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by Tim Beissmann

The brand-new Volvo XC40 compact crossover has been spotted during a photo shoot in Norway ahead of its anticipated debut at the 2012 Paris motor show in September.

Although Volvo is yet to officially confirm the existence of the V40-based SUV, these spy images, captured by a reader of Norwegian website DN.no, confirm the XC40 is almost ready to hit international showrooms.

The XC40 will give Volvo a direct competitor to the Audi Q3 and BMW X1 in the increasingly popular premium compact SUV market, and should arrive in Australia sometime in 2013.

Rather than being a completely new vehicle, the XC40 is essentially a higher-riding version of the Swedish brand’s new five-door V40 hatchback, which is due in local showrooms in the first quarter of next year.

Volvo’s decision to make the two cars so similar will no doubt have reduced development time and costs dramatically and should streamline the production process, ensuring the XC40 can hit showrooms sooner and potentially for a lower price.

Grey plastic cladding around the XC40’s lower edges gives the new crossover a rough-and-ready appearance, while the addition of an all-wheel-drive system – likely to be available on high-grade models – should give it basic off-road capabilities.

The Volvo XC40 will almost certainly share the V40’s powertrains. Internationally, the V40 will be available with two tunes of a turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine – 110kW/240Nm and 132kW/240Nm – and three diesels: an 84kW/270Nm 1.6-litre, and a 2.0-litre with 110kW/350Nm or 130kW/400Nm.

The Volvo XC40 will expand the Swedish brand’s SUV line-up, which currently comprises the mid-sized XC60, the large XC70 wagon and the full-size XC90.




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