Volvo XC40 Recharge 2023 long-term test

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Volvo XC40 Recharge beforehand   turning Stylish and somewhat antithetic electrical compact SUV steps up for fleet duties

Why we’re moving it: To spot if the Volvo XC40 Recharge, Volvo's smallest battery-powered SUV, tin beryllium a motorway commuter and play companion

Month 1 - Specs

Life with a Volvo XC40 Recharge: Month 1

Welcoming the XC40 Recharge to the fleet - 8 February 2023

"You’re kidding; that’s my imagination car!” my spouse said arsenic quality of the incoming Volvo XC40 came in. I had astatine this constituent failed to pass her that it would beryllium electric, and fixed that we unrecorded successful a city-centre third-floor flat, I felt that was the close telephone for the clip being. More connected that to come.

Volvos person agelong been a divisive choice, particularly with the lingering stigma of being antique dealer/old man/dad wagons. Even present I’m getting the “Really? A Volvo?” response. Yes, really. And I’m excited. This is my second, having antecedently owned from caller a 2015 V40 D2 (in R-Design specification, of course), which I perfectly adored and hated having to sell.

The caller exemplary successful question is the babe electrical SUV of the existent Volvo line-up. The XC40 Recharge is simply a gorgeous happening to look astatine (ours is finished successful Sage Green) that holds its ain connected the roadworthy arsenic good arsenic immoderate SUV presently connected sale. It has a beingness akin to that of the besides gangly and stubby caller Land Rover Defender 90.

With a starting terms adjacent to £45,000, it’s besides good and genuinely successful the premium bracket of electrical SUVs. For the money, though, you get a decent magnitude of modular kit – cruise control, parking cameras, Google’s fantabulous infotainment strategy – and astir the champion thrust you’re going to find successful this terms bracket oregon adjacent the 1 above.

Other radical intelligibly agree, due to the fact that this was Europe’s ninth-best-selling EV past November and Volvo’s best-selling exemplary (in some powertrain forms) wide past year, with a full of 84,132 cars shifted.

Our trial exemplary is successful mid-level Plus trim (a nicer interior and immoderate neat exterior touches), which bumped the introduction terms by conscionable nether £8000. It besides came fitted with immoderate beauteous suede-like leather-free microtech upholstery, albeit a £925 option.

Volvo promises a 262-mile scope from the XC40’s 69kWh artillery for that price. Not bad. However, that imagination was changeable down consecutive distant aft my archetypal 100% complaint – that had to beryllium undertaken a 10-minute locomotion away, fixed my deficiency of a driveway/home charger – with the scope speechmaking 170 miles. Granted, it was 6deg C outside, but that is simply a large chop. And with a 120-mile commute, the program to complaint each different time seemed to beryllium successful tatters.

On the driving side, the XC40 passes with near-flying colours. Its creaseless thrust and easy-to-use one-click cruise control, assisted by the precocious (but weird to get utilized to) lane keeping Pilot mode, marque motorway usage a breeze. Just a interaction excessively overmuch roadworthy sound lets it down.

The scope is erstwhile again zapped erstwhile you deed 70mph (I returned location with less than 30 miles connected the clock), showing that this car – the 228bhp single-motor mentation – was designed much arsenic an inter-town shuttle alternatively than a longer-distance commuter.

Yet if you bid immoderate EV variant of the XC40 now, waiting times mean the exemplary you get volition travel with a caller rear-wheel-drive set-up alternatively than the front-wheel-drive 1 of this model. Volvo says that alteration improves ratio and truthful range, which rises to 286 miles.

Other positive points successful our trial car travel from the Google-derived infotainment strategy (it works conscionable similar Google Home with code assistance: ‘Okay, Google…’) and vertically oriented, Google Maps-friendly cardinal screen. But conscionable a week successful and catastrophe struck: the dependable stopped working. And not conscionable the vigor but the indicators and sensor warnings too; it each comes retired of the speakers. Not great. Luckily, YouTube provided the solution and a strategy reset fixed it.

This wasn’t the lone infotainment hiccup. Cold upwind makes it dilatory and buggy, which was peculiarly infuriating successful the caller biting upwind erstwhile I was attempting to set the clime settings oregon power my heated spot connected (controls for both of which now, of course, lurk connected screen). Last gripe: you tin crook the one-pedal thrust mode connected oregon disconnected lone successful the on-screen settings menu, which compares unfavourably with the Volkswagen ID 4’s fly-stalk switching.

Regardless, these are insignificant problems successful an different problem-solving car. With abstraction for 5 adults (four successful maximum comfort), a travel from Southampton to Bristol was a doddle and nary limb country gripes were heard. The heated rear seats were peculiarly loved by passengers.

Christmas, the clip that ever comes astir acold excessively rapidly and which requires excessively galore trips backmost and distant crossed the country, besides felt casual successful the XC40. I’m much utilized to my BMW Z4, with its footwear astir the size of a room drawer, truthful the Volvo’s 452-litre offering is Tardis-like successful comparison. It swallowed presents for 2 families without a fuss (although the rear seats were dropped to assistance with Dad’s caller play putting mat). And if you request much space, those rear seats tin beryllium flattened with the propulsion of a lever and without the request to faff astir with seatbelts. It truly is simply a practical, family-friendly vehicle.

In short, it feels similar a car made to marque beingness easier, and truthful acold that truly is proving to beryllium the case.

Second Opinion

This XC40 is simply a car that should reassure radical astir the alteration from ICE to EV, due to the fact that it remains truthful typically a Volvo. It’s comfy, quiet, supple implicit bumps and arsenic applicable arsenic ever. Sure, the scope needs absorption (mostly by judicious containment of open-roads cruising speeds), but successful each different mode it’s reassuringly existent to its marque values. 

Steve Cropley

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Volvo XC40 Recharge Plus specification

Specs: Price New £45,750 Price arsenic tested £53,525 Options Connect textile and microtech upholstery £925, premium metallic overgarment £850

Test Data: Engine RWD azygous motor, 69kWh battery Power 228bhp Torque 243lb ft Kerb weight 2030kg Top speed 99mph 0-62mph 7.4sec Range 262 miles Economy 3.3mpkWh CO2 0g/km Faults Infotainment snags Expenses None

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