The all-new 2018 Volvo XC40 has been revealed, ahead of an Australian debut confirmed for the second quarter of next year.
It's a badge that has been in the offing for more than five years, and now it's official, with the 2018 XC40 unveiled at a standalone event in Milan tonight.
We had our first official look at the new XC40 in May last year, with the unveiling of the XC40.1 - a concept whose name left little to the imagination. And, last week, an early leak confirmed the small SUV's final design would not stray far from the look of its show-car progenitor.
Importantly for Volvo, the XC40 is the first model built on the Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform developed together with Chinese parent company Geely. CMA will underpin all 40-series models, including a number of full-electric variants.
Apparently discounting the now superseded V40 Cross Country, Volvo boss Hakan Samuelsson told media in Italy that the XC40 represents a first step into a new market for the brand.
“The XC40 is our first entry in the small SUV segment, broadening the appeal of the Volvo brand and moving it in a new direction,” Samuelsson said. “It represents a fresh, creative and distinctive new member of the Volvo line-up."
Offering the Australian view, the chief of Volvo's local arm - Kevin McCann - touted the XC40 as a unique identity-driven purchase.
"We wanted the XC40 to be a fresh, creative and distinctive member of the Volvo line-up, allowing its drivers to put their personality in their driveway. Drivers want a car that reflects their personality, and the XC40 is that car," he said.
The XC40 will enter production in November, to be built not in China as pundits might have expected, but at Volvo's plant in Ghent, Belgium.
Not revealed previously, the new XC40 measures 4425mm long overall, riding on a 2702mm wheelbase. By comparison, The Mercedes-Benz GLA lists 4417mm and 2699mm respectively, while the new Audi Q2 lists 4191mm and 2601mm (Q3: 4385mm/2603mm), and the new-gen BMW X1 lists 4439mm and 2670mm.
Volvo's global media release says the XC40 will initially be offered with a 140kW/400Nm D4 diesel and a 182kW/350Nm T5 petrol four-cylinder 'Drive-E' engine. A new three-cylinder unit, along with hybridised and pure-electric options, "will be added later".
Skip over to the UK-market press release, and you'll learn of additional four-cylinder options, including the 116kW T3 petrol, 142kW T4 petrol and 112kW D3 diesel engines - perhaps Volvo UK didn't get the "don't confirm every engine option" memo.
"Full technical details of these engines will be released at a later date," the release adds.
Depending on engine choice, front- and all-wheel-drive options will be offered.
Inside, the XC40 gets a 9-inch portrait-oriented display in the centre of the dash, along with a broad 12.3-inch instrument cluster display behind the steering wheel - matching the big-screens-as-standard approach applied to the little SUV's larger siblings.
Volvo has also made a point - one that might be a first for a manufacturer - of the XC40's extra-large door pockets, made especially capacious by relocating speakers to the dash. A "special space" for phones, with wireless charging - finally now available not only for many Android devices but also with the iPhone 8 and X - is also mentioned. (Yes, we're aware that owners of older iPhones can also get cases that accommodate wireless charging.)
Additional standard kit for UK models includes LED headlights, dual-zone climate control with 'CleanZone' air filtration, and rear parking sensors. Alloy wheels are 18-inch as standard, with hoops as big as 21-inches also available.
An optional 'Xenium' pack is also listed for the UK, adding a powered tilt-and-slide panoramic glass sunroof, a 360-degree surround view parking camera system, and Park Assist Pilot, which includes automatic parallel and 90-degree parking.
Other options include wireless mobile phone charging, Smartphone Integration – which includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a circa-$600 option for Volvo's current Australian models – and a 1200W, 13-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. (The XC40's standard audio system is still to be detailed.)
The standard safety features list is headlined by autonomous emergency braking with detection for pedestrians, cyclists and large animals. Oncoming Lane Mitigation is also featured, alerting and assisting the driver if they move out of their lane into the path of an oncoming vehicle.
An NCAP crash-test safety rating is still to be confirmed.
All XC40s will also be offered - again, according to the UK market's press release - with Pilot Assist as an optional extra, adding semi-autonomous steering, acceleration and braking control at speeds up to 80mph (129km/h).
"Pilot Assist is another step towards fully autonomous driving," the company notes, reminding us of its ongoing investment in self-driving vehicle tech.
Australian details for the new XC40 are still to be revealed, although we can likely expect a number of petrol and diesel options at launch.
Local pricing is still to be confirmed, but the new XC60's pricing - $6000 shy of the Mercedes-Benz GLC - suggests we could expect the XC40 to undercut the $43,600 GLA small SUV. Price-matching the $41,100 Audi Q2 could be on the cards, if Volvo doesn't dare slip below the $40,000 mark.