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28 September 2012

Volvo to bring V40 Cross Country to India

Stylish luxury family hatch to compete with BMW X1 and Mercedes B-Class

Girish Karkera
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Yes, you heard it right. Volvo Cars is on a product assault once again. And this time it is the elegantly stylish, five-door family car, the V40 Cross Country, that will compete in the Rs 25-30 lakh segment currently hogged by the BMW X1 and the just-launched Merc B-Class.

In Cross Country guise, the car sits 40mm higher than the regular V40, which is paramount for our kind of roads. It gets slightly bigger wheels than the regular model. The front looks rugged with the honeycomb mesh grille, dark bumper chin and upright daytime running lights. The rear skid plates and chrome-plated side sill add to the ‘crossover’ looks.

Interiors will have a lot of Scandinavian flair so expect it to be visually appealing without being in your face. There is an elegant copper and brown theme happening inside which works well in grimy Indian conditions. Typically, interiors are versatile with lots of options to flipping and folding seats, and further nooks and crannies to stow away whatever a long or daily office commute warrants.

Globally the V40 will be available in a large array of three petrol and two diesel engines. The range-topping T5 is a 2.5-litre 254bhp, 400Nm all-wheel drive. However, Volvo will most likely go in for a detuned version with 180bhp on tap. Of course, the focus will be diesel where in all likelihood we will get a 150bhp, 350Nm D3 version of the same engine we get in the S60.

Just unveiled at the on-going Paris Motor Show, the V40 Cross Country is scheduled for a March 2013 launch in India with deliveries starting in May.

Update: Sriram Narayanan has a few inputs on the Volvo V40 Cross Country from the Paris Motor Show floor...

In the metal, the V40 Cross Country is essentially a big raised hatchback with liberal body cladding. It doesn't have the imposing presence of an SUV, nor the ground clearance of the likes of the Renault Duster. Besides we tried it out at the show floor in Paris and found that three abreast at the rear will be a tight squeeze.

On the upside, interiors are great and it's got massive boot space with two levels – a spare tyre, parcel tray and split rear seats.

It doesn't look right for doing any hardcore off-roading, but it promises great road dynamics and the ability to withstand abuse over bad roads. It can still impress people looking for a stylish alternative to an all-out monstrous or utterly compact SUV.

But Volvo will have to try hard and play the price game in India. While it would like to compete in the X1/B-Class segment in India, the V40’s traditional rivals in Europe include the smaller BMW 1 series and the recently-launched Audi A3.

Tags: volvo, paris 12, v40, v40 cross country

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