Entry-level SUVs on the way from Volvo and Polestar

7 December 2021 - autocar

Entry-level SUVs on the way from Volvo and Polestar

Small SUVs will rival the Mercedes-Benz EQA

After the launch of the XC90 successor and the 3, Volvo and Polestar will each turn their attention to introducing new entry-level electric SUVs in the coming years.

Volvo is understood to be working on a premium-oriented compact crossover in the vein of the Mercedes-Benz EQA and DS 3 Crossback E-Tense. The model will play a key role in the brand’s ambition for EVs to account for 50% of its global sales by 2025. Previously tipped to take either the XC20 or C20 moniker into production, it has now been confirmed to follow the XC90 replacement in adopting a new name and, like that car, will sit high off the ground but feature a streamlined silhouette to maximise efficiency. 

It will be the first Volvo model to sit on Geely’s new ‘open-source’ SEA platform, as first used for the new 001 shooting brake from nascent Chinese premium brand Zeekr (above). That car, which is set to be offered globally from next year, comes with either an 86kWh or 100kWh battery for a maximum range of 435 miles, hinting at the long-range potential of any platform-sharing Volvo model.

Notably, Zeekr claims it can charge at speeds of up to 360kW, which allows for 75 miles of range to be added in just five minutes. However, the 001’s 536bhp twin-motor drivetrain is likely to remain the preserve of performance-focused models. 

Other headline features of the SEA architecture include its automatically lowering suspension, facial recognition functionality and ‘full-life’ over-the-air update compatibility. 

Polestar’s second SUV, due in 2023, will sit between the 2 and 3 in terms of size and feature similarly rakish proportions to the flagship model but it will be positioned as a more mass-market proposition. It will sit lower to the ground than the 3 and even has a more heavily curved roofline, but Polestar boss Thomas Ingenlath said it will not “compromise much” on interior space. 

Its size and positioning (Polestar has hinted at a price of around £41,000) suggest it will be closely related to Volvo’s existing C40 Recharge and, as such, could use the same CMA architecture as that car and its 2 stablemate. This would mean the option of front and all-wheel drive, and a choice of either 64kWh or 78kWh batteries.

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