We have exclusive pictures of the Volvo XC40 Concept 40.1, a car that's set to inspire Volvo's first compact SUV production model that's due in 2018
Steve Cropley Autocar
18 August 2016

The new Volvo XC40 is the brand’s first foray into the booming market for compact SUVs and it's set to make a Geneva motor show debut next March - Autocar has been given exclusive access to its precursor, the Concept 40.1.

The XC40, described by Volvo design boss Thomas Ingenlath as the beginning of a new Volvo design generation, will be closely based on the 40.1, which was first revealed in May.

Click here for the latest Volvo XC40 spy pictures

The 40.1’s sister saloon study, Concept 40.2, unveiled at the same time, also points strongly to the expected launch of a V40 hatch once the crossover is established in the market. It will also adopt the concept’s crisp, elegant lines and could incorporate the 40.2’s clever hatchback versatility delivered in a notchback body design.

The first of the new 40-series cars, the XC40, should hit showrooms early in 2018. It is likely to be the first of a three-pronged 40-series range consisting of the XC40, the V40 hatchback, which is due six months later, and a V40 estate, expected in 2019. The estate is likely to come in both standard form and Cross Country guise, with chunkier tyres and a raised ride height.

Insiders insist the three-tier 90, 60 and 40-series structure will complete the proposed Volvo range. No smaller model is in the frame.

The XC40 will be the first Volvo model to utilise the newly developed Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), a highly versatile component set designed to be shared by future compact Volvos and Chinese-built Geely models. Zhejiang-based Geely, China’s seventh-biggest car maker, paid £1.4 billion to buy the 89-year-old Swedish car maker from Ford just under two years ago and has been laying impressive expansion plans ever since.

The XC40 will also be the first Volvo to introduce the long-promised modular 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine, which is derived from the four-cylinder 2.0-litre diesel and petrol range launched several years ago. The engines will come as both diesel and petrol variants, with and without turbocharging.

The XC40 range-topper will be a petrol-powered plug-in hybrid called T5 Twin Engine. It will use a 180bhp petrol version of the new three-cylinder engine, supported by a 74bhp electric motor. Power will be directed to the front wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, with the electric motor directly driving the gearbox shaft that carries second, fourth and sixth gears. The XC40 T5 Twin Engine will have a battery-only range of about 30 miles. 

The T5 Twin Engine layout differs from the T8 Twin Engine set-up already offered with Volvo’s larger XC90 SUV, whose petrol engine drives the front wheels while the electric motor sends power to the rears to give four-wheel drive. Volvo says it won’t release fuel economy and CO2 figures until next year but is confident of leading the compact SUV class, which includes models such as the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA.

“If we’re not class-leading, we’ll have done something wrong,” said Volvo powertrain boss Michael Fleiss. The most efficient X1 has figures of 109g/km of CO2 and 68.9mpg combined.

Volvo plans to concentrate on plug-in hybrids because it believes their viable batteryonly range will most suit future inner-city clean-air legislation.

However, the car maker is also hinting at a fully electric 40-series model using CMA architecture, to follow an XC90-based battery model already on the books for 2019.

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Comments
18

18 August 2016
Why is every car maker jumping on the 'floating' C pillar bandwagon? It's like the 1950s again with tailfins and wraparound windscreens. It also seems to be the aim these days to reduce rear visibility to virtually zero. It won't be long before there's no rear visibility at all, like on a bus.

18 August 2016
androo wrote:

It also seems to be the aim these days to reduce rear visibility to virtually zero. It won't be long before there's no rear visibility at all, like on a bus.

The thickness of A B C pillars is a problem that designers fail to address. Some cars also have a tapering glasshouse making rear visibility worse. There are safety issues not wholly compensated for by electronic aids.

18 August 2016
Rear visibility is reducing but in fairness the manufacturers are compensating with technology ( cameras, blind spot sensors and those clever Mini 'see through pillars').

It's a great looking design and while I'm sorry that there's going to be no C30 replacement for the car my wife ran very happily for a few years I think this will be the first Volvo on her shopping list since the C30 disappeared.

18 August 2016
Does anyone know why Volvo's have harsh initial bump absorbtion, creating a hard edged ride and then uncontrolled and under damped compression and rebound strokes creating pogoing on rutted / damaged roads? Its the most uncomfortable ride I have encountered apart from in Vauxhalls. In a Vauxhall the reason is obvious. But Volvo's built on Ford platforms? I remember Volvo engineers saying the Ford dampers weren't good enough so they had to upgrade them. Yet the Fords have superb ride and handling. And The equivalent Volvo? About as good as a Vauxhall. Why?

jer

18 August 2016
How the electric motor will work on the 2,4,7 gears. isn't the use of an electric motor to get the car moving. Whats the combined effect/power. Overall through really curious.

18 August 2016
Looks great but I really hope they reduce the C pillar 'ramp'. Visibility for kids out of the rear will be appalling for a family focussed car (current Qashqai has a similar style). So 20 miles into a family holiday the poor old kids can't see a thing, throw up and your new Volvo then smells awful for the next 3 years of your lease......

 

 

 

18 August 2016
Why does this remind me of Ssangyong style when I see this?

18 August 2016
I like this design a lot but apart from the C pillar problem, why is there also a fixation with "hiding" the rear door handles? It just looks unbalanced in my opinion and as the rear doors are often used by children is also impractical, just keep it simple!

18 August 2016
Te designs of the hatch and the SUV look very attractive. Interesting that they plan to have non-turbo engines as well - like Mazda for their petrol models? I've test driven a V40 and found it claustrophobic, not to mention that I kept on banging my head when I entered the car. Exiting wasn't much easier. The V40 Cross Country was much better, however. Looks like this car can challenge the GLA, X1 and Q3 although I daresay that the last mentioned will be upgraded in line with the new Q2. Build integrity will have to be good to break into the usual top 3 (in terms of cost, at any rate).

18 August 2016
SUV's are meant to be practical so why do the windows get smaller and smaller. And, engines are meant to be getting smaller so why the need for such long bonnets these days. Ans: Looks (still looks awkward though)

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

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