In Latin, Volvo means “I roll”. And this is how I rolled for the past few days. Recently I spent some time with the Audi A3 Sedan, which, quite frankly, knocked the socks off me. I had my heart set and buying one, but my purchasing decision has just been made trickier after a week with the V40 Cross Country. It definitely didn’t disappoint, coming very close in terms of class, comfort and style.
Volvo has always been the leader when it comes to safety, having introduced the seat-belt in 1959 without patenting it, so that all car manufacturers could be safe. The V40 boasts a number of safety features and other characteristics that have found their way into our hearts.
When I first rolled in to a family event with the V40, my six year old cousin stopped what he was doing, looked at the car with wide eyes and exclaimed, “It looks like a spaceship!” We all had a good laugh, but I tend to agree that it has a modern-day design. It has some edgy curves which make it look tough but elegant at the same time – almost feline. The inside is space-agey as well. The leather seats and leather accents give it even more class, and the dashboard looks like it is alive; it has grooves and lines with accents of a skin-like nature. Volvo has always been known as a car made for the people, and the V40 is comfortable for all passengers, and is extremely driver-convenient. Someone really used their heads when designing the positioning of the equipment.
Sometimes basic is better
The digital instrument panel was able to impress my cousin, too. I showed him how it can be changed from “Performance” mode, to “Elegance” and then “Eco”, giving the car some personalization options. The V40 has all of the necessary basics you would expect in new cars these days – except that a navigation system is not standard. It has Bluetooth and USB capabilities that have been coupled with an above-average sound system that would suit a softer Frank Sinatra song, to pumping some Avicii. The air conditioner buttons are fancy too, in the shape of a person.
The Volvo V40 Cross Country is an absolute gem to drive. The five cylinder petrol engine is smooth and responsive and incredibly eager to please. It zips through traffic easily and the Park Assist really helps drivers manoeuvre the slightly bigger rear into parking spaces. Acceleration from 0-100km is 6.1 seconds. It’s such a smooth drive that it may get you running into a few traffic fines. Its speed is matched with silky suspension and effortless handling. It takes corners confidently. It feels incredibly safe – like a padded tank. Power is ample at 187kW and a torque figure of 360Nm. It might hurt the pocket a little bit, though. It has a claimed fuel consumption figure of 11.1l/100km. We managed to achieve 11.8l/100km.
Paying for quality
The Volvo V40 T5 model that we tested has the optional Elite package. Altogether, the car came to R428 500. We did compare the V40 to the Audi A3 Sedan – even in different segments, we believe they both aimed for the same goal. The A3 would set buyers back by R366 500, and that was with a few nice standard features – but the optional features are more expensive than the V40, so it really depends on what sort of features you add into your chariot.
I really enjoyed the quality of the Volvo V40 and felt a little sad to return it– but even in that short time, I managed to build some nice memories in it. It is a dynamic car that would suit more experienced young drivers, but it would also be a fantastic family ride.
Model: 2014 Volvo V40 Cross Country 2.5 Petrol
Price: Without extras, R411 800
Engine: Five Cylinder 2.5 Turbocharged Petrol
Power and Torque: 187kW and 360Nm
Fuel Consumption: 11.1l/100km (claimed)
Test Mileage: 350 Kilometres
Praises: Decent sound, great quality, luxurious drive
Gripes: Pricey, would be nice to have an automatic boot.