Volvo S40, XC40 concepts tease small SUV, EV future

The Volvo XC40 compact crossover isn’t expected to arrive until 2018, and the complementary S40 sedan likely for 2019, but the automaker has shown some first plans for the two in concept-car form.

With the 40.1 Concept Volvo clearly teases the XC40, while the 40.2 Concept presages the S40. 

In these two concepts, with designs again led by Volvo Car Group head of design Thomas Ingenlath, we see a continuation of the chunky, high-shouldered profiles and crisp detailing that are hallmarks of the XC90 crossover introduced last year and the S90 full-size sedan arriving this year. Additionally, blacked-out pillars and “chopped,” nearly vertical front- and rear-end styling, gives these models an abruptness and different sense of proportion than other current models in their class; the blacked-out roof of the 40.2 Concept (XC40) serves to lower the look visually, however.

Both the XC40 and the S40 will be built on Volvo’s upcoming CMA platform, which takes advantage of a modular approach to both powertrains and the vehicle architecture as a whole. Development of the CMA underpinnings has been shared between Sweden and China, where its parent company, Geely, is based.

Although the Swedish automaker has stressed in the past that Geely’s development of CMA is guided by core Volvo engineers, it will also likely be the basis for some future Geely models.

The 40-Series family is expected to be powered by a family of 3- and 4-cylinder engines, including a new plug-in hybrid and a pure electric car.

The plug-in hybrid model, to be called T5 Twin Engine, will use a combination of the new 3-cylinder engine and a new 7-speed dual-clutch transmission and motor system, with front-wheel drive.

Volvo has previously announced plans to build a pure electric car on the larger Scalable Product Architecture (underpinning the XC90 crossover and S90 sedan) by 2019.

Volvo hasn’t released any further details about these two future models. In the meantime, the automaker has plenty of work to do—with all-new SPA-based 60-Series vehicles (S60, XC60) due before then, likely in 2017 and for the 2018 model year.