Paul Maric road tests and reviews the Volvo V40 Cross Country T5.
In years gone by, you never would have pictured a Volvo as a trendy choice in family motoring. The Swedish car company covers a huge subset of demographics with its range of vehicles and has most recently diversified offerings even further with the V40 Cross Country.
The V40 received rave reviews when it was launched in Australia last year. Yours truly was impressed with the levels of comfort, ease of driving and its dynamics. It’s the right size for a couple with kids on the way, or a couple with small kids and ticks all the boxes when it comes to safety, pricing and features.
One of the only things missing from the Volvo V40 was some of its elder XC60 sibling’s traits. Volvo decided to tackle this gap head on with the introduction of an XC60/V40 hybrid, aptly named the V40 Cross Country.
Fitted with meaty wheel arches, increased ground clearance and a tougher on-road stance, the V40 Cross Country aims to tackle camp-grounds, snowy ridges and mud trails that would otherwise leave the V40 stuck helplessly.
Despite a sexy outer shell, the interior arguably attracts the most attention. A floating centre console offers extra storage space and creates a talking point amongst passengers. The floating centre console houses the car’s controls, which include audio, navigation and an ingeniously sculpted human cut out for climate control.
Even the speedometer moves away from the norm, featuring a large colour LCD screen that dynamically displays speed, fuel and economy readings. The V40 Cross Country also reads speed limit signs and displays the speed on the speedometer to remind drivers of the speed zone.
Interior room up front is exceptional with ample leg and headroom. Visibility from the driver’s seat is excellent, making the V40 Cross Country a cinch to park and squeeze into tight spaces. Rear seating is comfortable for two, but a bunfight for three.
Boot space is huge and increased even further when the second row of seats are dropped. The boot opening allows you to fit even the largest of objects without a fuss.
It wouldn’t be a Volvo if it wasn’t built with safety in mind. Thankfully the V40 Cross Country scored a maximum five stars in recent crash testing.
The score comes courtesy of eight air-bags (including a knee and pedestrian air-bag), stability control and traction control, along with a system that will automatically brake to a complete stop in the event of an impending collision at lower speeds.
The V40 Cross Country is available with two engines. The 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine produces 187kW and 360Nm of torque, while the 2.0-litre five-cylinder turbocharged diesel produces 130kW and 400Nm of torque. Both options are only available with a six-speed automatic gearbox and consume an average 8.4L/100km and 5.3L/100km respectively.
Starting from $47,990 for the diesel variant, the petrol offering increases to $52,990. While the pricing is a little on the higher side, both models come loaded with standard features.
Behind the wheel, the turbocharged petrol really shines. The eager engine takes advantage of the large five-cylinder engine, which is then improved by the use of a turbocharger. Press the throttle in any gear and the V40 Cross Country wants to run away at a sports-car-like rate of knots.
The steering and brake package is refined, direct and communicative. The added 40mm ride height improves visibility but doesn’t impact on handling, even when the car is pushed closer to its limits.
Despite the fact it’s not equipped to conquer Mt Kosciusko, the V40 Cross Country will happily handle its fair share of mud slinging and rock-hopping. The four-wheel-drive system has been designed in such a way to maximise traction both on and off road.
If you are in the market for a new family car, but don’t want to buy a giant SUV, test-drive the Volvo V40 Cross Country. It takes practicality, style and safety to an all-new level.
NUTS and BOLTS
Engine: 2.5 litre five-cylinder petrol developing 187kW and 360Nm or 2.0 litre turbo-diesel producing 130kW and 400Nm
Transmission: Six speed automatic (only)
Warranty: 3 years
Price: From $47,990.