The Volvo V40 Cross Country was one of the surprise packages of this year’s tests.
We much prefer the car with the Geartronic automatic gearbox rather than the notchy manual fitted to the last Cross Country we drove. It shifts gear smoothly and means making the most of the D4 engine’s punch is effortless.
It also means hill starts are straightforward. The handbrake needed a relatively firm pull to keep car and caravan steady, but the V40 breezed up the hill with no wheelspin, even though power only goes to the front wheels (despite the raised ride height and chunky styling, the Cross Country is no 4×4).
With the D4 engine’s delivering 295lb ft of torque, acceleration is quick and decisive. The sprint from 30-60mph with a Swift caravan in tow took just 9.8 seconds.
The Volvo is stable as well as quick. The Al-Ko ATC sensors recorded no instability when slowing from high speeds, and the car made the lane-change test seem easy. Even when the caravan began to move around, the Cross Country remained firmly in control.
The Volvo doesn’t finish further up the pecking order because of reservations over the lumpy ride in everyday driving. It’s also a rather small car for the money, with limited cabin space and luggage room, and the electrics are rather awkward to access.
However, we think it’s very impressive that a car of this size, weight and performance can return 65.7mpg on the combined cycle. What’s more, the D4 engine meets the latest Euro 6 emissions standard. So we’ve made this capable and efficient tow car winner of the 2015 Green Award.
2.0 TDCi 150PS Econetic Zetec 5dr
2.2D 175PS Sport Nav
2.2D 175PS AWD Sport Nav
1.6 dCi Acenta 2WD
Blue HDi 150 Allure
2.5i SE Premium Lineartronic
Cross Country D4 Lux Nav Geartronic