The compact premium SUV segment is one of the fastest growing vehicle classes in Europe, with sales expected to exceed 500,000 units for the first time this year due to new model launches from brands such as BMW, Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz.
Last year’s most surprising performer in Europe was the Volvo XC60 though, which ranked second in the segment’s Top 10 sales, up from sixth in 2013. The Swedish SUV was only outsold by the Audi Q3, chosen by 76,078 European customers in 2014, up 3 percent from the previous year. The Volvo XC60 convinced 62,650 customers, posting the biggest growth of any of the vehicles in the top 10 – 35 percent.
Volvo attributed the spectacular growth of a vehicle launched seven years ago to the introduction of its new four-cylinder 2.0-liter Drive-E diesel engine. The engine emits as low as 117 grams of CO2 per kilometer, qualifying the XC60 for lower taxes in many European countries.
“Basically all of the growth came from the D4 Drive-E engine,” a Volvo spokesman told AutoNews Europe. He added that the engine now makes up 36 percent of XC60 sales in Europe, with more variants of the Drive-E diesel to be launched this year.
The BMW X1 was a close third with 61,734 units, but the German SUV is starting to show its age, as sales dropped 4 percent compared to 2013. However, the Audi Q5, which is present on the market since 2008, managed to increase sales by 9 percent to 60,522 units, ranking fourth.
Fifth place went to the Range Rover Evoque (50,828 units, down 2 percent), followed by the BMW X3 (48,144 units, down 18 percent), Mercedes GLA (44,930 units), Mercedes GLK (23,152 units, down 22 percent), Land Rover Freelander (16,915, down 20 percent) and newcomer Porsche Macan (14,611 units).