Volvo V40 Cross Country : Road Test
There’s a lot to be said about Volvos these days. The Swedish company’s cars might be revered for their unprecedented levels of safety and engineering, but these days there’s much more to them which meets the eye, literally. Design wise, Volvo has taken quite a few dramatic leaps and heralding this change in way they do things have been the S60 sedan, in India at least. Pre-S60, what we got were pretty much Euro-boxes in terms of design, such as the S80 and the XC90.
These were brilliantly put together mind you, and were great to drive, but parked next to any of their Teutonic rivals, wouldn’t attract more than a flitter of attention. With the S60 and after, you have a paradigm shift in aesthetics from functional Mommy-wagons to more youthful and exuberant designs, almost futuristic to a certain extent, which do an incredible job looking distinctly different from anything else from Europe. After the S60, we got the brilliant XC60 soft-roader and now, the latest arrival from Sweden is another crossover, the V40 Cross Country, but the ‘Cross Country’ suffix seems like it might be in name only.
Say what you might, but at a quick glance, the V40 Cross Country does appear to have a few off-road genes ingrained into the design, most notable of which is the black plastic cladding that runs around the perimeter of the car.
Then there’s the aluminium cladding on the chin at the front and the massive aluminium bash plate on the rear bumper with the words “Cross Country” embossed boldly across. But all one has to do is look at the ground clearance and realise that this V40 really is what you might call a ‘low-flier’. Just about 145mm of ground clearance and massive front overhangs might be acceptable for a soft-roader in Europe, but in India, this kinda stuff just don’t fly.
Regardless of its actual off-road prowess, the V40 certainly is a stunning looking machine. The big two-part honeycomb grille, the vertical fog lamps, gorgeous 17-inch alloy wheels and an incredible combination of curves and straight lines across the design all ooze style from every angle. And then there are those gorgeously curvaceous tail lights which flow into the inward curved rump. This is one hatch that’ll draw as many eyeballs, if not more, than the current benchmark in premium hatchback design, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class.