Saturday – Image Problem

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I have a problem with things that pretend to be something they are not. Cars with paddle shift gear change which are really family hatchbacks, 2+2 coupes that have no rear legroom at all, and seven-seat MPVs that are only suitable for elves, or very small mammals.

And then we come to cars that look like SUVs but actually have no off-road capability at all. It probably started with the Rover Streetwise and let’s hope it ends with the Volvo V40 Cross Country.

I have to admit, the V40 Cross Country fooled me. Even the Volvo website suggests 4×4 ability with the offer of all-wheel drive ‘available’ on this model. It is – but only on the top of the range petrol version for around £35,000. Are you going to pay that or opt for a two-year-old Range Rover Evoque I wonder?

You certainly can’t buy a diesel-powered all-wheel drive V40 – that won’t be available until around 2016 when the XC version is launched.

So, all that plastic trim to beef up the car’s image and make it look more robust is just for show – you are paying a £1000-plus premium for no off-road ability at all.

Volvo isn’t the only manufacturer to offer this, Nissan, Kia and several others all do the same. Which makes that secondhand Evoque look even more attractive…

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