We knew it was coming and now it’s here. Meet the first-ever three-cylinder engine made by Volvo, a company once famous for its lovely five-cylinder motors, in its entire 91-year history. The new Drive-E powertrain is joining the engine lineup of the brand’s first entry into the compact SUV class, the cute XC40.
Developed in-house, the new unit is based on the modular four-cylinder Drive-E engines and will be mated to either a six-speed manual gearbox or an optional eight-speed automatic. It will be assembled at the same production lines as Volvo’s four-cylinder diesel and gasoline engines.
The Swedish company owned by Geely is not revealing any power and performance numbers, but is saying the new 1.5-liter engine will be used in a future plug-in hybrid powertrain for the XC40. Also confirmed is a purely electric variant of the small SUV.
“Our new three-cylinder engine is an exciting development for the XC40 and for Volvo Cars in general,” Alexander Petrofski, senior director series 40 at Volvo, comments. “This compact engine design provides the flexibility we need as we introduce more powertrain options for XC40 customers.”
Speaking of the XC40, the latest model from Volvo is also receiving a 150-horsepower (112-kilowatt) diesel and a 190-hp (142-kW) gasoline options, depending on the market. Customers will also be able to choose from more trim levels, as well as additional equipment.
The range-topping Inscription model offers 18-, 19-, or 20-inch wheels, unique skidplates, side window and grill mesh chrome, and model-specific car colors. Inside the cabin, the XC40 gets newly designed crystal gear knob and Driftwood decorations, features we’ve already seen in the XC90 and XC60 SUVs.
The new XC40 is already on the production line at the company’s plant in Belgium. The model is also available to order in the United States wearing a starting price of $35,200 (not including the $995 destination fee) for the Momentum trim.
“The new XC40 is a youthful car that suits drivers with a strong sense of individuality,” Petrofski adds. “We want our customers to be able to make a statement their way – subtle or otherwise – and so we want to offer them more choices, both in performance and styling.”
Gallery: Volvo XC40 with 1.5-liter engine
Volvo Cars, the premium carmaker, today launched its new three-cylinder Drive-E powertrain in the XC40, the company’s first entry into the compact SUV segment. The new powertrain is the first three-cylinder engine in the company’s 91-year history.
The all-new 1.5 litre, three-cylinder, direct-injection petrol engine was developed in-house using the same modular design as Volvo’s four-cylinder Drive-E engines. The three-cylinder powertrain comes with a six-speed transmission. An optional eight-speed transmission will follow next year.
In line with Volvo Cars’ strategy to continue improving economies of scale, the engine will roll off the same production lines as the company’s four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines.
“Our new three-cylinder engine is an exciting development for the XC40 and for Volvo Cars in general,” said Alexander Petrofski, senior director cluster 40 at Volvo Cars. “This compact engine design provides the flexibility we need as we introduce more powertrain options for XC40 customers.”
Volvo’s current D3 150hp diesel and T4 190hp petrol engines are also added to broaden the XC40 engine offer.
Furthermore, the new three-cylinder powertrain has been deliberately designed for integration into Twin Engine plug-in hybrid cars. A hybridised as well as a pure electric powertrain option for the XC40 will be added later.
XC40 customers now also have more choice in trim levels, including base, the launch variants Momentum and R-Design, plus the luxurious new Inscription level.
The Inscription trim offers exterior styling choices with 18”, 19” or 20” rims, unique skidplates, side window and grill mesh chrome, plus model-specific car colours. Inside, Inscription adds a newly designed crystal gear knob and the attractive Driftwood deco, which Volvo first introduced in its award-winning XC60 mid-size SUV.
XC40 customers can further express themselves with accessories like the 21” Black Diamond Cut alloy wheels, and the new accessory styling kit that offers brushed stainless steel skidplates and integrated dual tailpipes.
“The new XC40 is a youthful car that suits drivers with a strong sense of individuality,” said Alexander Petrofski. “We want our customers to be able to make a statement their way – subtle or otherwise – and so we want to offer them more choices, both in performance and styling.”