Hidden beneath the test car’s familiar V40 body shape is almost certainly the all-new CMA platform, co-developed by Volvo with its Chinese parent company, Geely.
The Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform will form the basis of Volvo XC40, next-generation V40 hatch, a new S40 sedan, and a range of fresh Geely vehicles.
XC40 will be Volvo’s first entry into the compact SUV segment, and is likely to compete with cars like BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA and the new Infiniti QX30 when it finally arrives in early 2018.
Volvo boss Håkan Samuelsson confirmed the plan to build a small SUV. “We want to build a broader range of ‘40’ cars,” he said. “Today we only have the hatchback, but we want more, and with the new technology that we’re working on, we will have the means to expand the line-up. Highest on my list is a small SUV, because that’s where the market is going.”
A hybrid electric powertrain has been hinted at for XC40 that would likely use Volvo’s own compact 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo engine and a small electric motor cleverly packaged with the gearbox. Volvo is developing a larger range of three- and four-cylinder engines to end dependence on its supply deal with Ford.
As for how the XC40 will look when it reaches showrooms, expect a version of Volvo’s concave front grille as seen on larger Volvo SUVs and headlights that follow the ‘Thor’s Hammer’ design seen on Volvo XC90. A production version is likely to appear at a motor show before the end of 2017 and provide a further look at Volvo’s styling direction for new-generation V40 and S40 that will follow shortly after.