What is it?
Before I start, the Volvo V40 Cross Country is definitely not, despite its raised ground clearance and chunky looks and add-ons, an off-roader of any description. Sorry to burst your bubble. It is however a chunked up version of the equally smart V40, only with a bit more attitude.
On the road
Our car for the week was the 150bhp, 6-speed manual D3 Lux model, and despite being only 2wd, it managed to nuzzle its way into the Muddy Towers good books.
You would imagine that being taller than the standard V40 would make the Cross Country a bit wobbly around corners, but the extra 40mm made no notable difference at all, in fact from motorways to narrow country lanes I found the Cross Country really fun to drive and it handled pot holes well. Also worthy of mention is the steering, it isn't heavy as such, I'd say a tad weighty, but in a good way. It could be argued that this makes the Cross Country a little boring, but I liked it.
One of my favourite bits of the Cross Country was the cruise control. Activate cruise' on a vehicle with a manual gearbox and changing gear automatically cancels it, but not in the Cross Country, it keeps it engaged. I'm sure there'll be other manufactures out there that offers this, but this was a first for me.
Delving into my get matter, was it Volvo who kicked the Crossover trend off all those years ago with their XC70, a proper chunked up 4x4 version of their V70? You know, I think it was. Anyway, that's pretty much irrelevant as the V40 Cross Country is not the same idea, it's more of a Rover 25 Streetwise for the modern age. When the V40 Cross Country arrived it was quite plain to see by the low profile tyres and distinct lack of any useful approach angle that I wasn't going to be venturing too far off the beaten track, if at all.
Driving along bumpy tracks, slowly, I was surprised to hear a fair bit of noise entering the cabin, cobbled tracks aren't where the Cross Country is at it most comfortable, but despite its 4x4 shortcomings, I reckon if you chuck some snow tyres on in winter it will take you most places you want to go, on road that is.
Get behind the wheel of the Cross Country and you're immediately cosseted in style and safety, it's a nice place to be. The dash layout is good and the rear camera is sharp. Although comfy, being over 6ft tall I did find the seats a little short but I could get used to it. It does have a few weird foibles mind, the handbrake lever is over on the passenger side of the centre console, which I would imagine being a bit of a stretch if you have short arms, and be careful not to brush the knee of the passenger, that can be awkward.
Because the ignition key slots into the top of the dashboard I imagined that, because I'm the custodian of a bunch load of keys, that they'd have the potential to rattle on the dash, but actually they didn't.
What else was there... oh yeah, there's no sunglasses holder, so you have to put them in the bottle/cup holder, which is no big deal really as it's the same in most cars. Rear legroom is a bit snug if you have passengers with long legs too, but the seats themselves are comfy.
Engines ‘n’ transmissions
If you want to go all hooligan, Volvo offers the Cross Country with one petrol engine, and that's the 250bhp five-cylinder 2.5-litre T5, and as I've mentioned previously, is the only model to have AWD. 'Oh, and it's only offered with the automatic Geartronic transmission. 0-60mph takes just 6 seconds and top speed is 146mph. Despite the high performance, the engine emits 194g/km of CO2 and achieves 34.0mpg on the combined cycle.
Diesel wise, there's the following:
115hp, 1.6-litre four-cylinder D2, delivering 99g/km CO2, and achieving 74.3mpg on the combined cycle. Top speed is 115mph and 0-60 mph takes 11.2 seconds and is only available with the 6-speed manual box.
The other two diesel engines are the 2.0-litre five-cylinder D3 and D4 models.
The D3 produces 150hp In manual guise with a top speed of 127mph and 0-60mph takes 9.1 seconds.
The D4, has an extra turbo boost meaning power jumps to 177bhp and a top speed of 130mph and 0-60mph 8.2 seconds. Both the D3 and D4 churn out 117g/km of CO2 and give you a combined 64.2mpg.
Although I really enjoyed my week with the Cross Country I wouldn't buy one, I'd need AWD and usable ground clearance.
The Cross Country is more expensive than the standard V40 because it comes in at mid and high spec, that's SE and LUX. Starting at £23,820 for the D2 SE and £27,670 for the D3 Lux, though the array of extras on the press car pushed the price up to £36,620. Granted, it's an expensive car which might put a lot of people off, and for the price of the Cross Country you have plenty other 4wd SUV's to choose from. But if you like exclusivity, the fact that I've never seen one on the road, other than the press car, maybe a good enough reason to buy one.