It seems to me that the whole soft roader range started with a the Volvo XC70. Back when raised cars with all-wheel drive were deemed to be practical and more fuel efficient than the 4×4 counterparts.
Why would you need a full blown 4×4 if you only ever venture onto gravel and hardly do anything extreme?
This brings the V40 Cross Country to the table. You see, it’s based on the same platform as the regular V40, but with raised suspension and bigger side walled tires to smooth things out on rough country gravel roads.
The model we have here is the top spec front wheel drive T5 with a very healthy 187kw and 360nm, featuring an over-boost function to 400nm. For those of you who are familiar with hot hatches, that is right up there with the Focus ST, Renault Megane and even more powerful than the VW Golf GTI. As a result, 0-100kph comes up in a claimed 6.1seconds and even while this car is fitted with a geartronic auto box, it’s incredibly smooth and puts the power down very well. There is some torque steer when you gun it out of the blocks, but to me that’s just a reminder of how much power there actually is on tap.
Fuel consumption is to be expected a little bit heavier than the T4 and D4, but if you drive sensibly, you will be pleasantly rewarded. We averaged a very impressive 6.9l/100km on our highway drive, which was about 40km long. When driven more enthusiastically, you will see closer to 9-11l/100km, however as soon as the sensible you gets back to normal driving mode, the figures drop very quickly.
The T5 tested is the top of the line Elite model, fitted with an array of electronic goodness. With a really convenient keyless drive setup, getting in and going is a quick affair by just hitting the start button and off you go; we prefer this as opposed to slotting the key into the ignition and then doing the starting procedure. We also had a superb sound system with 8 speakers that are all amplified by an internal amplifier. The unit also supports Navigation, DVD and USB and Bluetooth audio which it also streams. The overall interior feeling is upmarket and sporty, which is good.
After all, you do have nearly 190kw on tap!
Power and speed goes hand in hand with safety and fortunately you are in the hands of one of the best, if not the safest manufacturer. Volvo has become synonymous with safety and this V40 is no different. With the City Safety (auto brake) feature as standard, as well as advanced stability control and dynamic stability and traction control, the ECU will ensure that you keep your 4 wheels firmly planted on terra-firma!
Driver and passenger with driver knee, side curtain airbags and side impact protection are all standard features on the V40. There are also the ISOFIX rear attachment points and also 5, 3 point seat belts.
The V40 Cross Country is an incredibly fun-to-drive little package that will surprise nearly all of the hot hatches at the robots. The way the power is put down makes overtaking a breeze at nearly any speed. Prices start at R395 100 for the T5.
The V40 T5 also features Volvo’s 5 year /100 000km Volvo Plan. For more info, check out Volvocars.co.za