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Volvo’s pocket-sized XC40 crossover will launch in 2017 with a hybrid drivetrain

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Sweden’s Volvo is preparing to enter the highly competitive small crossover segment with a brand new model dubbed XC40.

Positioned right below the XC60, the first-ever XC40 will ride on a new platform called Common Modular Architecture (CMA) that’s being designed jointly by Volvo and China-based parent company Geely. The CMA platform will also underpin the replacements for the V40 and the S40, as well as a handful of Geely models that will primarily be distributed in China.

The XC40 will borrow a handful of styling cues such as a concave grille with vertical slats from the bigger XC90 and the recently introduced S90, but Thomas Ingenlath, the senior vice president of Volvo’s design department, told Digital Trends that the 40-series cars will be characterized by a specific design language. In other words, don’t expect the XC40 to look like a XC90 that shrunk in the wash.

British magazine Autocar reports the XC40 will look more like a rugged SUV than a sleek crossover like the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class. It will launch as a conventional four-door model, and Volvo isn’t currently planning on expanding the lineup with off-shoots such as a two-door model, a crossover-coupe shaped like the BMW X6, and so forth. Company executives have made it crystal clear that they prefer to focus on mainstream models for the time being.

In the United States, the base 40-series cars will ship with a brand new 1.5-liter, turbocharged three-cylinder engine that Volvo will unveil shortly. Buyers after more power, better fuel economy, or both will be asked to step up to a plug-in hybrid drivetrain made up of the aforementioned three-banger and a small electric motor. Cars equipped with the plug-in setup will be capable of driving on electricity alone for short distances.

Related: Volvo talks to Digital Trends about self-driving cars, EVs, and a new coupe

Built in Ghent, Belgium, the Volvo XC40 will be introduced in 2017, and it will go on sale in time for the 2018 model year. The S40 and the V40 will launch shortly after, though they might not touch down on our shores until the 2019 model year. When they arrive, Volvo will have renewed its entire lineup and the XC90 that was presented last year will be the oldest model in the company’s showrooms.