The feeling of familiarity we’ve had when entering the car, despite this being our first date, is amplified once you get moving. The Volvo V40 Cross Country is very easy to drive, be it slow or fast. From the shape of the seats to the power delivery, this thing comes with an extended acceptance of the word “ergonomics”.
We’re gripping the steering wheel of our T5 AWD tester and we can’t help but smile a bit. There’s something unique about the way in which the massive center, which reminds us of old Volvo wagons, meets the thick, sporty rim. The latter, with its flat sides, makes us think about Polestar stuff. Let’s not get too excited though, as this is connected to a steering that’s just fair.
The T5 AWD model we drove offers an experience that’s usually hard to find. It provides the firepower of a hot hatch, but doesn’t offer that feeling of a dazzling progress on a B road. This is replaced with an aura of comfort that is normally characteristic for larger cars.
Step on it and you’ll understand how the vehicle is set up. The Volvo V40 Cross Country works best for cruising, driven somewhere up to eight tenths. There are important reserves and, between 3,000 and 7,000 rpm, the muscle comes in a linear way. The lack of turbo lag and the smooth operation of the automatic gearbox work together to provide a pleasant feeling of dependability.
The ratios are balanced and while a seventh gear would be good for the efficiency, you don’t get to feel the need for one as a driver. That’s because the powerplant has enough resources to sustain a normal trip at relatively low revs. Speaking of efficiency, the overall figure returned during our test drive was 18.5 mpg (12.7 liters per 100 km).
And if you do insist with the throttle, the transmission will send a slight shock through the car as it upshifts, reminding you that this thing can cover the 0 to 62 mph sprint in 6.1 seconds. Keep up the foot work and up to about 124 mph (200 km/h) the acceleration is strong by any standards. Don’t worry though, the other people in the car can be aware of your speed at all times. In the right upper corner of the navigation screen, the system displays the velocity in a way that makes the Ferrari FF
’s passenger display seem a bit ridiculous.
In the same manner, the soundtrack is always restrained, but the car does allow a fair degree of communication, just enough to keep you from getting bored.
Compared to the normal V40, the Cross Country does lean a bit more in the corners, but this never becomes a problem, as the difference is small and you get more comfort in return. The Cross Country says “no” to the wheel scheme of the V40 and borrows the one of the Volvo V70. Nevertheless, we’d advise you to stick to the 17-inch rims, despite the offer going all the way up to 19 inches. It would be a pity to ruin the ride.
As for the handling, it doesn’t matter if you have the DTSC On or in Sport mode (there’s no Off), on dry tarmac the car won’t let its rear cross the line one millimeter - it stays neutral.
We’re on the highway now and we see a pair of mountain bikes sitting quietly on top of an estate. Yep, it’s a Volvo XC70. As we get side by side, we check out our cars and it all ends with a mutual thumbs-up.
This brief encounter has made us thirsty. We’d really like some mud or sand right now and this is what we’re going to have. The Volvo V40 Cross Country isn’t the kind of car that you take offroading for sheer pleasure, but you can rely on it even when things get rough.
Switching the DTSC to Sport mode allows controlled slides and the low mass of the car means that its movements are easy to predict no matter how low the grip is. Nice. If only we could have some ice with the V40 Cross Country...Continue reading
Hold on, Mary would like to say something...
OK, screw you Volvo, I give up! Dear God, my ears must be bleeding. You know me, I like wild challenges, so when I got behind the wheel, I left by seatbelt off intentionally and I wanted to see if I can stand the beeps long enough to make the car shut up. Lesson learned, you never mess with a Volvo.
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