Never mind off-roading – top model apart, the V40 Cross Country only means rugged décor and raised suspension for Volvo's hatchback

Our Verdict

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

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's 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

8 January 2013

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!

8 January 2013

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.

8 January 2013

Volvophile wrote:

...but I think of Volvo and the thought inevitably leads to large hearse style estates or at best large SUVs that look like estates to keen eyes. The only car from this Swedish marque that's a break from their design language and hence registers as fresh to the eye is their C30.

Its not to say that V40 is bad looking. The front could be better though - a lot better. Side profile is very good and so is the rear which borrows its styling largely from C30.

8 January 2013

fadyady wrote:

Volvophile wrote:

...but I think of Volvo and the thought inevitably leads to large hearse style estates or at best large SUVs that look like estates to keen eyes. The only car from this Swedish marque that's a break from their design language and hence registers as fresh to the eye is their C30.

Sorry I dont know your age and it would be rude to ask a lady, but please Google Volvo P1800, anything but boxy, when I think of VW I automatically think Beetle, it doesnt mean thats all they make, if you look at Volvos current range the only boxyish one is the V70, and its not exactly a hearse, the S80 is over 6 years old, and still looks fresh, and better than certain German marques current efforts, and the Golf has looked the same since the 70s.

8 January 2013

Citytiger wrote:

fadyady wrote:

Volvophile wrote:

...but I think of Volvo and the thought inevitably leads to large hearse style estates or at best large SUVs that look like estates to keen eyes. The only car from this Swedish marque that's a break from their design language and hence registers as fresh to the eye is their C30.

Sorry I dont know your age and it would be rude to ask a lady, but please Google Volvo P1800, anything but boxy, when I think of VW I automatically think Beetle, it doesnt mean thats all they make, if you look at Volvos current range the only boxyish one is the V70, and its not exactly a hearse, the S80 is over 6 years old, and still looks fresh, and better than certain German marques current efforts, and the Golf has looked the same since the 70s.

I would have replied but you have probably summed up everything I was going to say.

8 January 2013

quote]

Citytiger wrote: please Google Volvo P1800

[/quote]

Volvo P1800!!! Now I'm thinking shall I ask your age. Or shall a guess suffice?

The last person to drive that car was Roger Moore in the 60s. He's octogenarian.

8 January 2013

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..

8 January 2013

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

8 January 2013

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.

8 January 2013

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.

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