Volvo V40. Ice. Very Ice

7 February, 2013 | by Calvin Fisher

The Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid

This is a bold claim, but I am compelled to make it. And it has nothing to do with all the gourmet Elk stew Volvo have filled me up with, or the fine Scandinavian beers. But here goes. Right now, right here, entrenched in snow I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better looking car.

Now, I realise a Lamborghini Aventador is a more breath-taking thing, but also that it is pretty EVERYWHERE, whether powering down the Mulsanne straight, pitched violently trough Laguna Seca’s Corkscrew, parked on Camps Bay Boulevard or outside Builders Warehouse. The V40 Cross Country however, that just looks perfect here.

The reason for that it simple, where we South African motoring writers would traditionally assign a line of text for a vehicle’s snow-living ability, and debate the necessity of all wheel drive on a slippery parking lot ramp, this Scandinavian environment is in fact part of Volvo’s DNA. This is its home. This is its skillset, and here on an icy lake doubling as a race track I’m glad I’m in a vehicle bearing Volvo’s Iron Mark on its grille.

The Volvo shows off its ice skating skills

We’ve been given two all-wheel driven cars to play with, that striking V40 Cross Country hatch I already mentioned and a diesel-hybrid version of the Volvo V60 sports wagon. These are two very different cars yet both are more than capable of turning into drift-meisters when the situation asks for it – an icy racetrack being the perfect situation.

I could tell you all about it – how the power and handling had to be finessed, inputs delicately fed and modulated and the heroic slides that resulted – the nuances defining the two different four wheel drive systems or how the man who taught us to go sideways once held the world record for driving on two wheels (for 310km), but instead I’ll just show you two very poor video clips I made with my phone. Not to worry, a full story will reveal all in next month’s issue of Top Gear South Africa.

     

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