Thin on details, but boy is it frugal.
Volvo’s riding a wave of success thanks to its XC40 compact SUV, the car that its designer says was made to look like a “tough little robot,” which has won fans across the globe with its ingenious innovations, inventive styling, and intelligent powertrains.
On that powertrain note, the XC40 has made a Bejing debut in T5 TwinEngine guise, the second plug-in petrol-electric hybrid powertrain from the Swedish brand. It’s expected to utilise a three-cylinder 1.5-litre turbo-petrol mill, mated to an electric motor at the rear, to offer all-wheel drive and impressive fuel economy.
“Last year, we made a commitment to electrification in preparation for an era beyond the internal combustion engine. Today, we reinforce and expand that commitment in the world’s leading market for electrified cars. China’s electric future is Volvo Cars’ electric future.” — Håkan Samuelsson, President & CEO, Volvo Cars
No official figures were disclosed at the launch, but a similar powertrain beneath the newly-launched Geely Bo Rui GE (which uses the same Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) as the XC40) is claiming a fuel consumption figure of just 1.6L/100km on the combine cycle.
Further, Volvo has also rolled out a T3 petrol (using the same 1.5-litre 3-banger), a T4 petrol, and a D3 diesel, with the latter two coming in the form of four-cylinder motors.
The design of the XC40 is almost a carbon-copy of the Concept 40.1 that we’ve seen before. There’s a bluff front end with very squared-off edges and a clamshell bonnet (there’s something we haven’t seen in a while), along with a clean fuss-free profile that ends with a pert, clean rear featuring ‘Volvo’ lettering prominently across the tailgate. The XC40 in our opinion looks best with the bigger wheels (don’t they all?) but the verdict is still out there as to whether or not this will affect the ride too much.
The XC40’s cabin design is exactly what we’d expect of Volvo: Two screens, lots of horizontal lines, and a distinct lack of buttons. Dual-zone climate control is expected here, and as befitting a car in this end of the market, interior trim ranges from high-quality fabric all the way up to the uber-soft Nappa leather that we’ve seen before from Volvo’s best. The seats are of a design that we haven’t seen before, but will expect to see as the rest of the 40-Series cars (just the V40 hatch now) get full-model changes in the future. The way the XC60 was described as an XC90 with 30 knocked off, the XC40 is very much an XC60 with 20 knocked off.
The Volvo XC40 is easily one of the most compelling options on the market, even when levelled against equally style-conscious offerings like the Range Rover Evoque, BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA, and Audi Q3. With prices sitting within spitting distance of its rivals, but arguably offering better on-board technology (as is the way with Volvo), we’re looking forward to watching Volvo move from a fringe-player in the luxury segment to a bona-fide mainstream competitor in the coming years.