New Volvo V40 Cross Country first drive

Volvo V40 Cross Country





The V40 Cross Country range is a more aggressively styled line up with elevated ground clearance

based on the revised 2015 model year V40 C-segment five door hatchback range we reviewed at its media launch at the end of September this year.

The V40 series is Volvo’s best selling range and it is expected to account for 44% of their targeted 40,000 UK sales this year. Around 73% of V40 sales go to UK fleet and business user chooser customers and nearly all of those will choose diesel engines. The Cross Country versions are forecast to account for 20% of total V40 UK sales. The UK is the largest global market for the V40 range.

V40 Hatchback models are priced from £18,995 and Cross Country versions start at £23,320. The most costly Cross Country version is the T5 AWD (all wheel drive) with its standard Geartronic 8-speed auto gearbox and Lux-Nav spec being priced at £31,140.

The V40 Cross Country versions are essentially all about their more rugged styling and elevated ground clearance than authentic off-roaders. Only the T5 turbocharged, five cylinder 245hp petrol version comes with all-wheel drive, the remainder of the line-up are front wheel drive versions. Whilst there is an element of ‘all show and no go’ for off road use with the Cross Country models, that certainly isn’t the case when it comes to on road performance provided by the new D4 2.0-litre 190hp four cylinder turbodiesel.

Volvo V40 Cross CountryVolvo V40 Cross CountryThis engine is one of the new generation Drive-E units, both petrol and diesel that the brand has been introducing across all their model ranges as Euro 6 emission regulations come into force. The Cross Country is also available with Drive-E turbodiesel diesel D2 1.6-litre 115hp and D3 2.0-litre 150hp units plus the turbocharged petrol T4 1.6-litre 180hp 2WD and T5 2.5-litre 254hp AWD units. Specification levels, depending on the engine chosen, are SE, SE-Nav, Lux and Lux-Nav.

My test Cross Country version was the D4 2.0-litre, 190hp with Lux-Nav specification priced at a costly £28,770 plus £1,550 for the new eight-speed Geartronic gearbox. But as usual with premium brand models, such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, the price can be much higher where options and option packs are added. The final price of my test car was a heart-stopping £39,565 because of the additions and because manufacturers like to showcase every bit of technology and equipment available.

It is just a shame that Volvo, a brand well known and respected for its safety features, chooses to add £1,900 to the cost of the car for fundamental safety items. Included in their Driver Support Pack are collision warning with full automatic braking, pedestrian and cyclist warning, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping alert, driver alert, road sign information, blind spot and cross traffic alerts.

The test car also had the £2,000 Xenium Pack in keeping with Volvo’s traditional luxury features and this includes electrically operated front seats, fixed panoramic sunroof, park assist and rear view parking camera. The test car also had the £375 Lux Winter Pack with heated front seats, heated front windscreen and illuminated gear knob. Yet more additions included 18-inch alloys with grippy tyres at £700, keyless entry and start button for £550, Sensus Connect with a premium sound system for £500, Volvo On-Call at £450, gear-shift paddles for £150, a spare wheel and jack for another £150 and an adjustable load height floor with a retaining net for £100. There was also an exterior styling kit with more underbody/side sill protective panels to enhance the Cross Country look and that added yet another £650 to the price of options.

There is no doubt that the Volvo Cross Country with the Lux-Nav spec is a car of real quality with its fine leather upholstery, smart Scandinavian interior styling for the fascia panel but to be realistic it is still a C-segment family sized hatchback and not all together a very roomy one at that, especially for rear seat passengers. Despite its elevated Cross Country styling it only offers front wheel drive which is ideal for the road travel but not for cross-country use.

As a final thought on whether the V40 Cross Country model is really worth the extra cost; with the same D4 engine the V40 Hatchback with the most popular SE-Nav spec can be bought for £25,770, a saving of £3,000 and it officially returns better mpg, has lower CO2 emissions with lower VED road and Benefit-in-Kind taxes as well.

Volvo V40 Cross CountryVolvo V40 Cross CountryVolvo V40 Cross CountryWhatever V40 Hatchback or Cross County model a customer chooses what they get is a really smart looking vehicle with its distinctive Volvo face with a racy wedge shaped side profile and rising waistline. At the rear there is the hallmark hexagonal shaped tailgate pioneered on the famous P180 ES, followed by the popular and now unfortunately defunct C30 but now resurrected for the latest V60 and V40 models.

The core element of the Volvo V40 range is the introduction of the Drive-E technologies for petrol and diesel versions. These consist of high pressure direct injection, multi phase injection timing (up to 9 injections per cylinder stroke cycle), turbocharging and lightweight low friction components. These functions provide a higher performance, improved fuel economy, considerably lower emissions and a powerful sound character. Also with the weight and size reduction provided by the new Drive-E unit’s fuel economy savings is anything from 10 to 30 per cent, depending on which engines are compared.

A big plus point for the D4 2.0-litre turbodiesel version as tested is the 190hp power output and the even more impressive 400Nm of torque delivered from 1,750rpm. Even in its selectable Eco mode the response is really strong more or less right through the rev range. Top speed is 130mph and zero to 62mph takes just 7.5 seconds with the new and seamless shifting eight-speed automatic transmission. In manual gearbox form CO2 emissions are 104g/km but the auto model pushes that up to 112g/gm which is still low for the performance at hand. Not taking the Cross Country variant option and this engine will see CO2 emissions as low at 99g/km so taxes are even cheaper. However for the Cross Country with the auto box VED road tax is £0 First Year rate and then £30 for Year Two onwards. The same engine in the Hatchback is zero cost every year. Benefit-in-Kind tax for the D4 Cross Country is 18% and for the same powered Hatch it is 15%.

The D4 Cross Country with the automatic gearbox will officially return 65.7mpg (74.3mpg for the Hatchback) but on my week long test driving session covering all types of roads and conditions the average was a less impressive 42.2mpg. This goes to prove in real-life motoring conditions even with the latest engine technology the more power your car has the more fuel it will use.

In terms of purchasing and running costs I cannot see any advantage the D4 Cross Country has over the five door D4 Hatchback. Yes it looks more country-ish due to it more rugged exterior styling but it seems to me you are going to pay a lot more for a family hatchback that looks like a 4×4 but is in fact just front wheel drive.

The solution has to be for Volvo to add their AWD option with this new and powerful 2.0-litre D4 engine to the line-up which would make more sense for more buyers. Both Audi with quattro and BMW with xDrive have seen demand rise significantly for their 4×4 passenger car models to a point where around 25% of their UK customers now choose all wheel drive traction. These are cars/estates – not SUV models.

MILESTONES: VOLVO V40 Cross Country D4 Lux-Nav Automatic. Price: £28,770 (£39,565 as tested). Engine/transmission: 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder, common rail, high pressure direct injection, 190hp, 400Nm of torque from 1,750rpm, 8-speed automatic, front wheel drive. Performance: 130mph, 0-62mph 7.5-seconds, 65.7mpg Combined Cycle (42.2mpg on test), CO2 112g/km, VED road tax £0/30, BIK company car tax 18%. Insurance group: 24. Warranty: 3-years/60,000 miles. Dimensions/capacities: L 4,370mm, W 1,857, H 1,458mm, boot/load space, 335 to 1,444-litres, braked towing weight 1,500kg. For: Stylish design inside and out, high quality well equipped interior, strong new Drive-E engine technology, responsive power delivery, sharp handling, low for taxation costs. Against: Real-life fuel economy, no all wheel drive option to go with its Cross Country specification, pricey over same powered Hatchback versions, confusing to use buttons and controls, lacks rear seat legroom, firm ride with the elevated suspension height.

 Miles Better News agency 

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