Shoppers in the compact SUV market have been given a first look at what could be their next buy, with the unveiling today of a concept that is sure to preview the new 2018 Volvo XC40.
For now, the show car is known as the XC40.1, one of two new '40 Series' concepts, following in the footsteps of the current V40 and 40-badged models of generations past.
The small XC90- and S90-inspired compact SUV concept is joined by a vehicle that looks to be a preview of the anticipated S40 small sedan, although Volvo has dubbed it the 'V40.2'.
Like Subaru's jacked-up Liberty X sedan, this concept is essentially a sedan on stilts. However, thanks to its liftback design, it wears the 'V' designation that Volvo normally reserves for hatches and wagons.
It remains to be seen if the high-riding liftback sedan will come to production in the same configuration shown here, although it is more likely that Volvo will drop the S40 to a height that will see it best compete with the popular Audi A3 sedan, Mercedes-Benz CLA and the upcoming BMW 1 Series sedan.
The so-called XC40 is likely to be the first of these two concept to hit market and, in fact, Volvo has so far confirmed a launch window for only one: a 2017 production date for an Australian debut in late 2017 or early 2018.
The company has not offered any clear hints as to which model will appear first, however.
“Our new expanded range of smaller cars will improve and broaden Volvo’s presence in an important and growing market segment in Australia and around the world,” said Kevin McCann, managing director of Volvo Car Australia.
And indeed, the company last week used the social media platform Snapchat to declare this concept "not your daddy's Volvo".
The next-generation 40 Series range will be built on Volvo's new Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), developed specifically for small to medium cars.
As with the company's larger cars, new three- and four-cylinder Drive-E engines will provide power, while hybrid technology will add power to higher-spec models while keeping fuel consumption figures relatively low.
The V40.2, however, is powered - if only in concept form - by an all-electric powertrain, driving the front wheels and drawing power from a floor-mounted battery pack.
That design forms part of Volvo's confirmed commitment to selling no fewer than one million electrified (although not necessarily all-electric) cars by 2025.
The CMA platform is also reported to be capable of accommodating rear- and all-wheel drive electric systems, but Volvo has yet to confirm plans on that front.
While Volvo Australia waits until at least late 2017 to get its new compact offerings, the company will launch the recently revised V40 hatch in the third quarter of this year.
Click the photos tab above for many more images of the two new concepts.