Tuesday – Small Car, Big Ideas


Jessica Volvo, never a brand to evoke thrill or excitement, more a sense of stability and safety, is attempting to join the rat race for small off-road style cars with the V40 Cross Country.

Very few of us actually live where we need to do any off-roading, or even negotiate stony old roads or tracks in our commute and daily activities. So it’s is puzzling to comprehend what this car is actually meant to be for.

I found my long (hardly orangutan proportion) arms having difficulty with elbow room. I felt cramped in the drivers seat, which had to be at full extension to accommodate my not too giraffe like legs. Only a small child or an orangutan of my own could fit on the seat behind me.

Something to bear in mind, if you go and stay in a draughty country house (with no central heating) and you want to hop into the car to warm up, you will have trouble staving off hypothermia! There is no hot blast from the heating system and the controls are complicated. Take more thermals with you, or get yourself a car ‘onesie’ to survive extreme conditions.

The V40 is fairly fast and easy to drive but the lower gears are tricky and it is difficult to drive smoothly in stop-start traffic.

All in all, fundamentally there is good stuff going on. Perhaps Cross Country is too big a label for this hatchback car.

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