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DRIVEN: VOLVO V40 D4 CROSS COUNTRY
|Date: 26 Jan 2017
|Author: Julian Lurie Edited by Donovan Banks
|Source: Julian Lurie Edited by Donovan Banks
The Volvo V40 hatchback, which replaced the S40 saloon back in 2012 is Volvo's best seller, was recently updated for the 2017 model year with a more premium, classier look, while the five V40 Cross Country derivatives also received a few new design tweaks. The model we feature in these road impressions is the V40 Cross Country D4 Inscription Geartronic.
In essence the Cross Country is the same Volvo V40 as before with the latest off-road styling tweaks to keep it up-to-date. These include the all-LED headlights with Volvo’s new ‘Thor’s Hammer’ light signature, which brings it in line with other new Volvos like the XC90.
The luxurious V40 Cross Country is identified by its raised ride height of 145 mm, twin aluminium roof rails, black bumper cladding and slightly bolder nose treatment. New grille treatments featuring vertical bars, with the new Volvo iron mark first seen on the all-new XC90, taking pride of place up front, while the Cross Country Inscription had new badging for the tailgate and front door sills.
The side view is highlighted by new design black Metallah alloy wheels, which on the press vehicle were shod with Pirelli P7 225/45R18 low profile radials, and there’s an emergency spare wheel under the boot floor. The rear end, with the discreet tailgate spoiler, shark-fin antenna, and two exhaust pipes, remains basically unchanged.
The interior is compact but comfortable. The front bucket seats are well-shaped and supportive, while the rear bench is fine for three average sized adults, headroom is tight for taller occupants, and if those in the front are tall, they may have to slide their seats forward a bit too free up knee-room in the back. The boot at 335 litres is rather small for a family car. With the seats folded down, luggage space expands to 1 032 litres.
Stowage for oddments is provided for in the cubbies, including the hidden one behind Volvo’s ‘floating’ centre console, the door pockets although they are rather small, while the sliding box between the front seats contains a holster for two cups.
Standard equipment includes dual-zone automatic climate control, electric windows all-round, electric front seats and side mirrors with memory, digital instrument cluster, and leather upholstery, a high performance audio system with 8 speakers, DVD, USB, Bluetooth, aux, voice control and Internet. Also standard is cruise control, rain sensor, auto-dimming frameless rear-view mirror, rear parking sensors, and puddle lights.
Options fitted to the test car included the Techno Pack, heated front seats, high-level LED headlights with Active Bending, navigation, keyless entry and push button start, Park Assist Pilot, Driver Support Pack, Blind Spot Information System, Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Keeping Aid, adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection, rear parking camera and metallic paint.
As one would expect, the V40 Cross Country is loaded with a full suite of safety equipment including 7 airbags, seat belt detection for all five seats, front seat whiplash protection, ABS, EBD, BAS, HAS, stability and traction control, tyre pressure monitoring, City Safety, and a five-star Euro NCAP rating.
The V40 Cross Country in powered by a 2.0-litre i4 twin-turbo diesel engine pushing out 140 kW at 4 250 rpm 400 Nm of torque at between 1 750 – 2 500 rpm and drives the front wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Performance is pretty brisk – with the automatic gearbox in manual mode, floor the accelerator and the D4 will reach the 100 km/h mark in third gear in 7.5 seconds and has a top speed of 210 km/h. Fuel consumption is given as 4.3-litres per 100 km in the combined cycle – somewhat optimistic as the trip recorder gave me a reading of 6.6 litres per 100 km, but that does include the performance testing. The tank holds 62-litres.
The driving position is near perfect behind the wheel of the V40 Cross Country and you don’t have to compromise visibility to get comfortable. Rearward visibility is a little compromised by the small glass area at the rear. Access to the major controls is easy and you never have to reach out to adjust settings on the infotainment system, the satellite navigation or the air conditioning. There are about thirty buttons in thecentre console with some tricky to find at a glance, but you do get used to it after a while.
The punchy performance of the V40 Cross Country is quite surprising when you first drive it. It’s more potent than you’d expect and pulls very well once the turbo starts to spin from around 1 500 rpm and the motor continues to gather speed smoothly right up to the 4 800 redline. Driving around town at idle or in stop/start traffic the engine is quite noisy, but once the motor spins up the noise becomes less apparent and changes into a fairly generic diesel thrum.
The suspension is on the firm side, but ride comfort is very good, with the suspension ironing out even poor tar road surfaces very efficiently. Cruising along the freeway at the 120 km/h in 8th gear, the motor turns at a leisurely 1 800 rpm. Meanwhile the 8-speed auto transmission changes smoothly through the gears, and responds immediately to kick-down for quick overtaking.
V40 Cross Country is also extremely well isolated from the body with no vibrations filtering through to the cabin. This, allied to low levels of wind and tyre noise, makes the V40 Cross Country a relaxing motorway cruiser, and when the road twists and turns, the V40 shows good grip and holds the road very well. One thing it does very well is that it gives the confidence and security you’d expect of a Volvo. It’s stable at all speeds, little seems to faze the chassis and it deals with most situations without fuss or drama.
The recommended retail selling rice for the Volvo V40 Cross Country D4 Inscription Geartronic is R492 000, then add R51 600 for the options and the price as tested goes to R543 600. The price includes a 5-year / 100 000 km warranty and a 5-year / 100 000 km full maintenance plan.