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…
Might Santa choose a Volvo V40 Cross Country as his delivery vehicle? It may be built in Scandinavia and therefore tick the loyalty box but we reckon the man in red would select a vehicle with four-wheel drive, rather than being just a lookalike.
No, SC would require something fast, good in all weathers and with a decent amount of luggage space too. The obvious choice would be a Range Rover Sport – lashings of reindeer power and brilliant in the snow. Or what about a Mercedes G-Class? Both a tad bling perhaps?
A Bugatti Veyron would be able to dash around the world at speeds in excess of 200mph, although constant fuel stops would be required and space is tight. A seven-seat MPV doesn’t go with the image, while the Fiat Panda 4×4 has loads of street creed but might be a little uncomfortable over the rough stuff.
No, after serious consultations with Mrs Claus, we think there is only one car that is guaranteed to get the job done and in style. It’s exclusive, fast, boasts four-wheel drive and is usually provided in a colour to match his work clothes. Yes, it can only be the wildly untamed Ferrari FF.
You read it here first. Merry Christmas…
Planning to spend the festive season with distance relatives, who live up a muddy track in the middle of nowhere? Hmm, we’re not expecting a white Christmas but if we were, the V40 Cross Country would make a great companion.
A rival for the Audi Q3 and BMW X1, the Volvo is less in your face than the competition and more akin to a conventional hatchback. However, it’s been given plenty of butch styling cues to express its 4×4 abilities.
Our D4 model is loaded with an incredible list of safety features too, from a steering wheel that vibrates when you change carriageways without indicating, to a system that warns you of overtaking cars in your blind spot.
All these features, plus the Bluetooth sound system and sat nav, should give us plenty to talk about as we crisscross the country and Ireland over the next few weeks. More tomorrow…