• Crossover hatch from Volvo
• More ground clearence
• Chunkier looks

Volvo has experience in the estate/hatch/4×4 crossover territory. Indeed, it was one of the first mainstream manufacturers to embrace this nichest of niches (apart from the Subaru Forester) in 1997, with the XC70 – a high riding estate car with four-wheel drive. The idea has been downsized, however, and is now available on the V40 hatch.

What is it?

The V40 Cross Country is a high-riding, utilitarian version of the stylish V40 hatch. It comes with all the things you expect from the regular car but with additional features to make it reasonably comfortable off road, should your sat-nav lead you accidentally into a field or you need to get into a field for that Sunday morning shoot or something.

What’s it like?

With its 40mm of extra ground clearance, hill descent control, bigger allow wheels and chunky bumpers, it certainly looks and sounds the part of a 4×4 but, the fact that four-wheel-drive is only available on the flagship 250bhp petrol T5 model confirms this car’s place as a crossover rather than an out and out mud-plugging 4×4. All the other petrol and diesel models are two-wheel-drive only. The most efficient of which is the 1.6-litre D2 diesel with 113bhp. This model returns 74.3mpg and emits just 99g/km of CO2. Two other diesels are available, in 148 and 177bhp states of tune, along with a 177bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine. Interior changes compared to the standard V40 are minimal, with an exclusive copper-coloured interior being the only change.

What’s it up against?

The Nissan Juke and Qashqai are the obvious rivals, along with the MINI Countryman and brand-new Paceman.

When can I buy it?

The car should go on UK sale in January next year. If you want one, be prepared to foyrk out about £19,500 for it.

By James Richardson

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