This year's Detroit Auto Show is a little light on truly green car content, so most attention will instead turn to downsized engines and vehicles offering subtle improvements in fuel economy.

As part of Volvo's future plans, all its five and six-cylinder engines will be phased out in favor of turbocharged fours--and the Concept XC Coupe due at Detroit will point the way to those future models.

It's built on Volvo's Scalable Product Architecture, which will underpin much of Volvo's future product range.

The concept itself is described as "inspired by modern sports equipment", which is an unusual starting point and applies more to the car's detailing than it does the styling.

Visually the Concept XC Coupe takes cues from one of 2013's most attractive, elegant concepts, the plug-in hybrid Concept Coupe. There's a wide, distinctive grille and headlights featuring a new Volvo signature, T-shaped bars intersecting the units.

Surfaces are smooth suggesting an aerodynamic form, and there are hints of previous Volvos in the upright rear light units which flank the rear screen.

Those sports equipment cues can be found in some of the car's bright orange exterior details, matte rubber moldings and more integrated interpretations of traditional SUV elements, like side moldings and skid plates.

That SUV connection is important as the Concept XC Coupe is likely to influence the design of the next-generation 2015 Volvo XC90, due at the end of this year.

That car will use the Scalable Product Architecture, will feature a range of gas-saving four-cylinder engines--rather than the current model's sixes and the range-topping V-8--and like the concept, should be exceedingly safe. Volvo says the concept uses high-strength boron steel and "ingenious decoupling" for a safer body shell.

You can follow more coverage from the 2014 Detroit Auto Show by heading to our dedicated hub page.


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