Earlier this week, we reported that Volvo had teased the next V40 on Facebook ahead of its Geneva Auto Show unveil. Of course, you may also notice that Volvo does not sell the wagon/hatch in America. Why then would we bother reporting that images of the V40 leaked online this morning?
Because the Volvo V40 absolutely should be sold in America. What’s not to like about an attractive, versatile, fuel-efficient hatchback from a premium automaker? Audi has been doing it for years with the A3—successfully, too—and it’s not hard to see the V40 as a mature alternative to the Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf and Subaru Impreza 5-door.
Late last year, before the Los Angeles Auto Show, we had a chance to visit Volvo’s Los Angeles design studio and talk shop with President and CEO, Stefan Jacoby. There, we learned that Volvo would shift to an exclusive four-cylinder lineup using turbochargers and electrification to meet Americans’ thirst for power. In addition, Jacoby pretty much ruled out the wagon as a design shape for the US market. And later, prior to the Detroit Auto Show, Jacoby again rebuffed the possibility of the V60 Diesel Plug-In Hybrid wagon for America, despite being a sporty, powerful wagon with a range of over 600 miles.
Why the wagon/hatch hate, especially with wagon/hatch variants already coming to America, such as the Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Elantra GT, Toyota Prius c, and maybe a Kia Cee’d/Kia Forte hatchback, and Chevy Cruze. This is in addition to the aforementioned Focus, Impreza, Golf, and A3, leaving the A3 as the unchallenged king to the premium hatch throne.
Rant aside, details have not yet been released, but speculation centers on 1.4- and 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engines, probably aided by a turbocharger and tuned for fuel economy. We’ll know more for certain when Geneva rolls around.