Volvo is set to unveil its C30 small hatch at the Detroit motor show and has the Audi A3, BMW 1-series and Alfa Romeo 147 in its sights.
The C30 is due to go on sale in September, and the Detroit car is called the C30 Design Concept.
However, the high-waisted hatch shows just how the finished car will look.
The emphasis of the C30 is on sporty looks and performance, aided by a 260bhp, 2.4 litre five-cylinder engine, which helps the C30 cover 0-62mph in six seconds.
The styling is similar to the S40 saloon's from the front, but the side profile has a more swept-back coupe look that borrows heavily from Volvo's SSC (Safety Concept Car).
At the rear, the high-set rear lights and glass hatch will not be mistaken for anything else.
Four individual seats are a feature of the interior, which has a dashboard very similar in look to the S40's and uses Volvo's 'floating' centre console design.
When the C30 goes on sale in the UK towards the end of 2006, expect a starting price of around £16,000, going up to £23,000 for the 260bhp, 2.4-litre model.
The engine range is likely to mirror that of the S40, so there should be petrol 1.6, 1.8 and high-performance 2.4.
Diesel buyers will be catered for with a 2.0-litre turbodiesel.