the engines. For the first time in the company’s 91-year history, Volvo will be offering a three-cylinder turbo-petrol engine, which will carry the ‘T3’ badge. The T3 mill features direct-injection, and was developed in-house using the same modular design pioneered by the larger 4-cylinder Drive-E mills. The T3 will be paired exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission for the time being, though an eight-speed automatic gearbox (like the rest of the Volvo range) will be offered in due course.
“Our new three-cylinder engine is an exciting development for the XC40, and for Volvo Cars. This compact engine design provides the flexibility we need as we introduce more powertrain options for XC40 customers.” — Alexander Petrofski, Senior Director (Cluster 40), Volvo Cars
When Petrofski talks about “more powertrain options,” he’s likely talking about electrification. The T3 was designed from the outset to accommodate electrification options, as was the Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform that underpins the Volvo XC40. As such, expect a T5 plug-in hybrid model (pairing the T3 to an electric motor) as well as a battery-electric XC40 in the future.
If neither of those options are to your liking, you’ll be happy to know that a D3 four-pot diesel and T4 four-pot petrol have also been added to the range to “broaden the engine offerings” for the XC40.
The Volvo XC40 has also been given another trim level offering targeted at the poshest competitors in the segment. The XC40 Inscription kicks off with the option of 18-, 19-, 20-, and even 21-inch alloy wheels, along with trim-specific skid plates, chrome trim for the window surrounds and grille, as well as unique paint finishes. In the cabin, Inscription models with the automatic gearbox will find an Orrefors crystal gear lever (in a unique design, different from the unit used in the bigger XC60 and bigger-still XC90).
The XC40 Inscription can further be optioned up with things like brushed stainless steel skid plates, door trim mouldings, and integrated dual tailpipes as part of a new exterior styling kit. A roof spoiler can also be added, for extra vim.
The Volvo XC40 T3 is priced in the UK at £27,905 (or $49,400), while the XC40 Inscription starts at £30,405 ($53,815) there. We have little doubt that the T3 will find its way to our market, as well as the eventual T5 PHEV and Inscription trim level. The distinctive Scandinavian crossover will arrive on our shores sometime this year, so stay tuned to CarShowroom as we bring you more updates as they come.