The XC40 test mule is clearly just that, since the external shell of a current V40 model can be seen perched on top of a raised suspension system. Volvo has created an all-new platform called CMA that will underpin several models, starting with the second-generation V40 in 2016. The XC40 will be ready in 2018, and there could even be a successor to the C30 3-door "coupe" after that.
Unfortunately, other manufacturers will run the compact-ish SUV segment in these two plus years that separate us from the XC40's launch. The model to watch out for is the Mk2 Volkswagen Tiguan, since sales of the Passat nearly doubled after they launched a new model based on the same MQB platform.
Mercedes also has plans to introduce a new version of its MFA platform that, by the end of the decade, could underpin a new model called the GLB.
What will make the XC40 different from its tiny SUV rivalsWe already have a good idea about the engines that will power the smallest Volvo SUV ever. It's actually fitting that the engines are going to be downsized as well. For example, the T3 and possibly even the T4 models will pack a 1.5-liter 3-cylinder from the Drive-E family that produces up to 180 horsepower.
The output is comparable to that of the 1.5 EcoBoost offered by the Ford Kuga, so we shouldn't act so surprised.
Around 25% of all XC40 sales will be plug-in hybrid models, Volvo predicts, though the number could be much higher in certain markets. That's why we expect two or more models to have charging ports.
The BMW X1 rival from the land of Ikea will also come with every safety feature imaginable. That's because Volvo has pledged that nobody will have a fatal accident in one of their vehicles by the year 2020.
"It's a very natural choice for Volvo. You then have a very nice lineup: XC90, XC60, XC40. Small SUVs, that’s where you see the growth. You see it overall downsizing, so I see big business in the future as it is now, but continuing for the C [segment] premium end of the market. We see that shift, we see sedans going into SUVs," says Kerssemakers.