£22,870 - £34,065 Price range
4 - 5 Seats
34 - 74 MPG
With a few styling tweaks and a raised ride height, the Volvo V40 Cross Country is essentially a beefed-up version of the standard V40 that it is based upon. It rivals models such as the Skoda Octavia Scout, SEAT Leon X-Perience and Volkswagen Golf Alltrack.
Volvo gave the V40 and V40 Cross Country range a subtle facelift in 2016 now featuring smoothed styling, revised interior equipment and reduced CO2 emissions.
Unlike its rivals, Volvo only offers four-wheel drive on top-of-the-range Cross Country models. That’s a shame because it means the extra composure such a system brings cannot be combined with Volvo’s excellent new D4 diesel engine, which is both fast and impressively frugal.
Volvo interiors are some of the best to cover long motorway trips in, not least because the firm makes some of the most comfortable seats available in any car. Space in the back can feel tight for taller adults and small rear windows mean it can feel more claustrophobic than it actually is. Boot space also falls behind class average.
Ignore the off-road pretensions, because the V40 feels most at home on the motorway. There it makes for a refined mile muncher with very little noise making its way into the cabin. Sadly, the car’s stiff suspension, which at times seems to amplify bumps, doesn’t convert in to a fun driving experience on twisting B roads.
All V40 Cross Country models come fitted with alloy wheels, auto-folding wing mirrors with ground lights, DAB radio and a five-inch colour display for the car’s infotainment screen.
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Revisions made to the V40 Cross Country in 2014 brought with them a new infotainment system that sports cloud-based music streaming, allows you to pay parking charges and download information on the local ares to find local restaurants for example. It can also do clever things such as read text messages aloud and lets you dictate a response.
While the Volvo V40 might lack the premium feel of an Audi A3 it still feels extremely well built and in the most part is easy to use. Even the basic model comes with copper-metal trim, which looks and feels expensive and there are some nice touches that are uniquely Volvo such as the floating centre console with a storage area hidden behind it.
Volvo V40 Cross Country passenger space
Getting comfortable in the front of the Volvo V40 Cross Country is easy, not just because of the wide range of adjustments offered by the seats, but also because of the design of the seats themselves. They seem to match the contours of your back almost perfectly and are extremely supportive on the kind of long journeys that can encourage aches and pains surface.
If the seats in the back aren’t quite as comfortable as those up front they are still pretty good. More of a problem is the lack of light caused by the relatively small rear windscreen and windows. Taller adults will also find leg and headroom is in short supply.
Volvo V40 boot space
Pull up the wide-opening tailgate and you’ll be confronted by one of the smallest boots in the class at 324 litres in size. In fact, of the mainstream competition only the 316-litre boot in the Ford Focus, which shares the Volvo’s underpinnings, is smaller. Things are particularly grave when you look at the Volvo’s closest rivals all of which are estates – the Golf Alltrack (605 litres), SEAT X-Perience (587 litres) and Skoda Octavia (610 litres) all have the measure of the Volvo by a significant margin.
The V40 Cross Country feels most at home making swift progress on the motorway, where there is little wind or road noise to disturb passengers. Even the diesel model, which can clatter at low speeds, settles down considerably when the cars nears the national speed limit.
While cars such as the SEAT Leon may welcome the twists and turns of a B-road diversion, there’s little to encourage you off the motorway in the Volvo. The car’s suspension makes a bit of a meal of small bumps, sending thumps through the cabin, and it never feels truly settled. The stiff suspension does make for decent body control in the corners, but the steering gives you little idea of how much grip the front wheels have and it often feels too keen to self centre.
Volvo offers the Cross Country with a choice of three diesel engines – called D2, D3 and D4, while the only petrol option comes in the form of the quick T5.
Volvo V40 Cross Country diesel engines
The D4 may be the most expensive diesel engine in the V40 range, but if you can rise to the price it is the one we would go for. Its fuel economy of 64.2mpg and CO2 emissions of 99g/km (for free road tax) mean it costs exactly the same as the D3 to run, but with 190hp (against the D3’s 150hp) it is quite a lot quicker, with 0-62mph taking just 7.7 seconds. Mid-range punch is even more impressive and there’s plenty of power in reserve to perform fast and safe overtakes. Its not even that much more expensive to run than the slow D2 model that returns fuel economy of 67.3mpg.
Volvo V40 Cross Country petrol engines
The five-cylinder petrol engine used by the T5 is the same one that was fitted to the old Focus ST, a car that was renowned for its poor fuel economy. In the Volvo though, it’s connected to a fuel-sapping four-wheel-drive system that sees fuel economy drop to a lowly 34mpg and sky-high CO2 emissions of 194g/km meaning you have to stump up £265 every time the car needs taxed.
That all being said, the 245hp T5 is quick. It can leap from 0-62mph in just six seconds and has to be electronically limited to a top speed of 155mph. The T5 shares the same dull steering as the standard car, but the four-wheel drive system makes it extremely effective on the UK’s slippery roads. In many ways it’s a grown up alternative to hot hatches such as the Peugeot 308 GTi and current Ford Focus ST, but its worth noting that the VW Golf R is better to drive, quicker and cheaper to run than the T5.
Cross Country models have more rugged looks than the regular V40 hatchback thanks to their silver roof rails, plastic bumpers, side skirts, under-body protection and suspension that has been jacked up by 40mm. Basis SE models add to that equipment with 16-inch alloy wheels, rain-sensing wipers, a five-inch colour screen and expensive looking copper trim.
Volvo V40 Cross Country Lux
Lux models get a leather interior that lifts the general feel of the cabin and a light for rear-seat passengers. Technology is also added to with bi-Xenon headlights that follow the direction of the steering wheel and have high-pressure washers. There also bright-shining LED daytime running lights and larger 17-inch alloy wheels.
Volvo V40 Cross Country Nav
Nav can be specified as a pack on either of the two main models. For your extra money you get a satellite navigation system with a larger seven-inch display and more powerful premium sound system. It can also play DVDs and be used to browse the internet.
As a way to cover lots of motorway miles in extreme comfort the V40 Cross Country makes a lot of sense and few rivals can match it here. That’s particularly true when you specify Volvo’s excellent D4 diesel engine. Standard automatic emergency braking means it is also one of the safest cars currently on sale. If you’re looking for a broader range of talents, however, then your money is better spent else where. The trio of Volkswagen Group cars – represented by the Skoda Octavia Scout, SEAT Leon X-Perience and VW Golf Alltrack – are more fun to drive, have more space inside and come with four-wheel drive as standard. That latter point could well be the most important if you are looking to buy a car of this type.
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