Ticks & crosses: Volvo's V40 Cross Country T4
Singapore — Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) are available in all shapes and sizes. But there is also a range of new cars that sit somewhere between a traditional hatchback and small SUV for owners who enjoy off-road-derived but do not want a large SUV.
SINGAPORE — Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) are available in all shapes and sizes. But there is also a range of new cars that sit somewhere between a traditional hatchback and small SUV for owners who enjoy off-road-derived but do not want a large SUV.
Volvo’s V40 Cross Country (CC) is a prime example of the breed, and we tested the recently facelifted version to find out what sort of boxes it ticks on the list of a potential crossover owner.
IT HAS AN AVENGER UPFRONT
The newest wave of big Volvos, the XC90 and S90, have made waves by being very strong alternatives to the usual trio of German luxury brands — Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. One reason for this is the Swedish car maker’s new styling language that is much more visually exciting than before. This is why the V40 CC, which was first launched in 2012, has received an extensive visual update to match its larger brethren.
The most noticeable feature of this nip-and-tuck is the LED daytime running light that the brand dubs Thor’s Hammer. A reshaped bumper, faux bash plates and a new design for the 18-inch wheels lend the V40 CC the sort of over-sized visual bite any small crossover worth its salt requires.
IT’S NOT JUST A PRETTY FACE
The V40 CC breaks the mould a little. Unlike most crossovers that favour frugality, it actually does have plenty of grunt. Unlike the standard V40 T2 that has a Cat A-friendly 122bhp engine, the V40 CC only has two engine options: Powerful and more powerful.
We drove the T4 variant that has a 2-litre engine and 190bhp, which immediately puts it in warm-hatch territory. We are willing to put up with the drivetrain’s occasional jerkiness since it delivers plenty of power and it even has an angry exhaust note to match. With a rough and tough face, and an engine to back it up, it is sort of the automotive equivalent of a honey badger, and can surprise much larger or racier-looking cars.
IT'S VERY COST-EFFECTIVE
Strangely enough though, the Volvo V40 CC’s power-trip does not end with just the T4. The T5 variant also has the same 2-litre turbo engine tuned to produce a grin-inducing 245bhp. It packs all-wheel drive and does 0-100kmh in a properly quick 6.1 seconds.
However, you pay for that with a thirstier engine. Its fuel efficiency figure of 6.9L/100km may be 1L/100km more than the T4 variant, but it is still very cost-effective if you want the most horsepower for your buck, at least in the small-luxury-crossover segment.
Cars like the BMW X1 sDrive20i, Infiniti Q30 Sport, Mercedes GLA 250 all cost about the same (approximately S$190,000 with COE) but have power outputs of 189bhp, 208bhp and 211bhp respectively.
IT DRIVES LIKE A HATCHBACK
Despite its off-road aspirations, the only significant mechanical difference between this car and the normal V40 is that its ride height is 40mm higher.
In engineering and car-handling terms, that is a big difference but the V40 CC still drives and behaves like a regular hatchback. With all that power, it is actually a little more fun to sling into corners. You can feel the exaggerated movements of the car without excessive amounts of body roll as well.
The main difference is a slight increase in tyre noise and reduction in ride quality, but it feels like Volvo has improved the latter from the pre-facelift model as well. In terms of practicality, it is like a normal V40: It has five doors and rear passenger space that is larger than a Mini’s but smaller than a Volkswagen Golf.
IT’S STILL AS SAFE AS A BANK
The V40 CC is well and truly a Volvo, so its tally of safety-equipment acronyms is longer than every other section on the vehicle’s decently-populated list of standard equipment.
Safety features include lane departure warning, City Safety, collision alerts and three separate braking assist systems. This is just as well since, if the popularity of crossovers and SUVs implies we all exist in an urban jungle full of potential pitfalls, the V40 CC will at least help you span some of them.
Volvo V40 Cross Country T4
Engine: 1,969cc, in-line four, turbocharged, 190hp, 300Nm
Performance: 210kmh, 0-100kmh: 7.1s, 5.9L/100km, 137g/km CO2
Price: S$149,999 with COE
PROS: Powerful engine, improved styling, pose value
CONS: Reduced ride quality and more tyre noise
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