Looks the partI do like the idea of a crossover as it combines the city car dimensions with a hint of offroad ability. The Volvo V40 epitomises this perfectly as it has the same abilities as its road-going V40 sibling, but with raised ground clearance, it can mix it up on the non-tar terrain too. It definitely looks the part with its offroad outfit consisting of chunkier bumpers, sideskirts and added ground clearance. Our unit arrived in the special Misty Blue paint option, which is lovely.
Five cylinder diesel powerWith the chunky offroad looks, you'd hope for a nice strong diesel too. You'd be delighted to know there's a monster of a motor lurking under that bonnet. It's a 2.0-litre five-cylinder turbodiesel and its on-paper performance shows promise. There's 130 kW and 400 Nm underfoot, and this power drives the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission.
Annoyingly, there's no all-wheel drive on the top of the range diesel model - something which I find disappointing. If you're after all-wheel drive, you can get it with the Volvo V40 Cross Country T5 petrol. Given the nature and purpose of this vehicle, I think all-wheel drive would be perfect for the D4. Another gripe is how loud the engine is. It has a proper diesel sound to it on idle, but thankfully this morphs into the delicious five-cylinder growl as you accelerate.
Economy and performanceWhile it's not the quickest sprinter from standstill, the Volvo V40 Cross Country's torque figure means in-gear acceleration is simply awesome. It gets from 60 kph to the national highway speed limit without breaking a sweat and can go onto some very high speeds. Being a diesel, it's easy on the juice too. However, Volvo claims under 6l/100km, but as hard as we tried we couldn't get it under 8l/100km.
FeaturesOur Volvo V40 Cross Country D4 came in Excel guise and had the sport pack fitted as an optional extra. The sport pack gives you a three-spoke leather steering wheel with speed dependent steering, active bi-xenon lights, headlamp cleaners, daytime running lights and adaptive digital display. That's not to say standard specification is lacking (it isn't) and you do get a healthy dose of cool stuff in the Volvo V40 Cross Country. I particularly liked the quality infotainment screen and steering wheel controls.
Excel specification gives you leather upholstery, auto dimming rear view mirror, Bluetooth and high performance audio system with 7" colour display screen, cruise control, rain sensor with automatic wiper function, rear park assist, front tread plates and a power adjustable driver seat with memory function.
Ride and driveWhat's it like to drive, you ask? Lovely. On a weekend trip to the West Coast National Park with my significant other and two passengers, the Volvo V40 Cross Country was a competent and comfortable cruiser, with the added ground clearance of 40 mm proving handy on some of the uneven sections of gravel. All-wheel drive would have been a bonus and meant we could have headed on some of the tougher terrain. Boot space isn't too generous, but two coolerboxes went in with no problem and there was room for a few other small bags. With 400 Nm on tap, overtaking slower traffic on the open road was effortless and the automatic gearbox was decently smooth.
Summary and conclusionI'm finding the current generation of Volvo's products difficult to fault. They're comfortable, offer a great range of engines and the pricing is reasonable. There is the fabled Volvo safety thrown in the mix too. Aside from the lack of all-wheel drive, which its competitors have I might add, there's very little to fault the V40. I do think the 400 Nm D4 is a little over the top, but the D3 will do nicely.
Second OpinionThe Volvo V40 remains one of the most underrated hatchbacks on the market, it's full of stylish touches and the Cross Country brings a bit of macho image to the range. The lack of 4x4 is a loss, but this D4's torque makes enough pulling power to tow a Land Cruiser around if you want to go off road. - Ashley Oldfield
Volvo V40 Cross Country Price in South AfricaThis Volvo V40 Cross Country D4 costs R403 700, excluding the sport pack. The Volvo V40 Cross Country range starts at R343 200.
Volvo V40 Cross Country D4 quick specs
|Engine||2.0-litre five cylinder turbo diesel|
|0-100km/h||8.3 seconds (claimed)|
|Fuel economy||5.2 l/100 km (claimed)|
We dislike: . It's not as fuel efficient as hoped . Engine is a bit loud . All-wheel drive would be nice on the range-topping diesel.