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Volvo introduces its first 3-cylinder engine in XC40

XC40 T3 will not come to North America, but hybrid with same engine will

Joe Duarte
Published: August 22, 2018, 2:30 AM
Updated: August 27, 2018, 4:48 AM

Volvo 3-cylinder engine

Volvo has introduced its first 3-cylinder engine, available in the compact XC40 sport utility vehicle the company introduced this past spring. And though we won’t see the engine in the T3 that’s being introduced to Europe, we will likely see it in a hybrid that’s due in the near future.

Volvo 3-cylinder engine

Volvo says the new 156-hp 1.5-litre turbocharged 3-cylinder engine (generating 195 lb-ft of torque between 1850 and 3850 rpm) is ideally suited for the XC40’s role as an urban runabout, yet apparently that doesn’t include North American cities. It’s mated to a 6-speed manual transmission, with an 8-speed automatic option a later addition, which is perhaps the main reason the engine won’t be offered in North America.

It’s a shame, really, since its tow rating of 1600 kg (with trailer brakes) would make it ideal for weekend getaways to cottage country, and despite its diminutive size, it can still pull the XC40 to 100 km/h in an acceptable 9.4 seconds. Yet it delivers fuel economy in the 7.1-7.7 l/100 km range.

Volvo XC40

However, Volvo has stated that the 3-cylinder engine is ready-made to fit into a hybrid powertrain, in accordance with Volvo’s plan to produce only electrified vehicles. The XC40 is due to welcome a hybrid into the lineup within the next couple years, and that vehicle will make it to North America, so we will yet see the 1.5L “three.”

“The XC40 is the ideal recipient of the new T3 engine, a unit that demonstrates Volvo’s commitment to innovative engineering and technology that prioritises compact packaging without compromising performance and efficiency,” said Jon Wakefield, Managing Director of Volvo Cars UK. “Together with the other powertrain additions to the line-up, it gives us a comprehensive model range that will help the XC40 achieve its full market potential.”