Volvo Cars’ new electric crossover has a name, and it just happens to be something people hate doing. The XC40 is the brand’s new EV, crafted out of the compact XC40 crossover and helped in its mission by the model’s versatile modular platform. To make it work, Volvo first carried out some alterations. See details here.
“Recharge” isn’t just the name applied to the brand’s new EV — it’s a new sub-brand under which all upcoming EVs and plug-in hybrids will reside. An invitation to confusion or buried psychological disdain? Possibly.
Volvo teased the electric version of its XC40 on Wednesday, timing it perfectly with a slow news day. As a result, the new model got quite a bit of media attention.
Unfortunately, there’s not much to say about the crossover. Beyond re-issuing the date for its official debut, Volvo was hesitant to provide details. The company was primarily concerned with explaining the XC40’s design, offering insight on underbody modifications and some sketches showing the electric variant looking quite similar to the standard model.
This forced the press to unilaterally glom onto the automobile’s new frunk in desperation. While the new storage compartment truly is the stuff of dreams (a trunk in the front?!?!), it was also one of the few items the manufacturer provided any information on. At least this will be a relatively short read.
Volvo, the brand TTAC commenters can’t get enough of (when they’re not talking Infiniti), will soon enter a fledgling segment no automaker seems capable of steering clear of: electric vehicles.
The new model, due for an October unveiling, won’t be an unfamiliar, futuristic blob that leaves viewers feeling cold and scared. Like many of its rivals, Volvo has opted to fully electrify an existing model. And what model has a longer-term viability than a compact crossover?
Thanks to the increasing popularity of its two most affordable models, 2019 appears to be the year in which Volvo’s U.S. operations will appear firmly and solidly back on track.
For the first time since 2007, Volvo is set to sell more than 100,000 vehicles in the United States. At the current 6 percent growth rate, Volvo is on track for a 12-year high. 60 years since the Swedish brand landed in America, and nearly a decade since its U.S. ownership phase ended at the hands of Ford, the now Chinese-owned marque is on the ascent for very much the same reason it was when setting sales records in 2004.
A mix of popular utility vehicles and growth from its entry-level models.
I get it. No real enthusiast should like crossovers. They’re tall, handle poorly, slurp gas, and aren’t as space efficient as the cars upon which they’re based. They aren’t a true sport-utility vehicles, either, as their on road-focused designs can’t handle rough terrain.
I used to be like you. I’m a car lover, and always will be, but the market has spoken, and it seems that most new vehicles coming our way will be high-riding wagons of some sort. So it’s time to get on board.
The 2019 Volvo XC40 T4 might be the tipping point for me. It’s not perfect — few cars are — but it works so incredibly well for its mission, moving people and stuff in style. That it is reasonably priced and has truly excellent fuel economy are merely bonuses.
Electric, not electrified, as you can already find several Volvo models boasting a plug and a combination of gasoline and electric propulsion. The automaker best remembered for keeping the 240 in production with only minimal changes for two decades now wants to pin the technology pedal to the floor, setting a goal of having 50 percent of its customers drive away in fully electric vehicles by 2025.
Ambitious, to say the least. The first electric model would come along in 2019, the automaker stated earlier this year, while keeping the identity of the model under wraps. We now know it’s the XC40, which should comes as no shock to anyone.
Volvo, back from near death and feeling pretty pleased with itself, wants to capitalize on the modular platform found beneath the XC40 compact crossover. With 80,000 orders for the new-for-2018 ‘ute under its belt, the Chinese-owned Swede plans to spawn more models and reassert itself in the small car space.
On Thursday, the company said it would throttle up production of the XC40 at its Belgian assembly plant, which will soon boast quite a bit of usable space. The S60 sedan’s headed to South Carolina later this year. Meanwhile, the V60 wagon sibling will move most of its production to a Swedish plant.
What does this mean for the United States? Perhaps more than you’d expect.
When the majority of the buying public thinks of Volvo, three things generally come to mind: safety, boxy wagons, and professors in tweed sport coats with those weird elbow patches. This is understandable, given that the company made hay selling safe and boxy wagons to professors in tweed sport coats with weird elbow patches.
Volvo has long since de-weirded itself but still marches to a slightly different Swedish beat. It’s currently under the stewardship of a Chinese company that gives the brand enough leash to generally do its own thing. Starting at $35,200, the automaker’s least-expensive car, the XC40, should help bring new buyers to the brand. Let’s see how it stacks up in base form.
Volvo Cars is rolling out a subscription service that allows access to vehicles for a monthly fee. It’s a growing trend among luxury brands. Book by Cadillac is the first service to spring to mind but brands like Porsche and Ford have introduced regional pilot programs offering roughly the same thing. Volvo’s subscription service is not a trial run, however. It’s the full enchilada.
For $600 a month, Care by Volvo is offering access to its new XC40 — the new compact SUV that just started production in Belgium this month. Here’s how it works: Volvo customers choose a car online and make a monthly payment that covers insurance, service, and maintenance. The subscription last 24 months but, during that time, customers will be given the opportunity to change cars and sign up for a new 24-month subscription as early as a year into the existing agreement.
It’s an interesting alternative to leasing and a lot of outlets have praised the service for being so affordable, especially compared to Cadillac’s monthly subscription fee of $1,500. But the services aren’t directly comparable. Fist of all, General Motors allows customers to swap vehicles month to month. Secondly, those models are valeted to you and could have an MSRP in excess of $86,000.
What's the Volvo XC40 Getting Into? America's Subcompact Luxury Crossover Segment Is Tiny But Growing Fast
Of the 1.4 million new vehicles sold in the United States of America each month, premium auto brands account for slightly more than one out of every ten new vehicle acquisitions.
More than 55 percent of the vehicles now sold by premium auto brands in America are utility vehicles. Of the nearly 100,000 luxury SUVs/crossovers sold in America each month, 7 percent are subcompacts, vehicles positioned below the compact BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Audi Q5, and a variety others.
It’s a sliver of a slice of a chunk of a pie. But that sliver is growing far faster than the overall U.S. auto market, far faster than the U.S. luxury vehicle market, and far faster than the U.S. luxury SUV/crossover market.
Into that four-vehicle premium subcompact crossover segment now jumps the Volvo XC40, timed to roughly coincide with the arrival of the Jaguar E-Pace. It’s a segment that, to date, no automaker has yet found a way to dominate.
Volvo’s Compact Modular Architecture is turning out to be a little sexier than one might have imagined. With the arrival of the XC40 we were expecting something akin to a baby X90, but we ended up getting a better-looking Range Rover Evoque. It’s certainly reminiscent of its bigger brothers, yet possesses an individual sense of style that Volvo claims will make its way into other models using the CMA platform.
All of this style is likely to come at the expensive of rearward visibility. We haven’t sat behind the wheel of a XC40 but we can already tell you that bulky C-pillar is probably going to get in the way from time to time. That said, it looks so good that it’s difficult to truly fault it — especially when the small SUV is fitted with a black or white contrasting roof.
Offsetting the chic styling is a modest amount of plastic cladding along the bottom of the vehicle. This ought to provide some necessary protection for urban owners forced to park close to banged-up models with drivers less inclined to appreciate the XC40’s unibody beauty.
There’s no denying the Volvo 40.1 concept that previewed this fall’s production XC40 appears both to be sufficiently Volvo-like and sufficiently unlike anything else.
If the actual Volvo XC40 maintains this relatively unusual design, Volvo will have a viable, eye-catching alternative to the Audi Q3, BMW X1, Infiniti QX30, and Mercedes-Benz GLA before most luxury auto brands.
As for the Q3, X1, QX30, and GLA, Volvo isn’t entirely sold on their merits.
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- Jeff S E-Vettes are coming to your nearest Chevrolet dealership. I reserve judgement on this I will have to see these and see the pricing. So far Lyriq is about the only GM vehicle I have any interest in.
- Kukala J. Machus GM has an extensive history of bad decisions.....and it continues.
- FreedMike Assumption: GM is making this "brand" into a Porsche competitor, which I think is a great idea. The problem is how to fit a Porsche-esque dealer experience into a Chevy dealership. I don't see that happening - the hoity-toity types who buy Porsches aren't going to want to rub elbows with the brodozer and "get me bought on a Trax with my 530 score" crowd. The ideal situation would be a standalone store, or a Tesla-esque "boutique" store. I also could see this being an add to Cadillac stores. The problem is that I don't see the Chevy dealers who currently make money selling Corvettes giving up the business willingly.So, unless GM comes up with some kind of separate sales channel for this, I vote thumbs down on viability.
- Stuart de Baker Wyoming is the 9th largest state, but has the lowest population of any state, and so with ~580,000, it's the most sparsely populated state. Of course they're not interested in EVs. And the ranges do tank in the frigid Wyoming winters. Anyone who is in a one car family, and drives long distances with any frequency, is not going to be buying an EV at this point. I'm saying this as someone who thinks that global warming is the biggest, most urgent problem humanity faces right now, and I live in the Boston area. But I'm a one car person, I drive long distances multiple times a year, and I love my Civic (stick).