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by Tim Beissmann

An official teaser image of Volvo’s next-generation small car – believed to be called the Volvo V40 – has leaked online. The conventionally styled five-door hatchback is not due to be officially unveiled until the 2012 Geneva motor show in March.

The Volvo V40 will land in Australia around 12 months after its debut in early-2013 to take on premium small cars like the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series, as well as the universally popular Volkswagen Golf. It is set to replace the ageing S40 sedan/V50 wagon duo, but will be sold alongside (rather than replace) the compact C30 three-door hatch.

The all-new small car takes styling cues from its big brother, the mid-sized Volvo V60, with a prominent front grille, swept-back windscreen, shallow side windows and taillights extending up the C-pillars.

A range of four-cylinder turbocharged and direct-injected petrol and diesel engines will find its way into the V40 as Volvo targets fuel efficiency and sharp performance from its new small car.

Expected to come with a sub-$40,000 price tag, the V40 will almost certainly become Volvo’s top-selling model in Australia and easily eclipse the modest sales performance of the S40 and V50. So far this year, Volvo Car Australia has sold 277 of both models combined, 43 per cent down on the 490 sold over the same period in 2010. In contrast, Audi has sold 1501 A3 hatchbacks while BMW has delivered 959 1 Series five-doors.




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