[Review] Volvo V40 Cross Country D2

Most people have the tendency to link diesel engines with ridiculous pollution and emissions, and to a further unfortunate extent, taxis. Diesel cars, to be honest, haven’t exactly been the most popular choice among Singaporean drivers, but this is about to change with the launch of several diesel technological-powered rides, one of which – the new Volvo V40 Cross Country D2.

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I’ve never been a fan of diesel engines myself, not to mention hatchbacks. But my perception on diesel and hatches did change after a couple of days behind the wheels of the D2, courtesy of Wearnes Automobile.

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Exterior

A first glance at the V40 will set it apart from the usual Volvo marks, namely the S80 “solid-like-a-tank” sedan or the ever-huge XC90 our security command loves. The V40, nimble and yet sporty-looking, is perhaps one of the best and sleekest looking hatches in the market now.

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The V40 Cross Country edition comes standard with Volvo’s honeycomb mesh grille, vertical LED daytime running lights, and a rear skid plate – all of which you won’t get to enjoy if you opt for the normal variant. Options for the Cross Country also include 19 inch factory gloss black rims, something which I felt gave the V40 CC a level up in terms of aggressive looks. If you’re also an avid cyclist, the V40 D2 also comes with the option of a bicycle rack, enhancing the entire “Cross Country” look of the hatch, but unfortunately, also increasing your fuel consumption.

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InteriorIWT_5276

With only one colour tone for you to enjoy, the V40 CC comes standard with brown stitching on black leather. As dull as you might think it is, I felt the dark colour tone was a good compliment to the trademark Volvo centre console panel.

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The V40 CC also comes with convenience features such as an engine start/stop button, as well as a panoramic glass roof. Unfortunately, the glass roof, due to the curvature of the hatch, cannot be opened – quite redundant, if you ask me.

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A trademark since eons ago, Volvo’s center console panel allows you to exercise great flexibility while driving, with the various controls literally at your fingertips. A press of a button switches from CD mode to FM radio, and another press activates your Bluetooth capability, allowing you to even dial numbers on the keypad.

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It is, however, a pity that the V40 CC does not come standard with navigation.

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If there’s a more attractive feature in the car, I would definitely say it’s the full graphic display on the 8″ Adaptive Digital Display dashboard. Depending on your driving habits, you can choose between PerformanceElegance, or Eco. Performance (as depicted above) boasts a red background, tuning up a digital speedometer and replacing the center dial with it’s tachometer. There’s also a power gauge to show you how much power is available at any one point in time!

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The Elegance theme (as above) is a little more subtle, having a brown and calm background with the speedometer taking over the center dial. A bit boring, if you ask me.

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And for those who are bent on driving so economically, the Eco theme (as above) allows you to feel “environmentally savvy” with the green background, and also includes an Eco meter giving you economical guidance. Another feature that I used only once.

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The rear of the V40 CC sits three comfortably. Understandably, given the fact that it’s a hatch, four might be a tad squeezy, and the lack of air conditioning at the rear might make it a little bit too stuffy for comfort.

The drive

Be warned, the V40 CC D2 might sound a little noisy if you’ve been on a petrol ride for most of your life. It is, however, significantly quieter than most other diesel technology on the roads.

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At a 115 horses, the 1,560 cc turbo powered V40 CC is surprisingly responsive and picks up wonderfully from the lights, thanks to it’s 270 Nm of torque under the hood. It, however, may be a hassle to overtake on the expressway, given that it’s mid-range torque isn’t that fantastic.

While it’s 12.1 second acceleration to the 100 km/h mark isn’t remarkable, you’d be more concerned and amazed by the fuel consumption. On paper, it reads 4.1 L/100 km. In real life on a medium-to-occasionally-heavy foot, I clocked 4.5 L/100 km, if my calculations do not fail me. How’s that for good fuel economy?

The V40 CC also comes standard with the usual safety features (e.g. stability control traction control… etc). But stats and plain features aside, what caught my eye was the integration of smart technology such as City Safety, which automatically brakes your car if you fail to react on time. This however, is active up to 50 km/h.

Another feature which honestly annoyed me quite a bit was the Lane Keeping Aid, which basically is extra steering feedback delivered to your steering wheel when you veer too close to the lane marking. Active between 65 km/h to 200 km/h, this is usually accompanied by a series of beeps, which you have to manually turn off every time you start the car.

And for you speedsters, you’d be pleased to know that the speed limit of the roads are now reflected on your dash – no more peering around for that red circle by the side of the roads to see if you’re at risk of being fined. This feature apparently works by radar detection, so I presume there must be a physical road sign for the car to read.

Conclusion

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At S$159,999, the new Volvo V40 Cross Country D2 is still a very competitive and attractive Category A premium hatch available. Avid drivers may not be used to the occasional lag that the car throws out, but it ultimately will make a very comfortable and enjoyable ride for most in the market.

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What I like:
– Extremely good fuel economy
– Good looking – possibly one of the best looking hatches in the market
– Comfortable ride, especially over bumps and potholes

What I don’t like:
– Acceleration may not be as fast as you’d expect – overtaking would require a little bit more patience
– Sealed panoramic roof

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