Road tests / Car Reviews: Volvo V40 T5 Cross Country 2014

Road tests / Car Reviews: Volvo V40 T5 Cross Country 2014

IMG_0276It may sit 40mm higher than a standard V40 hatch but the all-wheel-drive V40 T5 Cross Country pictured here is more of a crossover hot hatch than a hardcore off-road SUV.

Don’t let the raised driving height, durable front and rear body kit, side scuff plates and rear skid plate fool you into thinking otherwise.

IMG_0286This is a very civilised hot hatch that can scoot down a bridle path, or a dirt road, or climb a snowy hill, but it hasn’t quite got the go almost anywhere attributes of the taller and more off-road focussed Volvo XC-90 or XC-60 SUV models.

To simply matters even further, Volvo New Zealand only offers one Luxury grade on the V40 Cross Country, so the front wheel drive D4 2-litre turbo diesel model retails from $62,990 while the all-wheel-drive 2.5-litre turbocharged five-cylinder T5 retails from $66,900.

This puts the T5 V40 Cross Country firmly into the territory occupied by another sporty all-wheel-drive turbocharged machine, notably the $68,500 VW Golf R, and also the front-wheel-drive Mercedes-Benz A 250 Sport at $64,900.

It’s also very well equipped as you would expect from a European car. A late uncle of mine always referred to the Volvo brand as the “practical mans Mercedes-Benz” and there is still much merit in that description.

Standard features on the V40 Cross Country luxury models IMG_0282include seven airbags, leather upholstery, power adjustable and heated front seats, Volvo navigation, Bluetooth, rear parking sensors, rear camera, cruise control, adaptive digital display, bi-xenon headlamps with headlight wash system, copper dawn decor inlays, compass in a frameless rear view mirror, and a high performance multimedia system with seven inch display.

While the cabin is very nicely detailed and appointed, it feels cosy, especially with that coupe-like roof line, and the rear three quarter view is most certainly compromised by the svelte styling. Never before have I been so grateful for a reversing camera as well as rear parking sensors when IMG_0300negotiating parallel parking or backing out of driveways.

Four occupants will be comfortable in the leather lined cabin of the V40 Cross Country, five might be a bit of a squeeze, but they can be assured that they are sitting in one of the safest cars in the class, because Volvo has its reputation to uphold.

The Volvo city safety system has been upgraded to become active at speeds up to 50km/h, and the car will automatically apply the brakes if it fast approaching a stationary vehicle and there is no reaction from the driver.

Customers can also choose from two option packs.  The $5,500 driver support pack includes adaptive cruise control, blind spot information system with cross traffic alert, driver alert system and park assist pilot.

The other option available is a lifestyle pack for $3500 which includes 18 inch Mafitis light grey alloy wheels, keyless entry and drive with Volvo guard alarm, heated front seats, and tinted rear side door windows and a tinted glass in the rear hatchback.

IMG_0302The higher ride height of the V40 Cross Country appeals favourably to people who want the attributes of a higher riding crossover or SUV without the bulkiness, and it’s interesting to note that the  D4 Luxury diesel version is only available in front-wheel-drive for this market rather than the all-wheel-drive system in the petrol powered T5 as tested here.

We found the all-wheel-drive system has it merits, particularly on rural dirt road or a slippery boat ramp, the V40 Cross Country has plenty of grip and poise.

This is especially reassuring given that the lusty five-cylinder turbo engine puts out 187kW/5400rpm and 360Nm of torque at 1800 rpm. The over boost function pushes that torque figure up to a diesel like 400Nm, its comforting to know that when you need to overtake, you’ve got plenty of horsepower to get past safely.

From point to point, the T5 V40 Cross Country is a quick car and a very pleasant steer, its very easy to flow through tight and winding corners at high velocity without upsetting the equilibrium of those other occupants on board.

IMG_0303Volvo quotes combined fuel consumption of 8.3L/100km, which we think would be quite possible on a long cross country road trip, but our limited urban running around with a few short motorway blasts saw consumption figure of 10L/100km.

Our test vehicle was one of the fleet lent by Volvo Cars New Zealand to Yachting New Zealand as part of a sponsorship deal to encourage young Kiwi kids to get out on the water and have a go.

Hence the car came equipped with a OEM approved tow bar as well as Volvo accessory roof bars fitted, which begged the question, could they also fit an accessory bicycle carrier?

Certainly came the reply from Volvo Cars NZ and a quick trip back to their head office saw the bicycle carrier fitted in minutes by the national service manager and national parts manager.

Not only is the Volvo bike carrier easily fitted to the roof bars, its also very easy to adjust when fitting a standard child’s or adults bicycle, however I discovered that with a small child’s mountain bike, it is better to have the handle bars facing rearwards, which then gives a better fit for the gripping arm to fit around the bottom frame and secure the bike more firmly.

The other benefit of using a roof rail mounted bike carrier is that there is less likelihood of damage to  the tailgate by using a tow bar mounted system, or less likelihood of damage by trying to fit the bike inside the rear of the car with the seats folded down.

The person who was most impressed by the bike carrier was my little buddy Max (aged 10) as it enabled us to take his bike from home to the local park where he could safely ride around without worrying about oncoming traffic and/or pedestrians.

Watching his face light up was worth the little bit of wind noise created by the roof rails and bicycle carrier, but I’m sure most owners will disassemble both and will store them safely away when not in use.

The T5 V40 Cross Country won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but it’s certainly a compelling choice for New Zealanders who want a practical luxury vehicle that suits their sporting or outdoor lifestyle but don’t want a bulky SUV.

Is it still the practical mans Mercedes-Benz? Quite possibly.

Price: $66,990

 

 

Pros 

  • Raised driving height is beneficial in city traffic
  • Great performance and handling
  • Comfortable and well equipped 

Cons

  • Rear styling limits rear headroom for tall passenger
  • Needs reversing camera for parking manoeuvres
  • Fuel consumption could be better in urban use

 

Specifications:

Engine: In-line 5-cylinder turbo petrol

Transmission: Six-speed automatic with stop/start

Drivetrain :All-wheel-drive

Displacement: 2497cc

Power output: 187kw/5400rpm

Torque: 360Nm/1800rpm (400Nm overboost)

Acceleration: 0-100km/h 6.4sec

Fuel economy: 8.3L/100km

C02 emissions: 194g/km

Turns to lock: 2.5

Turning circle: 10.8 metres

Chassis: McPherson strut front suspension, multi-ink independent rear

Weight: 1639kg

Audio and Communication

  • Bluetooth® phone connection and audio streaming
  • High performance multimedia: aM/FM radio, single cD/DvD, MP3, 4×45 w, 8 speakers with 7” screen
  • UsB port for iPod connectivity
  • Volvo navigation system with advanced voice control

Interior

  • Automatically dimming inner rear-view mirror
  • Cruise control with trip computer
  • Compass – inner rear-view mirror
  • Driver’s information module with 8” TFT screen
  • Electronic climate control – dual zone with cooled glove box Floor mats – textile
  • Gear shift knob leather
  • Handbrake in leather
  • Inlays – copper Dawn
  • Interior lighting package
  • Instrumentation – personalised TFT display with three different settings seats – power front seats with memory for driver side and mirrors steering – power assisted and variable
  • Steering wheel – adjustable wheel in leather, 3 spoke with inlays Upholstery – charcoal comfort leather
  • Windows – electric front and rear
  • 12 v outlet in cargo area

Exterior

  • alloy wheels – 18” Mefitis black matte automatic windscreen wipers
  • Fog light at rear with auto-off
  • Glossy black surround for side windows
  • Headlights – bi-xenon active bending lights incl. headlight wash system Headlights – home safe, approach and puddle lamps (in door mirrors)
  • Headlights – LED day running lights
  • Park camera – rear-view
  • Park sensors – rear alert
  • Rear-view wing mirrors – electrically adjustable, heated and retractable l
  • Roof rails – bright finish
  • Roof spoiler
  • Tailpipes – dual exhaust

Safety and security

  • Airbags – driver dual stage and knee and passenger dual stage
  • Airbags – inflatable curtains
  • Anti-lock brake system with ready alert brakes
  • Central locking with key integrated remote control and immobiliser
  • City safety
  • Childproof electric lock function on rear passenger doors
  • Dynamic stability and traction control
  • Electronic brake distribution
  • Electronic immobiliser
  • Emergency brake assist
  • Emergency brake lights
  • Global open/close all windows and sunroof
  • Intelligent driver information system
  • IsoFIX child seat system on outer rear seats
  • Pedestrian protection system with external pedestrian airbag
  • Seat belt reminder for all seats & rear belt detection
  • Seat belts – pyrotechnical pretentioners
  • Side impact protection system with airbags in front seats
  • Temporary 16” spare wheel l warning triangle
  • Whiplash protection system for front seats

 

Words and photos:

 

 

 

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