Update: You can now read our first review of the 2019 Volvo XC40

With Fashion Week in Milan as its backdrop, Volvo took the wraps off its own latest creation: the 2019 XC40. 

Slotting beneath the XC60 and flagship XC90, the Volvo XC40 represents the smallest and least-expensive crossover SUV in the Swedish automaker's lineup. And like a must-have accessory, it comes at the right time as the small SUV segment continues to flourish. As such, the 2019 Volvo XC40 will compete with rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz GLA, Audi Q3, Infiniti QX30 and BMW X1.

Standing apart

The XC40 differentiates itself from those rivals and even its Volvo kin with a look all its own. Among the first things revealed when Volvo pulled the wraps off the new SUV is its blocky shape. Where its rivals and the XC60 and XC90 are more rounded, the XC40 has a distinctly rugged appearance.

In fact, in talking about the creation and inspiration behind the XC40, Volvo designer Ian Kettle said it's more "a cousin to the XC90 vs. a brother." His inspiration, meanwhile, came from some unlikely places, including sci-fi films. "It's a tough little robot," Kettle said. Described as "more playful" by Senior Vice President of Design Robin Page, the XC40 also appeals to younger buyers stepping into the premium segment.

Under the tough yet elegant skin, the XC40 is the first Volvo to use the new CMA platform, which will be shared with other small vehicles in the works.

A useful, tech-rich cabin

Inside, Volvo's designers prioritized maximizing space and usefulness. They went as far as moving the speakers from a usual place -- the lower front door panels -- to higher up in the cabin. That, in turn, creates room for American-sized drinks or digital devices.

Also: Get your first look at the new and redesigned cars of 2018

Speaking of the latter, the Volvo is ready for wireless recharging of phones, and uses a sleek, vertical touch-screen display like those found on other new Volvos. Other tech amenities include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and embedded LTE connectivity for a range of services, from a concierge to car sharing via an app.

Under the hood

Upon debut, the 2019 XC40 will use Volvo's T5 turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, mated to an all-wheel-drive system. The engine, already used in other models, is expected to make roughly 250 horsepower. After launch, a T4 model will be available. That version will also use a turbo-4, but it will make less power and be front-drive only, Volvo reps told us after the unveiling. Both will be connected to an 8-speed automatic transmission.

Of course, with Volvo already announcing an electrified future, that will come to the XC40 as well, but powertrain details are still to come.

Sale date, pricing and more

The XC40 is set to go on sale next spring as a 2019 model. It will debut in two T5 trims: Momentum versions will start at $35,200, while the uplevel R-Design will start at $37,700. Both of those figures are before the $995 destination charge. Arriving later, the T4 XC40 will begin at $33,200, plus destination. We also wouldn't be surprised to see an even higher-level Inscription model at some point.

In addition to a leather interior, this compact luxury crossover SUV will come with Volvo's impressive safety features, including the City Safety automatic emergency braking system with pedestrian and large-animal detection.

We'll have more details on this new Volvo as it gets closer to launch next year, but for now, it looks impressive on its runway debut in Italy.

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