Volvo XC40 Recharge review

Move Electric verdict: Four stars out of Five

Tell me what you think
The Volvo XC40Recharge small SUV is stylish and elegant, but it does come at a cost.

The XC40 has been around for a while.
Yes, you are absolutely correct. The XC40 was first introduced in 2017, powered by a variety of traditional petrol and diesel engines. The first EV version came a year later. It was originally known as the P8, but it is now called Recharge in order to be compatible with other electric or plug-in hybrid models.

Despite being older, the XC40 is still designed with an electric motor and battery. This means that you won’t have to sacrifice any space or practicality over the standard car. The Volvo shares its platform and electrical underpinnings actually with the Polestar 2 which is only available as an EV.

Many will find the Volvo’s familiarity and normality to be an important part of their appeal. There are no sci-fi-looking looks, and it is easy to drive. You get a small, elegant, practical and easily maneuverable SUV that is also electrified.

You’ve got my attention. What are the highlights?
There is so much to love here that it can be difficult to choose where to begin. Let’s begin with the exterior, which is handsome in an SUV-like way. It looks very much like the fossil-fueled XC40 except for the smooth front grille treatment. This makes it attractive and elegant with the right amount understatement.

The contrasting roof colour, and neatly raised rear window line are just a few of the eye-catching features. There are also the distinctive LED headlamps with the brand’s signature ‘Thor’s Hammer’ daily running light signature. All of this makes the Volvo feel superior to premium competitors.

The interior has a cool, minimalist feel. It features a simple dashboard with sleek-looking TFT screens. The cabin is also of high quality, featuring a premium finish and lots of luxurious materials like the light-coloured wood trim inserts. This helps lift it above its more serious rivals.

You’ll soon feel the comfort of this car as you get moving. The electric motor is almost silent and the soft suspension combined with the supportive seat backs and bottoms make for a relaxing driving experience.

The Volvo may not be the most enjoyable car to drive, but it is easy to use with light controls and a commanding view from the outside thanks to the elevated suspension that places you higher. The low rear windows make it difficult to see out from the back, but there is a standard reverse camera and parking sensors that will save you some blushes.

You can adjust the regenerative braking effect, just like most EVs. This allows you to choose between a weak enough force and virtually no retardation so that you can drive the vehicle without having to touch the brake pedal.

The Polestar 2 is similar to the Polestar 2. You can choose between a single motor (front, and driving the front wheels), or a twin motor (one at each the back and one at the front for four wheel drive). Each motor delivers strong, smooth, and almost silent acceleration for rapid yet calm progress. Anyone who has ever stepped out of an internal combustion-powered XC40 will be astonished at its refinement.

The XC40 is an important EV because it packs a good enough range to ensure that you don’t get too old due to range anxiety.

That sounds great. What numbers are those?
There are two options for lithium ion batteries in the Volvo. Each one has a different output power but they all have the same range of 250 to 260 miles. Even if some of its competitors are more expensive, it should still be sufficient for most purposes.

The entry level models come with a 68kWh battery and a 221bhp motor to drive the front wheels. This comfortably outperforms an equivalent-priced Audi Q4 Sportback E-tron, which can go up to 264 miles on a single charge. You can expect to travel more than 230 miles with no top-ups in real life, which is sufficient to provide some long-distance potential.

Recharge Twin models, which are more powerful twin motor models with 402bhp (also known as the Recharge Twin), have a larger 78-kWh battery. However, any increase in range is offset due to the car’s weight. Volvo claims that the car can travel up to 259 miles. You also have the added performance of the Recharge Twin’s 0-62mph sprint in just 4.7 seconds. This is neck-snapping fast enough to leave other fossil-fuelled supercars trailing you in your zero emission footprint.

The single motor version can complete the standing start acceleration trick in 7.4 seconds. This kind of instant performance is a surprise to those who are new to electric motoring. However, it’s likely to make you smile from ear to ear.

The charging process is equally fast thanks to the XC40 being able to charge at 150kW with a DC CCS charger. Each version will take approximately half an hour to recharge to 80 percent. This means that you can easily tackle longer distances and know you won’t need to stop to charge again.

A domestic 7kW wallbox will take at least 12 hours to fully charge. This means that you need to get to bed early and then have a rest the next morning if you wish to charge overnight. You won’t be able to go from zero to full charge very often. Instead, you will be plugging in whenever it’s convenient and keeping the battery charged.

It is stylish, fast, and offers a decent selection, but what about the practical stuff?
Despite its small exterior dimensions, the Volvo is able to fit a lot of people and items. The XC40 is a great choice for families looking for a comfortable, stylish vehicle that can carry a variety of people and things.

The front has plenty of space, and the uncluttered dash layout creates an even greater sense. There’s plenty of space in the rear for two six-footers (three and one push), although the small side windows can make it feel a little claustrophobic.

There are plenty of places for you to store all your family stuff, including a large glovebox and large door bins that can swallow large items like a laptop or two-litre water bottles. You’ll also find plenty of cupholders, a cubby with a lid between the front seats and enough USB charging points for a small mobile shop.

It’s large and well-shaped. The 452-litre boot also has useful features like a cargo net, underfloor storage, and cargo net. The load divider and shopping bag holders that fold out of the floor are the most useful features. We dare you not to be excited about this feature. The bonnet conceals a 31-litre compartment, which is ideal for charging cables.

It’s also as safe as a house because it’s Volvo. The Volvo has more advanced airbags and driver aids than any other car, making it a joy to drive. The brand’s 112mph speed limiter, adaptive cruise control, and autonomous emergency brake all come standard.

What’s the catch?
The Volvo is not cheap, but that’s the truth. The XC40’s starting price is PS43,550. This is more than the higher-end Skoda Enyaq iV and VW ID4 models, which offer more space, equipment, and range.

You can still use Volvo’s Care by Volvo subscription plan, which effectively treats your car like a smartphone. A monthly fee is all that’s required to get a new XC40. This includes all operating costs, except for electricity. Although each monthly bill is more expensive than traditional PCPs or leases, there’s no deposit required and you can often change and chop cars as much as you like.

Another problem is the infotainment. It looks great with its portrait screen, but it is difficult to use while driving, making it hard to see the road. It uses the same Google operating system as the Polestar, which offers lots of online upgrades but is still a little glitchy and doesn’t offer the best smartphone connectivity.

Any other considerations?
The Polestar, which is closely related, offers a greater range, is easier to drive, and is likely to be even more attractive, but it is also more expensive. Volvo also offers a coupe-style version of the XC40, the C40. It is smaller inside and more expensive to purchase. You can see the difference.

The VW ID4, Skoda Enyaq iV, and Audi Q4 triplets offer more practicality and, depending upon the version, a greater range. However, they are much less expensive to purchase. Regardless of the badge on the bonnet, they are not as attractive as the Volvo in terms of upmarket appeal. Even though the XC40 is the most stylish, the Audi is the best.

The entry-level Jaguar I-Pace is the best option if you want to go all the way up in the Volvo range. The stylish British SUV is faster, more enjoyable to drive and has a 292 mile range.

Verdict
The Volvo is a stylish, modern, and elegant Volvo that combines the best of both a standard car and an electric vehicle. It has a spacious, luxurious interior, decent range, and a cool Scandinavian design. The privilege will come at a price though.

Volvo XC40 Recharge specification

Prices starting at: PS43,550
Motors: Electric asynchronous
Gearbox
Two or four driven wheels
Maximum power: 402 bhp
Maximum speed: 112mph
0-62mph in 4.7-7.4secs
Official electric range 257-264 miles
CO2 emissions: 0g/km
Tyres starting at: 235/45R 19 (front)/255/45R 19 (rear).
Kerb weight excluding driver: 2030-2188kg
Vehicle weight gross: 2480-2650kg
Height: 1651mm
Length: 4425mm
Wheelbase: 2702mm
Width folded with mirrors: 1910mm
Maximum boot capacity: 452-1328 Liters