Five-door Volvo V30 hatchback will sit between the C30 and V50 and rival the Volkswagen Golf

These are the first spy pictures of Volvo’s crucial new Golf rival, tipped to be called Volvo V30.

The five-door hatchback will sit between the C30 and V50 in Volvo’s range and will share its front-drive ‘P1’ platform with these models (as well as the S40) when it is launched in 2013.

See spy pictures of the new Volvo V30

Volvo insiders have indicated to Autocar in the past that the firm is desperate to compete in one of Europe’s largest market segments and consider making such a car “an open goal”.

The car was made a priority by Volvo boss Stefan Jacoby when he joined the firm from Volkswagen last year. It has been pushed up the product cycle ahead of a replacement for the ageing XC90 full-size SUV.

The Swedish firm’s last attempt at cracking the Golf segment was with the Volvo 440 in the 1990s.

Jacoby confirmed the launch of the V30 to Autocar last year, saying it would “be a derivation of the C30 - a Golf competitor”. These spy images are the first concrete proof of its existence.

Autocar understands the car will be marketed at young, active families and will be a premium product within the Golf class. Such billing will also appeal to the North American market, which Volvo is keen to expand in further.

The V30 is tipped to be the first car to get Volvo’s new range of modular four-cylinder VEA (Volvo Environmental Architecture) engines, which will be no greater than 2.0 litres in capacity. This new engine family will consign the firm’s five-, six- and eight-cylinder units to history.

Volvo will also launch a baby SUV, called XC30 and based on an all-wheel-drive version of the P1 platform. There may be two different versions of the XC30: a standard-wheelbase version for Europe and a stretched model for China and, perhaps, North America.

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