Volvo V40 Cross Country

11 Jan, 2013 11:00am Jack Rix

The rugged Volvo V40 XC doesn’t get off-road ability, but it's still a worthy addition to the range


It's a shame that changes to the V40 to create the Cross Country don’t go further to improve its off-road ability. But as a rugged design pack for £1,000, it’s reasonable value for money and broadens the V40’s appeal. If you want a Volvo for light off-roading, save up for an XC60, otherwise the Cross Country handles itself impeccably on the road. Don’t expect any major thrills or surprises, but if you want to buy a high-quality, well equipped and efficient family runabout (that looks a little different from the norm), it’s a strong contender.

Volvo first bridged the gap between a traditional car and an SUV with the XC70 back in 1997. By raising the ride height of its family estate, fitting four-wheel drive as standard and beefing up the styling, it created a formula that’s been copied by the VW Passat Alltrack, Audi A6 Allroad and Skoda Octavia Scout. Now the VW Golf-rivalling Volvo V40 has got the off-road treatment.

The new version is called the V40 Cross Country, rather than the XC40 as many expected, and has all the hallmarks of a rugged Volvo. Silver roof rails, a chunky black plastic front bumper with integrated LED lights, metal side sills and a new rear bumper with the Cross Country badge above the skid plate help to convey a subtly tougher image.

But that’s where the makeover ends. Unlike the XC70, the V40 Cross Country isn’t designed for off-roading, with a ride height raised by 40mm about the only mechanical change. With so few buyers of small crossovers going off the beaten track, you can see why Volvo took this decision, but it’s a shame the package is so similar to the standard car’s.

In fact, only one version – the range-topping 250bhp 2.5-litre five-cylinder petrol – comes with four-wheel drive (it’s not an option on any other model). But with fuel consumption of 35mpg and a £33,875 price, it will sell in minuscule numbers in the UK. More popular will be the efficient diesels, all of which come with standard stop-start.

Most economical is the 113bhp 1.6-litre D2, which delivers 74mpg and 99g/km of CO2, while the D3 and D4 both get 2.0-litre five-cylinder engines. We tried the 175bhp D4, which packs a big punch. A 0-62mph time of 8.6 seconds doesn’t do justice to the way the car surges forward when you accelerate.

Inevitably, with 400Nm sent through the front tyres, there’s a hint of torque steer, but other than that the Cross Country holds its line faithfully in corners. The steering could be a little sharper and offer more feel, and there’s a smidgen of body roll before the car settles, but the V40 is always calm and composed. That’s helped by a new suspension set-up, which is better suited to the UK’s rough roads.

You can hear the diesel working, but the offbeat burble makes it a pleasure, not a chore. Refinement is impressive, too.

Available only in SE or Lux spec, this V40 is very well equipped, and interior quality is right up with BMW and Mercedes. Our top-spec Lux Nav test car came with 17-inch wheels, plus two-tone leather seats, active headlights and integrated sat-nav. But the asking price isn’t cheap – £28,085 is £1,000 more than the equivalent V40.

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Too expensive for what it is. Didn't Rover do something similar with the 25?

This is called the V40 Cross Country instead of XC40 because it's not as offroad-oriented as other XC-series models.

Jack Rix writes Volvo V40 Cross Country is "reasonable value for money". You lost me there, mate. Let's get this straight. We're talking about a 2WD crossover.

Its not even a 4WD. Its a C-segment car with raised height and plastic cladding. £28k is a lot of dough. It will buy you some talented crossovers. In no particular order:

1. Audi Q3 2L 177 SE quattro
2. BMW X1 sDrive 20d M Sport
3. Land Rover Freelander 2.2 SD4 190
4. Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TDI SE
5. Mazda CX-5 2.2D 175 Sport Nav AWD

Saw my first new V40 a couple of days ago! Nice, but not really anything very special. Essentially a scaled down S60 like the previous S40. Looks like I will be hanging on to my current S40 for another year or two.

Well 99% of the buyers are never going to drive it offroad. As well as with the cars you listed so there's not much of a pont with it. And it is avaible in 4WD as well as 2WD....

Key specs

  • Price: £28,045
  • Engine: 2.0-litre 5cyl turbodiesel
  • Power: 175bhp
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
  • 0-60mph: 8.6 seconds
  • Top speed: 130mph
  • Economy: 64.2mpg
  • CO2: 117g/km
  • Equipment: Leather, LED running lights, sat-nav, 17-inch wheels, Bluetooth
  • On sale: Now