Volvo pioneered the idea of the soft-roader – SUVs that aren’t really built to go off-road – with its XC range of cars. But despite this, its range of tall, SUV-like cars has remained steadfastly small with just two options available.

Perhaps realising that other brands are cleaning up by offering customers tall, 4×4-looking motors in every shape and size, Volvo’s looking to plug the gap in its range with a new baby SUV designed to take the fight to the likes of the Audi Q3.

Welcome, everyone, to the new Volvo XC40.

Design-wise, there’s more than a whiff of the new Volkswagen Tiguan about the XC40, but we think you’ll agree with us that this is no bad thing. It’s a very smart-looking thing, particularly in white with a black roof. That’s pure Range Rover.

Dimension-wise, it’s actually smaller than the aforementioned Tiguan. Think along the lines of the Audi Q3 and you’d be about right.

As is the case with all modern Volvo’s the interior looks beautifully appointed. There’s a distinct lack of clutter, with most of the car’s functions contained in a big touch display on the centre console. With this layout, Volvo claims to be offering the tech from its more expensive 60 series and 90 series cars in a much smaller package.

In terms of that tech, you can get pretty much everything you’d expect from a more expensive Volvo – particularly on the safety front. Safety and driver assistance features on the XC40 include Volvo Cars’ Pilot Assist system, City Safety, Run-off Road protection and mitigation, Cross Traffic alert with brake support and a 360-degree camera.

Engine-wise, at launch you’re looking at a T5 2.0-litre four-cylinder. That engine is nothing new – it offers 244 bhp and is mated to an 8-speed automatic gearbox, and it should make the XC40 pretty brisk. Further down the line, there’ll be less powerful versions, as well as a hybrid.

What’s also worth noting is that the XC40 is the beginning of a new series of cars for Volvo. It wants to break its offerings up into three groups – the 90 series, the 60 series and the 40 series, all of which will have three cars in them.

The 90 series is all ready to go – you’ve got the choice of either the S90 sedan, the V90 estate, or the XC90 SUV. These are the big flagship models. In the mid-range, we’ll get the S60, V60 and XC60. And the XC40 signals the beginning of the new 40 series, which will be built on a new architecture. This is good news, because it suggests there’ll be a new V40, one of our favourite hot hatchbacks available.

Anyway, the new XC40 will be available in the Middle East from January 2018. What do you think, Internet? Check out more pics of the new car below and let us know if you like the look of it.

New Volvo XC40 – interior