Richard Bremner
8 January 2013

What is it?

What you need to know first about this, the Volvo V40 Cross Country, is that unless you order it as a range-topping, £33,975 T5  with a 247bhp turbocharged petrol engine, it comes only as a two-wheel-drive car, and is therefore no more able to cross a ploughed field than the standard V40. Unless its raised right height happens to prove advantageous.

Sill protectors and plastiminium skid plates you may get, but this is barely a mild off-roader, never mind something for venturing mud-wards when the asphalt runs out. There is, however, a useful advantage to choosing the faux off-roader version of the Volvo V40, which we’ll come to. 

The Cross Country package costs £1000 more for the two-wheel-drive version, for which you get a car that rides 40mm higher and looks a little tougher than the stock V40, what with its standard-fit roof rails, a rear bumper with in-built (plastic) skid plate, a front bumper flaunting a much more emphatic lower air intake, upright LED running lights and plastic sill extensions. 

Inside, there’s attractive upholstery of rather more robust texture than usual, but little else to differentiate this Cross Country species. All of which looks rather slight compared with the reconfiguring of the bigger V70 Cross Country that established the genre back in 1997, that car providing standard all-wheel drive and a generally more thoughtfully provisioned specification. 

Consider the Cross Country package as merely a dress-up kit for the V40 and you’ll be less disappointed.

What is it like?

The upside of the new suspension set-up is that it’s better suited to Britain’s neglected roads, with the V40’s low-speed ride proving exceptionally pliant. Oddly, it occasionally thumps at higher speeds, but for the most part this is a very comfortable car.

There’s little penalty to pay in terms of dynamic prowess, either. You soon get used to the body’s well controlled, settling tilt on turn-in, after which the Cross Country spears bends with satisfying accuracy, aided by a back axle that you can feel working with the front to beat understeer. And that’s a rare sensation in a Volvo. The steering is accurate and adequately feelsome too, even if its lock isn’t up to Volvo’s usual standards. 

All of which makes this car quite an enjoyable drive – on asphalt, at least. It's also a decently brisk one in the case of the 148bhp diesel D3 sampled here, with itss 2.0-litre engine yielding a stout 258lb ft shot of torque from a fairly low 1500rpm to provide some pleasingly strong zest. 

Less impressive is the diesel’s subtle but perpetual clatter, and there’s enough commotion of motion at motorway speeds to have you stabbing the stereo’s volume control. It certainly isn’t noisy, but a Volkswagen Golf is distinctly more restful. 

Still, the V40 is civil in other respects, not least its cabin furnishings, which are robustly finished and elegant in Volvo’s pleasingly spare Scandinavian style. The optional textured copper finish for the centre console (not present on the test car) is particularly appealing. 

A shame, though, that the rear seat is a little confined, especially for three, as it is in all V40s. But this is a likeable car despite the disappointingly lightweight Cross Country makeover. 

Should I buy one?

Some may find the £1000 asked reasonable enough for the sturdier look, but if you’re mainly tempted by the ride upgrade it confers, that extra grand looks expensive, and an all-up ticket, with sat-nav, of over £25k looks pricey.

Volvo V40 D3 Cross Country SE Nav

Price £25,045; 0-60mph 9.1sec; Top speed 127mph; Economy 64.2mpg; CO2 117g/km; Kerb weight 1512kg; Engine 4 cyls, 1984cc, turbodiesel; Power 148bhp at 3500rpm; Torque 258lb ft at 1500-2750rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
26

Any Volvo for under 40s?

1 year 15 weeks ago

Volvo has made so many estates that it just can't shrugg off the estately looks even with this jacked up V40. If only they could rub C30's looks on this C-segment car!

Sounds like it should have

1 year 15 weeks ago

Sounds like it should have good suspension for our horrific quality countryside lanes, but I'll take the Volvo S60 Polestar instead...

Why no 4WD Diesel?

1 year 15 weeks ago

The car looks very appealing. However I think Volvo are missing a large sector in the market for a  4WD Diesel  that isn’t a large SUV.   They should have all the required technology from the XC60 to offer a Diesel 4WD model.

Diesel?! what for?

1 year 15 weeks ago

Petrol engines are catching up in the MPG stakes,Petrol is cleaner too,there no particulate filter to worry about either,as for price, well,Volvo's sell,£25K isn't that far off anyway.

Peter Cavellini.

Myk

-

1 year 15 weeks ago

I configured one of these on the Volvo website yesterday, as I'm quite impressed by the V40 and liked the idea of the Cross Country.  But with only 4WD available on the top petrol model my  configuration worked out at just under £39k, which is pretty preposterous.

Volvo are missing a trick not offering 4WD on at least the D4, although admittedly I can't see many of these being used off-road anyway.

Peter Cavellini

1 year 15 weeks ago

Peter Cavellini wrote:

Petrol engines are catching up in the MPG stakes,Petrol is cleaner too,there no particulate filter to worry about either,as for price, well,Volvo's sell,£25K isn't that far off anyway.

Diesel because it's what's expected on a 4x4 in the UK, it's what has the better torque figures to manage a 4x4 drivetrain, and what will be asked for by customers walking through the showroom door, and what will actually sell regardless of what is the best car.

Why?

1 year 15 weeks ago

Why is it that the same old rubbish is trotted out about 4 wheel drive i.e. that it's only useful if taken off road and no one will do that anyway? 4 wheel drive is very useful indeed on the road and in slippery conditions. Try pulling away fast in a rear wheel drive car in the wet and you'll see what I mean.

Accept no substitute or imitations, folks. The original and best JOY TO THE WORLD.

fadyady wrote: Volvo has

1 year 15 weeks ago

fadyady wrote:

Volvo has made so many estates that it just can't shrugg off the estately looks even with this jacked up V40.

They've made no more estates than any other manufacturer.  It's just they are more prominent in people's minds than wagon versions from other brands.

Its Not a 4x4

1 year 15 weeks ago

Nor is it supposed to be, hence the reason its called a V40 Cross Country, if it was supposed to be a 4x4 it would be called an XC40, like the rest of Volvos 4x4 range, the XC60/70/90, think of it as a small premium hatchback with a raised ride height, similar to a Qashqai, or the X1 or Q3  and as pointed our, hardly any of them go cross country anyway, so why bother with the extra hardware, I am sure it will go anywhere any likely owner will want to take it.

The fact that its just as well built and will be as if not more reliable than either of its German competitors, and by the sound of the write up probably drives as well but rides better and is better equipped and safer for the price, so whats not to like, oh and its not Fugly like the BMW, and it starts at £22.5k, not  £25k    

fadyady wrote: Volvo has

1 year 15 weeks ago

fadyady wrote:

Volvo has made so many estates that it just can't shrugg off the estately looks even with this jacked up V40. If only they could rub C30's looks on this C-segment car!

Its a 5 door hatchback, how else do you expect it to look? its certainly better lookingthan an X1, and not as bland as a Golf, the standard V40, is probably one of the best looking cars in the segment, unless you can name better..

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Our Verdict

Volvo tilts at the hatchback elite and aims to woo business drivers

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