Volvo – a brand people in India associate more with buses and trucks rather than luxury cars, unfortunately. However, that hasn’t deterred the company from launching some absolutely brilliant cars in India, which however target a very niche buyer group.

Today, Volvo Auto India has just launched the Volvo V40 Cross Country – a luxury crossover hatchback that is loaded to the gills with technology and safety features that would put rivals such as the BMW X1 and Audi Q3 to shame. The Volvo V40 Cross Country come at a highly competitive price of Rs. 28.5 lakh ex-showroom Delhi, which puts it head on against the BMW X1.

The sheer level of technology and features this car offers makes it an interesting choice for buyers looking at a luxury crossover / hatchback at that price point. Here’s what the car is all about.

Attractive looks and styling

The Volvo V40 has pretty unique styling, and is easily recognizable as a Volvo as it retains the family design traits such as the tall, angular tail lamps, large honeycomb grille in front with the Volvo slash and badge, as well as the twin-beam headlamps. It is quite low-slung and has a sporty profile to it, much like the Mercedes A-Class because of this kind of styling. The large panoramic glass roof is what catches your attention at first. The front is wide and squat, while the vehicle then tapers toward the rear making it highly aerodynamic.

The car has plush interiors, done up in black leather with a variety of combinations available. Boot space is not that great, but is a usable 324 litres, enough for a few small bags. Also read: BMW X1 vs Audi Q3

Loaded with futuristic safety features

What sets the Volvo V40 Cross Country apart from all other cars at its price point is Volvo’s huge emphasis on safety and technologies that enhance this. The car comes, for example, with two front airbags, curtain airbags, a knee airbag and also a pedestrian airbag, in case you knock down a pedestrian! Then there’s the full automatic brakes that is laser guided, with pedestrian and cyclist detection – where the car will brake automatically if you are under 50 kmph and not paying attention to the road and it detects an impending collision. The dual xenon headlamps of the car have active bending technology, where they turn with the wheels to give you a better field of view of the road on turns.

It also has a full parking assist function (Park Assist Pilot) with multiple sensors front, rear and side. It can guide you automatically into a parking spot. Other features include automatic wipers, headlights, auto-dimming mirrors, power folding mirrors, cruise control, climate control, power sunblind for the full glass panoramic roof, Bluetooth, multi-info setting etc. Also read: New BMW X1 launched at Rs. 27.90 lakh

Fuel efficient diesel engine

The Volvo V40 is powered by a five-cylinder 2-litre diesel engine (D3, 1,984cc engine) that puts out 150 bhp of power and 350 Nm of torque at 1500-2750 rpm. It is a front-wheel drive vehicle only. The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with tiptronic manual shift. In a combined city and highway driving cycle, the Volvo 40 Cross Country has a fuel efficiency of 19.33 kmpl! That is impressive.

What we think

Volvo plans to sell only about 120 units of this car this year, not really an ambitious target. But then Volvo also doesn’t have the distribution and dealership reach that rivals Mercedes, BMW and Audi have. And it also has an image issue – it’s not seen as a premium enough brand to rival the big three, although it is well known in India because of its buses and trucks range. These cars are being imported as fully built units and hence have a 100% duty component to them. Volvo doesn’t plan to start assembly operations in India just yet, which will help it bring prices down considerably and until then, it will remain a niche player. Also read: Mercedes A-Class launched at Rs. 22 lakh