Filled To The Brim | Volvo V40 Cross Country D2

BY Azfar Hashim

This jacked-up V40 with a diesel lump proved to be one of the best bargains in our market

Photos: Azfar Hashim

You would usually associate Volvos with the words ‘boxy’ and ‘predictable’. That’s not saying nothing has changed because it has, pretty much, remained the same even today.

Which is not a bad thing. The still boxy shape of the V40, even in this Cross Country guise, simply means you will get a rather useful cabin. Predictable, on the other hand, should be good for consumers who want a nice but not overly fancy car to buy.

Weird, eh? It’s only the introduction to this article and the V40 Cross Country has already been summed up. But wait a minute ya’ll, there’s more than meets the eye with this diesel-powered V40 Cross Country.

Firstly as the name suggests, this V40 Cross Country can, really, cross our country; from the east to the west several times on a full tank, that is. You see, Volvo emphasized that their diesel range — the ones with the ‘D2’ badge the next time you are in the showroom — is the perfect solution for the sort of consumers who chalk high mileage on a regular basis. Powering this — take a deep breathe — Volvo V40 Cross Country D2 is an 8-valve, 1,560 cc turbodiesel powerplant. It may sound a little unorthodox to hear of an 8-valver these days, but it does make sense: lesser valves means a lighter engine and front-end, to put it very simply. No powaah, you say? That is where the turbocharger comes in. Rather smart though…

Mated to a 6-speed Powershift dual-clutch auto transmission (supplied by Getrag), maximum power output is rated at 115 bhp. Ok, so at this point some of you may feel the number’s rather measly, considering a similarly priced petrol Hyundai i40 Wagon and Mercedes-Benz B200 offers 166 bhp and 154 bhp respectively. But here’s the V40’s trump card: it has 280 Nm of torque on tap, which is more than the other two.

And it’s lively. Although Volvo rated a 0-100 km/h timing of 12.1 seconds, the V40 feels faster than that. Power delivery is progressive than outright fiery, and the engine climbs up to 5,000 rpm willingly. The transmission works in tandem brilliantly as well, working smoothly on it’s way up. It’s just unfortunate though, that steering-mounted paddle shifters are not even available as a cost option; after all, it would be nice to be able to swap your own gears without your hands having to leave the steering wheel. Because downshifts can come across as a little slow when you need to overtake as quickly as possible.

Cruising along the expressway, the V40 is surprisingly well mannered despite those arch-filling 19-inch alloys. The suspension is well set-up, absorbing road undulations with aplomb without throwing passengers around. That’s not saying the car is soft; far from that. It’s the sort that satisfies the driver and at the same time provides comfort for the in-laws. On top of that, the cabin is well suppressed against engine and wind noise; nope, you don’t hear any diesel clatter.

Driven enthusiastically, the V40 is highly capable although body-roll is rather obvious. Oh, the steering, despite being sharp and precise, feels a tad superficial. On the other hand, the anchors work brilliantly; it doesn’t feel over-servoed at low speeds and you don’t get any fading sensation when you give it a hard stomp at three-figure speeds (#thumbsup).

Interior wise, the V40 impresses with (a) it’s build quality and (b) clear layout. The buttons are placed exactly where they are, and if you’re the sort who’s familiar with the previous Volvo S40/V50, you won’t get lost here. The TFT speedo/tachometer adds a cool touch, and you can even change the background colour according to your mood for the day.

A wide glass-roof comes standard here, and that provides additional airiness to the otherwise dark cabin.

Leg and headroom for rear passengers are good for average-sized adults, but slightly taller fellow human beings may complaint. Boot is highly practical, and should be useful for a week’s worth of luggage. If you do need more space, simply fold the backrest, keep the parcel shelf away and… tadaa… you can put the whole of Bedok back there.

At the end of the day, what the Volvo V40 Cross Country D2 offer is a lot of car for that $159,999 (not including other rebates and discounts BTW) asking price. There’s practicality, a cool exterior and an extensive list of equipment; before I forget, Lane Departure Warning (the steering wheel will vibrate if you deviate off your lane), Forward Collision Warning (a loud alarm will sound when the car detects you are too near to the car ahead) and Road Sign Information System (alerts you of the legal speed limit on the stretch of road you are on) are some of the standard goodies.

So, if you want style, good fuel economy, style, practicality and style, the D2 diesel variant of the V40 Cross Country is highly recommended.