If a rugged look is what floats your boat then the Volvo V40 Cross Country should be right up your street.
To set it apart from the standard five-door V40 hatchback, the Cross Country features a number of unique details. These include an enhanced ride height (40mm higher), silver roof rails, alloy wheels (available up to 19-inch), a honeycomb mesh grille, daytime running lights, and sporty front and rear bumpers.
The V40 Cross Country’s design can appeal not only to traditional family hatchback buyers but crossover fans as well.
Our car was powered by Volvo’s 2.0-litre D4 diesel engine, which in the Cross Country makes for a rather tempting proposition.
The diesel power plant produces 187bhp, meaning that you can complete the benchmark sprint from 0-62mph in just 7.7 seconds and reach a top speed of 130mph.
This Volvo offers more power than crossover rivals including the MINI Countryman and Nissan Qashqai.
Other engines in the V40 Cross Country line-up include the 1.6-litre D2 and the 2.0-litre D3 diesels, which produce 113bhp and 148bhp. Both units offer decent pull in the Cross Country and are more efficient than the D4.
If you care less about efficiency and instead you want power, there are two petrol units available - the 1.6-litre T4 with 178bhp and the 2.0-litre T5 with 242bhp. All engines use a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, except the T5, which has a slick six-speed auto ‘box.
Ride and Handling
Motorway jaunts are a joy thanks to the uber comfortable ride, which will delight business driver who are constantly covering huge distances.
The V40 Cross Country may be quicker than most of its rivals, but through the twisty stuff, the MINI Countryman offers a better drive for enthusiasts. Volvo has achieved a lot with this model, but it’s not quite there when it comes to driving enjoyment. However, on the comfort side, Volvo has this all wrapped up. Motorway jaunts are a joy thanks to the uber comfortable ride, which will delight business driver who are constantly covering huge distances. A major flaw is the standard manual gearbox, which has a long, notchy throw that makes quick changes difficult to execute. However, the steering is weighted well, but the feedback is not as good as those cars aimed at enthusiasts, like the Countryman. Despite being a high-riding version of the V40, the Cross Country still handles fairly well. Turn-in is good, although the more traditional Golf hatchback is far better dynamically thanks to better feedback from the steering. Intriguingly, unlike the standard V40, the Cross Country can use four-wheel drive instead of front-wheel for better grip in trickier conditions. However, this is only available for the range-topping T5 petrol model.
Interior and Equipment
The Volvo V40 Cross Country made its first public appearance at the 2012 Paris Motor Show.
Volvo and quality interiors go hand-in-hand. The V40 Cross Country does nothing to dispel this though, yet again the Swedish maker has made a good looking cabin that is fitted with top notch materials. The layout of the central console is very well thought out and plenty of kit comes as standard. For the standard SE trim, highlights include 16-inch alloy wheels, adaptive cruise control and hill descent control. There’s easily enough space for seating four adults in comfort. However, the luggage space is modest at best offering 324-litres - that’s less than the rivalling Golf as it offers 380 litres. Crossovers including the Qashqai and Countryman also offer a little more room in the boot.
In terms of running costs, the V40 Cross Country can compete with the best in both the hatchback and crossover categories.
Our test car emits a company car-friendly 104g/km of CO2 emissions, and officially averages around 70.6mpg when using the manual transmission. The D2 diesel is the pick of the V40 Cross Country range though, emitting just 99g/km and averaging 74.3mpg. In terms of running costs, the V40 Cross Country can compete with the best in both the hatchback and crossover categories. However, all that protective body kit certainly comes at a premium. Prices for this Volvo start from just over £23,000, while the four-wheel drive specification costs over £30k.
It’s a shame that only one model comes with four-wheel drive but, as a package, the V40 Cross Country is an interesting idea and it has certainly got a lot of things going for it. It’s comfortable to sit in, has lots of standard kit and the diesel engines are brisk and very efficient. However, there are more practical and far cheaper alternatives within both the premium hatchback and crossover categories. But the V40 Cross Country has a character that separates it from the rest of the class, it looks very different and yet offers a first class cabin and a drive that will please most.