Volvo’s first-ever three-cylinder petrol engine is set to debut in the recently launched XC40 premium compact SUV.

The 1.5-litre motor, which wears the T3 nameplate, will slot in at the bottom of the XC40 range, bearing a price tag of £27,610.

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As the latest in the Swedish manufacturer’s line of efficient Drive-E engines, the 156 bhp powerplant with 195 lb-ft of torque will be mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, allowing fuel economy of 45.6 mpg and CO2 emissions of 144 g/km.

That’s despite a 0-62 mph time of 9.4 seconds and a maximum towing weight of 1.6 tonnes.

The new T3 engine will be joined by two proven 2-litre, four-cylinder units – the T4 petrol and D3 diesel, the latter being offered with four-wheel drive.

2018 Volvo XC40

Jon Wakefield, managing director of Volvo Car UK, said: “The XC40 is the ideal recipient of the new T3 engine, a unit that demonstrates Volvo's commitment to innovative engineering and technology that prioritises compact packaging without compromising performance and efficiency. Together with the other powertrain additions to the line-up, it gives us a comprehensive model range that will help the XC40 achieve its full market potential.”

As well as adding new engines to the line-up, the XC40 is now available in all three of Volvo’s trim levels: Momentum, R-Design and Inscription – each of which can be upgraded to ‘Pro’ specification.

2018 Volvo XC40

Momentum models come with a nine-inch touchscreen, satellite navigation and two-zone climate control, as well as 18-inch alloy wheels and rear parking sensors, while the R-Design variants add sporty styling tweaks and “more dynamic” suspension settings to the mix.

The range-topping Inscription versions, though, come with wood cabin trim, leather upholstery and a powered tailgate.

Upgrading each variant to ‘Pro’ specification improves this further with the addition of heated seats, a heated windscreen and larger alloy wheels, as well as cornering headlights.

Gallery: 2018 Volvo XC40