History has been made earlier this February. Car engines have been shrinking for quite some time already. Big V8‘s, V10‘s and V12‘s are disappearing. Instead of them we are getting turbocharged four cylinder engines. However, Volvo is going further than that – it recently introduce its first three-cylinder engine in the company’s 91-year history.
It is important to note that this is not the first three cylinder engine in the automotive industry. In fact, there has been a wide range of these small eco-engines in many different cars from many different manufacturers. Three cylinder engines are just gaining popularity because of their economic and environmental credentials. However, Volvo did not have a three cylinder engine in its range – this 1.5 litre direct-injection petrol engine is the first one. It was developed on the same architecture as a four cylinder Drive E engine and will be fitted with a manual gearbox at first with automatic option to follow next year.
Interestingly, Volvo chose XC40 for the debut of the engine. While this compact SUV is not big, it is not a tiny city car either. However, this step does show that the three cylinder engine is relatively powerful. Furthermore, it is designed to work in Twin Engine plug-in hybrid cars. A hybrid and then fully electric XC40 variants are going to be introduced soon. Alexander Petrofski, senior director cluster 40 at Volvo Cars, said: “Our new three-cylinder engine is an exciting development for the XC40 and for Volvo Cars in general. This compact engine design provides the flexibility we need as we introduce more powertrain options for XC40 customers”.
Other powertrain options for the XC40 have been introduced as well – D3 150hp diesel and T4 190hp petrol engines were added to the range. XC40 is a new model and thus its options’ list is still growing. XC40 can be bought in three trim levels – Momentum, R-Design and the luxurious new Inscription. Buyers can personalize their cars with 18”, 19”, 20” or even 21” rims, unique skidplates, side window and grill mesh chrome, integrated dual tailpipes and many other options. All in all XC40 seeks to be a youthful car that would never be called boring.
Small SUV’s are very popular nowadays. No one cares about their ability to go off-road – they are simple city cars on higher suspension. And in this mentality three cylinder engine fits the car, especially if it is significantly more economical than bigger options.