This week we have the Volvo V40 Cross Country D3 Lux Nav – Volvo’s crossover take on the V40 – in for review and test. Is it worth the extra money?
The Volvo V40 has been around for a few years now, and in that time has established itself as one of the more appealing compact premium cars, with looks that are as good as anything on the market and a proper ‘premium’ feel without resorting to chav appeal.
But the biggest market for compact cars these days is crossovers and SUVs, so shortly after the V40 arrived Volvo introduced a V40 with a bit of added rufty-tufty – the V40 Cross Country – to tap in to the crossover market.
That added butch means raising the ride height on the sleek V40 by 40mm and adding some suitably butch bits to make the Cross Country look more purposeful, so there’s a set of roof rails, skid plates front and back and on the side and ‘CROSS COUNTRY’ lettering across the back bumper.
But what is missing is any real ability to go off-road – certainly in this D3 Cross Country – which has the same FWD drivetrain as the regular V40 D3.
So is it worth paying extra for the slightly higher-riding V40 Cross Country?
Inside and out
The big difference between the V40 and V40 Cross Country is the raised ride height and the rufty-tufty adornments to make the V40 seem a bit more purposeful. And they do work.
True, the V40 is a pretty sleek, low-down compact premium hatch, and Volvo has been quite reserved about how high-riding they’ve made the Cross Country. So although its ride height is up by 40mm (not much more than 1.5″ in old money) the Cross Country still looks sleek and elegant, and it doesn’t spoil the looks that are perhaps the best in category.
The extra butch bits Volvo has added (some courtesy of an exterior styling Pack) are, as you would expect from Volvo, rather reserved, but the do add gloss without adding tackiness.
The more aggressive nose, side sills, roof rails and butch bumpers all conspire to add to the purposeful looks without taking anything away from the good looks of the V40, and if the looks float your boat then the Cross Country option is a good one.
Inside is very much Volvo V40, which means comfortable leather seats – with power adjustment thanks to the optional Xenium Pack (£2,000) – and a premium feeling cabin with digital instruments and Volvo’s button-fest floating centre console that’s starting to look dated but is a breeze to use once you’re used to it.
Up front there’s plenty of room, and even with the (optional) panoramic roof all but the tallest drivers will be comfortable, although the back seat is rather more snug and the boot’s not the biggest in class. But as a family runaround it has its priorities right.
That includes the usual suite of Volvo safety stuff, but this car has the ‘must tick’ optional Driver Support PAck (£1,900) which throws in Collision Warning with Auto Brake, Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, Adaptive Cruise, Lane Keeping Aid, Driver Alert, Road Sign info and Volvo’s BLIS (Blind Spot warning) with cross traffic alert.
It’s a convincing package, but the extra money is going on something that’s more or less a cosmetic job, with all the stuff that matters already pure V40.
Performance on the Road
This Volvo V40 Cross Country comes with the latest Drive-E 2.0 litre D3 diesel engine, which delivers 148bhp and 236lb/ft of torque, enough for a 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds. And it feels lively too, with good pick up from low revs thanks to the decent wodge of torque and decent economy.
The headline economy figure (well, the ‘official’ headline economy) is 74.3 mpg, but in a week of mixed motoring – with a number of drivers with a heavy right foot – we managed 48.7mpg. We’re sure owners will see the right side of 50mpg a lot of the time, which is more than good enough.
Despite the higher ride, the V40 Cross Country doesn’t feel much different to the V40 (perhaps slightly firmer riding, which was a surprise), but the modest increase in ride height hasn’t made the Cross Country top heavy, so it still steers accurately (if not with a huge amount of feel) and handles with just a hint of body roll but no sense that it’s struggling to keep its line.
Around town the Cross Country is relaxed and quiet, and it’s a good motorway cruiser too, with the latest Drive-E D3 engine never really intruding. There’s also a lack of extraneous nose from wind and tyres. It’s a composed place to be.
The Volvo V40 Cross Country is tough to compare to any other car, and probably not different enough from the normal V40 hatch to justify the extra cost.
The lack of four-wheel drive on anything but the range-topping T5 means cars like this D3 really are almost entirely about the looks, beyond the advantage the slight increase in ride height gives when dropping down a kerb or negotiating a speed hump.
But, as you’d expect, the visual changes are subtly done and do look good, adding an extra layer of robustness without spoiling the very good looks of the V40 Hatch.
The new Drive-E engine is a good one too, although it sort of has the ‘middle child’ feel about it; not as frugal as the D2 and not as lively as the D4. But it offers a good balance of economy and performance and is quiet and fuss free.
If the looks of the V40 Cross Country appeal, then the extra cost (around £1k) for the CC over the Hatch is money well spent, and you’re getting a very good family hatch with a modicum of extra practicality in to the bargain.
But for our money we’d probably use the extra the Cross Country costs to have a normal V40 but with the livelier – and more appealing – D4 engine, and sacrifice the add-ons and ride height increase.
But if the Cross Country had a bit more ride height and four-wheel drive available on the diesel engines, then the verdict would probably be reversed.
But we’ll have to wait for the all new Volvo XC40 to arrive in a couple of years for that.
Volvo V40 Cross Country D3 Lux Nav Review Specs
- Engine: 1969cc, 148bhp
- Performance: 0-62mph 8.5 seconds / Top Speed 118mph
- Economy: 74.3mpg – Official / 48.7mpg – Test
- Emissions: 99g/km
- Price: £27,670 / Price as tested £36,620
- Test car supplied by Volvo UK
Volvo V40 Cross Country D3 Lux Nav Review test car options
Xenium Pack – £2,000
- Power Driver and Passenger Seat
- Fixed Panoramic Sunroof
- Park Assist Pilot
- Rear Park Assist Camera
Driver Support Pack – £1,900
- Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake
- Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection
- Adaptive Cruse Control (ACC) and Distance Alert
- Lane Keeping Aid
- Driver Alert Control (DAC) with Active High Beam
- Road Sign Information Display
- Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with Cross Traffic Alert (CTA)
Lux Winter Pack – £375
- Heated Front Seats
- Heated Front windscreen
- Illuminated Gear Knob
- 18” Mefetis (Diamond Cut/Dark Grey) with 225/40 Tyres £700
- Metallic Paint £550
- Keyless Drive (includes Keyless Entry and Keyless Start) with Personal Car Communicator £550
- Volvo on Call with App £450
- Sensus Connect with Premium Sound by Harmon Kardon (for Nav Models only) £500
- Dark Tinted Windows – Rear Side Doors and Cargo Area £300
- Active TFT Crystal Driver’s Information Display £300
- Frameless Autodimming Rear View Mirror £150
- Tempa Spare Wheel and Jack £150
- Flexible Load Floor with Grocery Bag Holder £100
- Exterior Styling Kit £695
- Roof Spoiler £230