Lofty am­bi­tion as Volvo touts classy Coun­try

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE - By STU­ART MARTIN

THE gag­gle of SUVs in the com­pact pres­tige mar­ket will grow again when Volvo puts its new V40 on stilts later this year.

The V40 Cross Coun­try will join the com­pany’s range of pas­sen­ger-based SUVs in Aus­tralia but is un­likely to carry on the sharp pric­ing pol­icy of its front­drive cousin.

Volvo Cars Aus­tralia boss Matt Braid says ex­tra hard­ware for the SUV range — in­clud­ing all-wheel drive com­po­nents — would war­rant a price pre­mium.

‘‘The Cross Coun­try ver­sion of this . . . we’re look­ing at the third quar­ter of this year, but we haven’t set a date yet,’’ he said.

‘‘At this stage it’s too early to con­firm pric­ing. I don’t think we’ll be able to price it as sharply as we can the V40, but that cat­e­gory is de­vel­op­ing as well so it’s a bit of an un­known.’’

The Cross Coun­try model is ex­pected to get a Haldex on-de­mand all-wheel drive sys­tem (sim­i­lar to its XC60 sib­ling), hill de­scent con­trol and rides 40mm higher than the re­cently-re­leased V40, wear­ing body add-ons to dis­tin­guish its more ad­ven­tur­ous ten­den­cies.

En­gines slated for the Cross Coun­try in­clude the 2-litre and 2.5-litre T5 petrol automatics and the 1.6 and 2-litre tur­bod­iesels seen here in the new V40.

The SUV vari­ants in the Volvo line-up re­flect the grow­ing dom­i­na­tion of that ve­hi­cle type in the Aus­tralian mar­ket — the XC60 topped the sales tally for the Chi­nese-owned Swedish brand with 2179 sales. Mean­while the XC90 placed sec­ond with 1342 sales.

Mr Braid said the new XC90 was much an­tic­i­pated, even though the cur­rent model was still per­form­ing well in the sales race.

‘‘We’ve look­ing for­ward to the new ver­sion of that — the cur­rent one is sell­ing very well.’’

‘‘The new XC90 has not been con­firmed but we ex­pect it in early 2015.’’

The com­pany bean­coun­ters are re­ly­ing on the new V40 rack­ing up be­tween 800 and 1000 in its first full year on sale to off­set the short­fall left when the C30, S40 and V50 mod­els dwin­dle dur­ing 2013.

Mr Braid says the brand has set a tar­get in the vicin­ity of 6000 units.

‘‘There’s op­por­tu­nity in S60 and V40, so we’ll ride with the op­por­tu­ni­ties as they present them­selves but 6000 is what we’d like to achieve,’’ he said.

The Volvo V40 Cross Coun­try will come with a host of im­pres­sive fea­tures

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