Three-cylinder power now an option for South African Volvo XC40 SUVs.

From near bankruptcy under Ford ownership a few years ago, Volvo’s become the choice alternative to German car brands since its recapitalisation by China’s Geely. The brand’s revitalisation has been spearheaded by its XC range of SUVs and now the smallest of these, XC40, is available at a more affordable price point.

Lowering the retail price of XC40 to below half a million Rand is the introduction of Volvo’s 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine. The unusually large triple is turbocharged and boosts 115kW, with a six-speed manual transmission transferring 265Nm to the front wheels. Volvo claims it will run the benchmark 0-100kp sprint in touch under ten seconds (9.4 sec) and return 6.2-litre per 100kms in an average driving cycle.

The new engine is denoted by its T3 badging on XC40’s exterior and will be available in all three Volvo specification grades: Momentum, Inscription and R-Design. Illustrating how much more accessible the XC40 becomes with its smaller engine, is the fact the cheapest T3 derivative is R112 500 cheaper than the most affordable 2-litre four-cylinder version, a diesel.

Volvo’s four-cylinder XC40 SUVs are all-wheel drive, which does account for some of the difference in price, but for most South African market customers, who desire the style and brilliant Scandinavian inspired cabin design, a front-wheel-drive XC40 is more than enough.

Those Volvo fans who are now considering one of the less expensive XC40 T3s and live in the trafficked intensity of Johannesburg or Cape Town should be cognisant of that fact that these new three-cylinder derivatives come with manual gearboxes only. And a manual transmission could be a chore in bumper-to-bumper congestion.

For potential T3 small SUV customers who are prepared to delay their purchase by a few more months, there are eight-speed automatic gearbox options on the horizon, which will complete the XC40s portfolio rollout in South Africa when they arrive.

Pricing Volvo XC40:

T3 Momentum (manual): R486 500

T3 lnscription (manual): R518 200

T3 R-Design (manual): R525 300

D4 Geartronic AWD Momentum: R599 000

T5 Geartronic AWD Momentum: R605 300

D4 Geartronic AWD Inscription: R630 700

T5 Geartronic AWD Inscription: R637 000

D4 Geartronic AWD R-Design: R637 800

T5 Geartronic AWD R-Design: R644 100

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