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The Volvo XC40 made its official North American debut at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show as a surprisingly competent overall package that is bound to make all of its competitors a bit nervous.
The XC40’s senior exterior designer, Ian Kettle, is proud of how different it looks. He is proud of the design because the first iteration of the design managed to get approved instantly with no resistance from upper management, which is usually not the norm for early prototypes. “The XC40 was intended to stylistically differ from both the XC60 and XC90 as a deliberate attempt to avoid leaving the XC40 without its own character despite borrowing some design elements from both vehicles,” Kettle said during the L.A. Auto Show.
The XC40 is Volvo’s first car to ride on its Compact Modular Architecture platform and the XC40 has styling elements that are unique to this particular model. Details such as the clamshell hood, available two-tone body and roof combinations and a slightly wider rear end (by 25 mm) separate it from the other vehicles in Volvo’s crossover lineup.
Coming right out of the gate, Volvo is both pricing and equipping this vehicle competitively. The base model T5 starts at $35,000 in the U.S. and equipped as standard are leather seats, LED headlights and running lights, automatic climate control, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, power driver’s seat, and stylish interior aluminum trim.
A 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo with 247 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque is the sole source of momentum for this car and an eight-speed automatic transmission is the only one also offered for this engine. AWD will be standard across all trim levels.
According to Hakan Samuelsson, Volvo President and CEO, a focus on maximizing interior storage space guided the development of this car in the early stages and it led to atypical decisions such as repositioning the front speakers from the usual front door location to a special compartment right behind the dashboard of the vehicle. Not only has the speaker location changed, but how they function is also new.
This unique piece of technology dubbed “fresh air speakers” uses fresh air from the engine bay to augment sound distribution from those same speakers behind the dashboard to provide a full-sounding music listening experience comparable to a vehicle with speakers located on all four doors.
Keeping in line with making this vehicle unique and standing out from the rest of the Volvo model range, Volvo is offering a myriad of purchasing options for the XC40. In addition to being able to purchase or lease this vehicle, a subscription program called Care By Volvo is being introduced with the XC40.
This 24-month program enables you to own an XC40 without having to worry about insurance, service fees, taxes, and maintenance for $600 a month, as they’re all included in that flat monthly fee. Also included and a first for Volvo is a standard sharing feature enabling XC40 owners to share their car with family and friends easily with the aid of a new digital key technology.
Care by Volvo will launch nationwide in the U.S. and in seven countries in Europe, initially. Plans to launch the program in Canada are currently being assessed according to Volvo’s marketing department.
Sales in North America are expected to start in the spring of 2018.
A version of this article first appeared on AutoGuide