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Andy Harris
Motoring and Property Editor
@ytimesmotoring
4:20 AM 31st July 2021
cars

Volvo XC40 Plug-in Hybrid On Test

Volvo’s march to full electrification of its range continues apace and the popular XC40 SUV can now be had in fully electric form or as a plug-in hybrid, as tested here.

The XC40 is certainly one of the more distinctive SUVs to appear on the motoring scene in recent years, joining the larger XC60 and seven-seat XC90 models.

Under the bonnet of the test car sat a refined 3-cylinder turbocharged 1477cc engine, this being paired with an electric motor. When working together, the combined power output is a heady 262hp.

A rechargeable 10.7kWh battery lurks beneath the floor and this can be topped up from either a dedicated charger or a domestic 3-pin socket.

With the battery at full capacity Volvo claims the XC40 has an electric only range of 28 miles and driven gently this may well be possible. Ideal for the urban commute, especially if you can plug in again at work.

The Swedish company also makes bold claims for the XC40’s combined fuel economy, anything from 117.7 to 134.5mpg. Of course, in the real world such figures don’t really stack up, especially true once you have depleted the battery and the car must run on its petrol engine alone.

Volvo recommends inputting your destination into the satellite navigation even if you know where you are going. The car’s software will then cleverly calculate how to use the two power sources for maximum efficiency.

I would suggest the higher mileage driver may well be able to achieve 50mpg plus on a longer run, more if stops are made to boost the battery. You get the idea.

The company car driver will also be interested in the XC40’s low BIK figures and modest CO2 emissions of 47 to 55g/km.

On the road the transition from battery to engine power is barely perceptible and Volvo has done an excellent job with sound deadening, so you won’t hear that engine either when it does fire up. It makes for a refined and relaxing drive.

As usual, I subjected the Volvo to some of my favourite driving roads. I think it is probably fair to say that high speed cornering is a composed and sure-footed affair. However, the light steering, an undoubted boon in town driving, lacks any real feel and does little to encourage a spirited driving style.

Better to relax and let the miles fly by, the suspension doing a good job of soaking up most road imperfections. At urban speeds larger potholes do make their presence felt – blame the large alloy wheels, I guess.

Although travelling solo for most of the test week, the generous sized boot was appreciated, though the bag for the charging cables does take up some space. I suspect most will leave them at home.

Although thankfully not required, it was reassuring to know that the XC40 came equipped with all the very latest safety features. Volvo has always been at the forefront of such developments.

Highlights include City Safety, which uses radar and camera technology to apply the car’s brakes if you have failed to spot a wandering cyclist or pedestrian, whilst Oncoming Lane Mitigation is designed to prevent head-on collisions.

All these are in addition to the usual complement of airbags, crumple zones and seat belt technology.

My R-Design Pro spec car was generally well equipped, but also came with a further £5,000 worth of optional goodies. Other than the £175 option for Lava Orange carpets, I would choose them all, taking the list price uncomfortably close to £50,000!

That may well be out of your price range, but despair not as the XC40 range starts at a more affordable £25,420.

How to sum up the XC40 plug-in hybrid? For those not ready to switch to a fully electric car, this model may well suit, especially if the daily mileage travelled is modest.

All the usual Volvo attributes are there, superbly comfortable seating, lots of safety kit and a refined and hushed driving experience.

Your friendly Volvo dealer will be the next step if this review has whetted your appetite. They are a lovely bunch!

Fast Facts

Volvo XC40 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid T5 R-Design Pro
Price - £42,430 (£47,330 as tested)
T5 power (petrol & electric) – 180+82hp
7-speed automatic gearbox
0-60mph in 7 seconds
Top speed 112mph
Electric range 28 miles
Emissions 47-55g/km CO2
Thunder grey metallic paint
Max towing weight 1,800kg (braked)