Volvo XC40 adds 3-cylinder engine, fancy Inscription trim

You want a crystal gear lever in your compact crossover? You got it.

Steven Ewing Former managing editor
Steven Ewing spent his childhood reading car magazines, making his career as an automotive journalist an absolute dream job. After getting his foot in the door at Automobile while he was still a teenager, Ewing found homes on the mastheads at Winding Road magazine, Autoblog and Motor1.com before joining the CNET team in 2018. He has also served on the World Car Awards jury. Ewing grew up ingrained in the car culture of Detroit -- the Motor City -- before eventually moving to Los Angeles. In his free time, Ewing loves to cook, binge trash TV and play the drums.
Steven Ewing
2 min read

For , the new XC40 crossover is a really big deal. It's the first car to ride on the company's Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform, it competes in the red-hot small/premium crossover class and it's the first vehicle to be sold via the Care by Volvo vehicle subscription service. And that's not all.

On Monday, Volvo introduces its very first three-cylinder engine, and the first vehicle to use this potent little powerplant is the XC40. Furthermore, this 1.5-liter inline-three engine has been specifically designed to integrate with Volvo's Twin Engine technology, meaning a plug-in hybrid XC40 is on the way. A fully electric XC40 is in the cards, too.

Now, don't get too excited. While the three-cylinder engine is a big deal for both Volvo and the XC40, it'll only be offered in Europe and other global markets. When specifically asked if the US-spec XC40 would get the new engine, a Volvo spokesperson simply responded, "Negative." Bummer.

2019 Volvo XC40 Inscription

My, what big wheels you have. The subtle Inscription tweaks look great on the compact XC40.


What we do get, however, is a fancy new Inscription trim, slotting above the XC40's Momentum and R-Design models. You'll be able to spot an Inscription model thanks to its unique wheels, tasteful chrome mesh in the grille and model-specific body colors. Inside, the XC40 Inscription gets driftwood inlays and a crystal gear lever.

Pricing and availability of the XC40 Inscription will be announced at a later date.

For now, the XC40 will hit US showrooms in a couple of months, starting at $33,200 for the T4 Momentum and going up to $37,700 for the T5 R-Design. You can also ditch the traditional car-buying model and sign up for a 12- or 24-month subscription via Care by Volvo, which lumps the cost of the vehicle, scheduled maintenance and even insurance into a neat $600 (or $700 if you want the T5 R-Design) monthly payment.

2019 Volvo XC40 gets the top-level Inscription treatment

See all photos