Volvo’s new small models previewed [w/ poll]

Volvo Concept 40.2

Today Volvo unveiled two new concept cars that are, as US vice-president Joe Biden would put it, a “big f’ing deal” for the carmaker. Called the Concept 40.1 and Concept 40.2, the cars preview not only a new range of Volvo small cars, including its first compact crossover, but also a new platform that’s the result of collaboration with Chinese owner Geely.

Volvo Concept 40.1

From the outside, the cars give a preview of what the incoming small family of Volvos will look like. Their look suggests that the new production models, likely to be called the ’40’ family (so, expect an S40/V40, and an XC40 crossover), will take the new confident look established by the recent ’90’ family and inject it with a bit more youthful edginess. Think more along the lines of what Lexus does with the IS/RC line, rather than the ultra-conservative approach taken by Jaguar with the XE, or the “same-sausage, different lengths” approach taken by the German competition. Personally, I think the concepts succeed in that they’re both nicely edgy but still instantly recognizable as Volvos, although some angles are less successful than others (Concept 40.1 seems a bit high-riding for a mainstream model, a bit like the S60 Cross Country, while the rear door with the hidden doorhandles and the contrasting roof of Concept 40.2 make it look like it’s trying a bit too hard to be hip).

CMA platform, FWD plug-in configuration

The technology side of the models is at least as interesting as what they look like. The new modular CMA platform is designed to support many different mechanical/propulsion arrangements, including:

  • Front- or all-wheel drive, internal combustion engine
  • Front-wheel drive, plug-in hybrid
  • Front-wheel drive, electric engine

What’s more, the new platform will be shared with Geely models, making it the first clear synergy between the Chinese carmaker and Volvo. It’s an arrangement that works well for Audi, whose A3 and TT are based on the MQB matrix that underpins many models from Skoda, VW and Seat, but still hinders Acura, whose ILX is viewed as little more than a fancy Civic. Will it hurt Volvo? I think not, especially if the Swedes ensure the mechanicals are as well-resolved as the SPA platform that underpins the ’90’ family, and is set to go under the new ’60’ family.

So, what do you think? Answer the poll below, and leave us a comment!

Will Volvo's new '40' family succeed based on the evidence provided by the two concept cars?

  • Absolutely - both models look like winners! (68%, 38 Votes)
  • Partially - the XC40 will be a hit, like other Volvo crossovers, but the S40/V40 won't set the market alight (16%, 9 Votes)
  • Possibly - depends on whether they feel like "true Volvos" (11%, 6 Votes)
  • No - image and quality will be compromised by platform-sharing with Geely (5%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 56

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About Krzysztof Wozniak

Kriss grew up in Poland reading German car magazines, before moving to England and graduating to the British magazines, which he still considers the best in the world and continues reading them after he’d moved to the US. In college he promised himself he’s buy himself a used Porsche before he turned 30 (not to be accused of having a mid-life crisis), but instead family needs dictated a Subaru Outback. Still waiting for that perfect moment to buy a used 2008-ish Cayman…
You can find all his articles Here.

Comments

  1. I like em! It’s like a mini range rover.

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