Volvo Philippines has just completed its XC lineup with the arrival of the XC40, their smallest crossover. The new addition to the Scandinavian marque's growing lineup was unveiled at the Sunset Bar of the Sofitel Philippine Plaza to special guests and members of the media. Present at the event were Atty. Albert B. Arcilla, Volvo Philippines president and CEO, and Miss Anette E. Andersson, Volvo Cars APEC Region, market area director.

"The new model will bring a new standard of safety and user experience to the small SUV premium segment," says Volvo in its press statement.

Is PhP 3.35M starting price too much for 2019 Volvo XC40

As expected, it comes with a whole suite of safety features from the familiar City Safety full auto brake systems, to additions like the, 360° Camera, to Cross Traffic Alert with auto brake, and Run Off Road protection; a system automatically tightens passenger restraints if it detects the vehicle leaving the roadway, such as falling off the shoulder or elevated highway.

Is PhP 3.35M starting price too much for 2019 Volvo XC40

The XC40 is the first to be built upon Volvo's Compact Modular Architecture platform gleamed from lessons learned from developing its Scalable Product Architecture platform used by the XC60 and XC90. The new model measures 4.425 meters long, putting it in direct competition with the likes of the BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA and Audi Q3.

Is PhP 3.35M starting price too much for 2019 Volvo XC40

Inside, the XC40 features a very familiar, albeit scaled down interior similar to the XC60, a fully digital instrument cluster and a large, portrait-oriented infotainment system which Volvo calls Sensus. It also includes Android Auto and Apple Carplay integration for phones, as well as wireless charging.

Propelling it forward is a choice of two engines: the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder T5 turbocharged gasoline engine that produces 247-PS and and 350-Nm of torque, and the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder D3 turbodiesel capable of 150 PS and 320Nm.

Is PhP 3.35M starting price too much for 2019 Volvo XC40

Unfortunately, it's difficult to see how the XC40 will pique the interest of potential buyers, particularly the young and successful influential entrepreneurs it is targeting. The reason is the pricing for the 3 variants which is as follows

2019 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD R-Design P3,895,000

2019 Volvo XC40 D3 R-Design P3,495,000

2019 Volvo XC40 XC40 D3 Momentum P3,350,000

As you can see, the base XC40 is already more expensive than its contemporaries, the Audi Q3 TFSI (PhP3,190,000), BMW X1 xDrive 20d (PhP 3,890,000), Lexus UX 200 (PhP 2,478,000), and Mercedes-Benz GLA 180 (PhP 2,790,000).

The top-of-the-line XC40 T5 AWD is even more expensive than its big brother, the XC60 T5 (FWD, PhP 3,695,000). Granted, it's a very high-tech car with features like Sensus and City Safety that are mostly absent in its competitors. But if it wants to gain market share in the lucrative small premium SUV segment, a starting price of PhP3.35M is quite high.

Perhaps stripping it of some features (like AWD, Run Off Road) and fitting the smaller 1.5-liter inline-3 turbo T3 engine (offered abroad) could bring the price down a notch. Mercedes-Benz, meanwhile, seems to have a better grasp of this with the price and spec of their GLA.