URBAN EXPLORING: Stand out in the Volvo V40 Cross Country
As one of the most important segments in the South African market, the premium hatchback segment has traditionally been a German affair with the Audi A3, Mercedes A-class and the BMW 1-series dominating sales charts. In recent times however, competition has increased as more and more manufactures embark on the quest to topple the teutonic trio.
Launched in 2012, the task lying ahead of the new Volvo V40 couldn’t be higher as it was not only set to rival the Germans, but also serve as replacement for the C30 hatch and the S40 sedan. Now, two years after its launch, Volvo has gone one step further by adding a unique in class model to the range, the V40 Cross Country.
Compared to the normal 2014 SA Car of the Year finalist, the Cross Country features a slightly raised ride height, sliver skid plates at the base of the doors and underneath the front and rear bumpers, satin silver roof rails, blacked out mirrors, smart black 17 inch alloy wheels and a full length panoramic roof. Although still very much a V40, the Cross Country treatment has turned the car into a macho-looking mini-crossover.\
Similarly, it is hard to find fault with the interior as it is one of the best in its class today. Soft touch plastics are abundant while the traditional floating centre hangdown section has been finished in brushed aluminium. Another ‘new age’ feature is the TFT (Thin-film transistor) LCD instrument display, which provides digital elements such as speed and fuel consumption, but in an analogue display.
Where the Cross Country shines however, is the bomb that lies underneath the bonnet. The D3 is propelled by a 2.0-litre five cylinder turbodiesel engine with 110 kW and 350 N.m of torque. Power is channelled through the front-wheels via a six-speed Geartronic automatic box while fuel consumption is a claimed 5.2 l /100 km.
On the move, the Cross Country features a firm ride setup, hinting at a touch of sportiness. Most evident however, is when you exercise your right toe and put the box into Sport mode. Kickdown is, literally, a kick in the back accompanied by a surge of low down torque which could easily become an addiction.
Generally, the selection of a non-German premium vehicle is seen as a somewhat left field option. In the case of the Volvo V40 Cross Country, being left has never been this good.
To book a test drive, visit Volvo Cars Port Elizabeth at 355 Cape Road, Newton Park or phone 041 365 0035.
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