Production of the new Volvo XC40 – Volvo’s new smaller SUV – will start today at Volvo’s Plant in Ghent, with deliveries starting early 2018.
The new XC40, and its production in Ghent, is a big deal for Volvo, so the great and good will be out in force to welcome the first car off the line, including the Belgium PM, Charles Michel, Volvo CEO, Håkan Samuelsson, and Volvo’s Manufacturing Senior VP Javier Varela.
But it’s the car which will be the star, and a lot is resting on how well the XC40 performs in the market, although 13,000 orders already in the bag is a pretty good start.
With funky new looks which are aimed to appeal to a younger demographic, the XC40 is going up against cars like the new Jaguar E-Pace, Audi Q3 and BMW X1 for the hearts and minds of buyers in the premium compact SUV market.
That’s quite a tall order, but if Volvo has done with the XC40 what it has managed with the more conservative XC60 and XC90, it will probably be the pick of the premium small SUVs.
That means good looks, a great interior and a balance of abilities which makes it perfectly judged for its market.
Like the XC60 and XC90, we expect the XC40 to deliver a ride and dynamics which offer the best combination of comfort and appeal. No, it won’t be as dynamic as perhaps the Germans (and Jaguar), but it will be a more pleasing and comfortable place to be.
Come the New Year, we’ll find out just how good the XC40 is in the real world, with either the D4 AWD diesel or T5 AWD petrol – the two options of the XC40 arriving in the UK first – in Momentum, R-Design & Inscription specs.