Barnstorming Volvo

V40

Volvo V40 Cross Country, 2017, front, action
Volvo V40 Cross Country, 2017, front
Volvo V40 Cross Country, 2017, side
Volvo V40 Cross Country, 2017, rear, action
Volvo V40 Cross Country, 2017, rear
Volvo V40 Cross Country, 2017, interior
Volvo V40 Cross Country, 2017, boot
Volvo V40 Cross Country, 2017, centre console
Volvo V40 Cross Country, 2017, rear seats

MOST of the Volvo V40s sold in this country up to now have probably been diesels, because there is such a wide variety of them to choose from.

But at the top of the petrol range is the barnstorming T5, which is quicker to 60 miles an hour than the Ford Focus ST and quite a few other cars that are reckoned to be good performers.

I've just driven the Cross Country version, which has raised suspension and is the only car in the whole V40 range with four wheel drive (4WD).

That seems a bit strange really, because I'm sure people who live in the country would buy the diesel version fitted with it.

Mind you, in my experience, many farmers take their two wheel drive cars across the fields when they want to and don't even think about it.

I knew one who transported sheep in the back seat of his Mercedes E Class.

The T5 has a 2.0-litre turbo powerplant producing an excellent 245bhp but is only available in Pro spec at the top of the range and with a standard eight-speed automatic gearbox

This is not a car that you buy for economy but for performance. It is hugely quick from any speed, with massive reserves of power under the right foot.

The engine is quiet and refined throughout most of its rev range and will also pull from low revs when the gearbox allows.

This has Drive, Sport and Manual settings and most owners - as ever - will rarely bother doing the changes themselves because the automatic does it so well.

It's very good in normal Drive, which I used 90 per cent of the time, but click it into Sport and everything becomes that much more immediate and responsive, with a quicker kickdown and higher speeds in every gear.

Because of this performance and its excellent and very safe cornering, it is very enjoyable for an enthusiast like me.

After a jaunt to see friends, the motorway was like a snaking car park and, luckily, I spotted it as I approached and took an alternative turning off the junction.

Then I took a good look at the maps on the standard sat nav and drove home on minor A and B roads, enjoying myself immensely.

The cornering stability, helped by that 4WD, gave fantastic road holding and the handling was also very good, except for steering slightly lacking in feel.

It was also comfortable on smoother surfaces, but on back roads I did feel a lot of the bumps and lumps in the surface. This is also true around town, although never too bad.

The sat nav is not touchscreen controlled and is operated by small buttons in the centre console, which is not the easiest.

Other equipment includes automatic lights and wipers, multi-function steering wheel, voice activation, radar controlled cruise, keyless entry and starting, parking sensors with a camera, electric heated leather seats, alloys and alarm.

It also has start/stop, but this only works if you keep your foot on the brake. That often means your brakelights dazzle people behind, so I always use the parking brake when stopped in traffic. The start/stop needs to operate on that too as the best already do.

FAST FACTS

Price: £34,730

Mechanical: 245bhp, 1,969cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving four wheels via an 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 130mph

0-62mph: 6.1 seconds

Combined MPG: 44

Insurance Group: 30

C02 emissions: 149g/km

Bik rating: 28%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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