Volvo V40 Cross Country: Little bit country, little bit rock 'n' roll

By Liz Dobson

Volvo's new luxury crossover model has oodles of macho appeal, writes Liz Dobson

The Volvo V40 Cross Country T5 petrol has just been launched in New Zealand. It's 40mm highter than the V40 hatch.Photo / Liz Dobson
The Volvo V40 Cross Country T5 petrol has just been launched in New Zealand. It's 40mm highter than the V40 hatch.Photo / Liz Dobson

Although Volvo are well known worldwide for being most loved by the yummy mummy set, the Swedish car company is now adding some testosterone to its line-up.

The V40 hatchback was launched in New Zealand late last year and the car has made an impact on the market, thanks to its sporty look.

While lack of supply from Europe has affected expected sales here (see page 9), Volvo NZ is celebrating this week with the addition of the macho version - the V40 Cross Country.

Sitting 40mm taller than the hatchback, the vehicle is being put into the luxury compact crossover segment by Volvo NZ.

General manager Stephen Kenchington said the Cross Country would be competing against the Mini Countryman, BMW's X1 and even Subaru's XV.

The company already has two big players in the crossover segment - its mid-size XC60, one of the top sellers for Volvo NZ, and the beefy XC90.

Volvo is quick to point out that the "XC" stands for rugged off-roader, while the Cross Country combines city and out-of-town duties.

The Cross Country will be available in a diesel and petrol versions. The D4 has a 2-litre, five-cylinder turbodiesel engine that delivers 130kW/400Nm and has fuel efficiency of 5.2litre/100km. It's priced from $62,990.

The T5 has a 2.5-litre, five-cylinder petrol engine with 187kW/360Nm and 8.1litre/100km in combined cycle driving.

Both vehicles gain the luxury package as standard, only available in the hatchback as an option, which includes dual exhausts, electric front seats, voice-controlled satnav system, leather seats and a 17cm multimedia screen.

An optional driver-support pack ($5500) is available for the two models, offering such safety features as adaptive cruise control with collision warning, blind spot information system, driver alert and lane departure warning.

The petrol V40 CC T5 has square exhaust pipes (left) while the diesel has round ones (right). Photo / Liz Dobson
The petrol V40 CC T5 has square exhaust pipes (left) while the diesel has round ones (right). Photo / Liz Dobson

The D4 comes with a six-speed adaptive gearbox while the automatic T5 gains AWD capability.

But as Kenchington pointed out at the media launch this week, buyers in this segment aren't always after off-road capability. "Most people want the look but not the functionality of a 4WD."

The five-door Cross Country gains the looks of an SUV through 18in alloys, honeycomb mesh grilles, side and rear skid plates and roof rails.

It retains the V40 hatchback's angular rear with a large side panel of rear lights from the roof to the bottom of the rear window frame.

But due to the skid plates, there is a stronger macho look while the T5 gains dual square exhausts and the D4 has rounded ones.

Inside, the D4 has a brushed chrome finish to the centre console while the T5 gains a retro look, thanks to the lines running to the right of the layout.

Volvo is, of course, especially pleased with the standard safety features in the Cross Country including pedestrian airbag fitted under the bonnet, cyclist detection, and rear-view camera.

First up during the New Zealand launch this week around the Clevedon area was the T5 petrol, its height being the first notable difference between the hatch and the Cross Country.

It gives that higher driver position which is one of the most influential aspects of the crossover segment and a reason these vehicles are dominating the previously favoured station wagons.

The AWD was noticeable in the winding, tarmac roads from Clevedon to Kaiaua via Kawakawa Bay, the turbocharged engine coming into play when overtaking campervans meandering along the coastal trail.

At the Firth of Thames township, it was time to swap into the D4 to take the inland road to Hunua. Moving through a stop sign, the automatic had slight hesitation moving from first to second, but once at full force sat comfortably on the road.

After a brief stint in the facelift XC60 which joined the Cross Countries on the launch, it was easy to see why some buyers love the height of the compact crossovers but without the bulk or price tag of the SUVs.

- NZ Herald

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