To achieve future fuel economy goals, Volvo will begin producing downsized three-cylinder engines later this decade.
A group of 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engines will arrive on the S60 sedan, V60 wagon, and mid-level XC SUVs, Volvo confirmed to Autocar. Expect to see a gas version first before possible diesel and hybrid variants.
The new engines will complement a line of 2.0-liter four-cylinders the company committed to back in 2011. Dubbing the fuel-efficient lineup as Drive-E, the new engines replaced all of Volvo's aging five- and six-cylinder engines, providing better fuel economy and reducing carbon emissions. Volvo is in the process of rolling out several gas, diesel, and hybrid variants, and it is only after all the four-cylinders have rolled out that Volvo will start bringing in the even-smaller Drive-E engines.
Volvo joins Ford, General Motors, and BMW in offering efficient three-cylinder engines on select models. But according to Volvo global powertrain chief Derek Crabb, the automaker's three-cylinder lineup won't be as extensive as its list of four-bangers.
“I see it being possible in S60 but not higher,” Crabb told Autocar. “It’s not planned for the higher XC cars at the moment. It’s not the power. It’s more to do with the torque.”
By next decade, three-cylinders won't be Volvo's only weapon for meeting future fuel economy goals. The new engines will provide the "building blocks" to more fuel-efficient electrified powertrains that should become commercially viable by 2025.