April 22, 2015 @ 03:11 PM

Review: Volvo V40 T5 Cross Country

Does it make sense to pay an RM10k premium over the already formidable V40 T5 for a meagre 21mm increment in ride height? Asks Arvind Kumar

Does it make sense to pay an RM10k premium over the already formidable V40 T5 for a meagre 21mm increment in ride height? Asks Arvind Kumar
 
Perhaps it’s an argument of semantics versus mathematics. The V40 hatch and Cross Country both share the same engine, carry the same amount of people, emit the same amount of CO2,  yet one costs more than the other. But drive a V40 CC and you’ll realise it’s every bit worth the asking price. Forget Cross Country this car will cross continents with ease.

Exterior (Score: 3.5/5)
 
The hatchback architecture still remains, albeit with the ride height increased by some 21mm. The svelte lines of the hatch have been preserved, albeit sporting a slightly greater sense of occasion owing to the higher (21mm) ride height. The elegant headlamps up front flank a streamlined grille which sits above the rugged and matt-finished bumper trim and the whole lots sets up for very streamlined proportions up front. The pinched beltline moves backwards towards a beautiful rear end – my favourite in the segment right now. The looks of the V40 manage to be subtle yet fancy at the same time.

Interior (Score: 3.5/5)

No complains here, the Copper Dawn trim of the centre console look and feel beautiful. The rather small knob of on the top right which controls the range of multimedia and car setup functions does take some getting used to, but elsewhere the dashboard touch points are tactile and soft to the touch. The leather hemmed steering wheel is the business and it sits fore of a lovely instrument display. Neat cubby holes galore and the execution of the interior are better and more luxurious than the equivalent VW Golf or 1-Series BMW in my opinion. The two-tone leather seats are pleasantly comfortable and there’s little complains about head, shoulder and legroom either. Over the course of a six-hour drive, this car proved to be an immensely comfortable and serene place to be in, reinforcing its Cross Country credentials.  

Power and handling (Score: 4/5)

Here’s the biggest surprise of the V40 Cross Country but the engine that dispenses 213bhp and 300Nm at 2700rpm wasn’t it though! I mean, yes the power is definitely there and the six-speed Aisin unit definitely drives the front-wheels effectively. Albeit with slightly tallish ratios - on one instance, while pushing the car really hard, it finally shifted into sixth gear while doing 180kph!

The surprise was actually the balance and poise of the car. Well into three figure speeds, the V40 CC still manages to track beautifully and with such surefootedness previously unheard of for this segment. There’s non-existent wind noise, and the suspension offer brilliant bump-soaking leaving the car clamped to the ground. It’s not stiff too, around the city, it’s comfortable and at speed it remains supple yet connected to the tarmac. It’s not a B-road blaster hence I could forgive the steering for lacking feel, but on a motorway, the CC is in its element. 
Tech and Safety (Score: 4.5/5)

Well, ask anyone and they would tell you what Volvo is good for. No difference here, the V40 CC houses all the same safety functions of the hatch and that include ABS, EBD, Traction Control and seven-airbags. It commands a five-star ANCAP rating and even the brake judder upon ABS activation does not cause violent kick-back to the foot pedals. 

Summary

It costs a smidge over RM200k, so it’s not exactly cheap. But drive one and you’ll instantly notice the quality of the CC’s execution, a 21mm increment over the hatch’s ride height is arguably not going to make much of a difference off-road so the choice of selecting this would have to come down to the look and feel and if it justifies the premium over the V40 T5 hatch. Where it does shine though, is its driving dynamics – this car is powerful, safe and almost flawless at speed. Yet it’s unassuming and very talented.

Overall score: 15.5/20
Volvo V40 T5 2.0 Cross Country
Price
RM202,888 OTR without insurance
Engine
1984cc, 4-cyl, DOCH in-line petrol turbocharged VVT engine 213bhp @ 6000rpm, 300Nm @ 2700rpm
Transmission
6-speed conventional auto, front-wheel drive
Performance
6.9sec 0-100kph, 210kph, 7.5l/100km(claimed), 174g/km
Weight
1540kg
 

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