THE Volvo XC40 range will add a three-cylinder petrol engine – the Swedish company’s first in its 91-year history – to its driveline choices as it prepares for a battery-only version of the compact SUV.
However, it’s likely to be a long wait for Volvo’s first pure EV to arrive in Australia. Volvo Cars Australia public relations director Greg Bosnich said as we were considered a long-lead market for the brand, it would be late in 2020 at the earliest that we’d see the electric XC40 arriving on the market.
The petrol three-pot – Volvo already has a diesel version – joins Volvo’s growing suite of “Drive-E” powertrains, with the car maker saying it had been “deliberately designed for integration into Twin Engine plug-in hybrid cars”. It means the XC40 family will spawn hybrid versions, with a plug-in hybrid XC40 expected here in about late 2019 at the earliest.
Volvo’s three-cylinder engine is effectively a cut-down version of the turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit that Volvo uses across its model ranges in various states of tune. Volvo said the engine would be available with either a six-speed manual transmission, with an eight-speed automatic transmission tuned for the small triple joining the range “next year”.
The XC40 is due to launch in Australia in a few months’ time. Launch engines are expected to be a 185kW “T5” turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol, and a 140kW “D4” turbocharged 2.0-litre diesel producing 140kW. Both will use an eight-speed automatic transmission, and send drive to all four wheels.
The Volvo XC40 is visually very similar to the Swedish car maker’s 40.1 Concept, unveiled in 2016. The car is built on Volvo’s all-new Compact Modular Architecture platform that will sit under all the future small cars that will evolve from the brand.
Volvo’s newly created performance sub-brand, Polestar, is also working on an all-electric sedan called the Polestar 2 that it will add to its showroom in about 2020 before potentially being earmarked for an Australian launch – again, if it is approved for right-hand drive. The Polestar 1, a $200,000 450kW/1000Nm four-seat performance coupe featuring a 2.0-litre petrol engine and two electric motors due next year, won’t be made in right-hand drive. You also won’t be able to buy it; Volvo plans on leasing them to customers.
Volvo is expected to pull the covers off the Volvo V60, a wagon version of the S60 sedan, at next month’s Geneva motor show.