Volvo XC20 is back on the table as small premium SUVs trend [Update]

News of the Volvo XC20 has been making the rounds since 2017 when one Volvo officer remarked that if a smaller range is approved, it could make a 20 Series. The XC20 was back in the news in 2020, and this time it could be a reality with the help of an architecture developed by Geely.

In 2019, there were reports of a smaller SUV (below the XC40) in the works to mark the first model of the Volvo 20 series. While the XC90, XC60, and XC40 have proven quite successful, Volvo is now looking to introduce a B-segment SUV, focusing on global markets and electrification. The Germans rivals are building up no less than 6 new crossover-SUV models each by mid-decade; Volvo has 3, with sedans and station wagon styles that are not in vogue. It used to be active in the entry segment with the V40 Cross Country, a pseudo-SUV based on a Ford-developed platform, but the V40 Series was discontinued in 2019.

Volvo XC20 Recharge – A pure-electric crossover riding on the SEA

Geely’s Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA), unveiled in September, is a dedicated architecture for EVs that is aluminium-intensive and can support small and large vehicles, including SUVs, sedans, vans, and pickups. It has the capability for intelligent car technologies like connectivity and autonomous driving.

Mid-decade Volvo Electric car portfolio likely showing Volvo XC20
Volvo plans to offer 7 electric cars (BEVs) by around 2025, and the smallest member (represented by the car in the middle of the second row) would be the Volvo XC20/Volvo C20. Image: Volvo Cars

SEA is designed to use a battery with a targeted lifespan of 2 million km manufactured by Chinese maker CATL. From the Zeekr 001 announced last month, we get what the SEA platform is capable of delivering. The Zeekr 001, the first model riding on this platform targeted at the mass market, boasts two motors with 400 kW and 768 Nm output, a 3.8-second 0-100 km/h top speed, and a 200+ km/h top speed. There’s no word on the battery pack’s energy storage capacity, but the operating voltage and range are expected to be 800V and up to over 700 km (NEDC), respectively. SEA allows 120 km (NEDC) of range in under 5 minutes of charging.

Range

The Volvo XC20 Recharge, though, could be conservative at it targets city car users who travel shorter distances at low average speeds. The XC20 may settle for more cost- and efficiency-focused motors and a smaller battery pack that gives a range of around 250 km (WLTP). It will leave the competition with sleepless nights if Volvo can guarantee 200,000 km of degradation-free operation and a design life of 2 million km. That would sound reassuring to customers, especially those upgrading from the Hyundai Kona Electric or Hyundai Ioniq electric models that made headlines for battery issues.

Design & Interior

Nothing has been reported on its design, but expect to see a streamlined body that is highly aerodynamic and a spacious interior (for the standards of an urban car) thanks to a flat floor and efficient packaging courtesy of Geely’s skateboard architecture. Volvo will approach L4 autonomous driving with the larger SPA2 platform models starting with the 2022 Volvo XC90, but it remains to be seen what the automated driving strategy is for smaller cars like the XC20.

Geely SEA platform
Volvo will capitalize Geely’s SEA vehicle architecture to introduce the XC20 that would be a crossover designed for the urban grind. The city hopper could fill the shoes of the V40 Cross Country. Image: Zhejiang Geely Holding Group

SUVs dominate Volvo’s global car sales

Volvo’s CEO Hakan Samuelsson told Automotive News Europe that 75 percent of Volvo sales would be derived from SUVs. In 2020, Volvo SUVs took more than 70 percent of the pie. He conceded that the right cost structure could be struck only through a platform partnership and that the brand sees a trend emerging towards small premium SUVs.

The Volvo XC20 would first help Volvo’s goal of generating 50 percent of its global sales from fully electric cars by 2025, and no doubt this would be great for conquest sales. By 2030, the company aims to make its entire line-up fully electric.

Volvo XC20 FAQs

What is the Volvo XC20 release date?

Volvo hasn’t confirmed, but it could release the XC20 EV during 2024.

What will be the Volvo XC20 price?

The all-electric Volvo XC20 Recharge could cost around $40,000 onwards in the USA and around €35,000 onwards in Europe.

What are the potential competitors of the XC20?

Upcoming compact electric crossovers from MINI, Smart & the smaller VW ID cars could challenge the Volvo XC20.

Featured Image: Łukasz Myszyński’s Volvo XC-X concept via Behance