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Andy Harris
Motoring and Property Editor
@ytimesmotoring
12:00 AM 11th May 2024
cars

Volvo XC40 Recharge – A Week Behind The Wheel

 
Volvo continues to electrify its range and not so long ago I tested the XC40 in plug-in hybrid form. With an electric only range of some 28 miles and the promise of an easy 50mpg plus even on longer runs, there is much to commend it.

A refined 3-cylinder turbocharged 1477cc engine is paired with an electric motor, producing a heady 262hp combined. The 10.7kWh battery can be topped up with a dedicated charger or a domestic 13-amp socket.
On the drive last week, was a fully electric XC40 Recharge, in Ultimate trim. With the recent launch of the all-new EX30, Volvo has renamed the electrified XC40, EX40. The ‘E’ will now symbolise an electric car in Volvo speak.

First let’s have a few facts:

Volvo XC40 Recharge RWD Ultimate
Price £56,605
0-62mph in 7.3 seconds
Top speed 112mph
238hp
69kWh battery
Max charge rate 130kW
10-80% from 34 mins (@130kW)
Range up to 286 miles

Let’s start with the range, the main piece of information most would-be buyers seem to want to know. Fully charged on my Rolec unit, the display read 240 miles, enough for most drivers surely? What is more important, on my first 50-mile run, the range dropped exactly by 50 miles. Warm weather, a relaxed A-road journey, all well and good.

I know from previous experience, colder winter weather and a more press-on driving style can reduce the range considerably, but I would suggest 200 miles should be possible in all scenarios.

My Rolec home charger was a godsend, allowing me to charge the XC40 overnight. Local charging in my rural part of North Yorkshire is still exceptionally limited. The local council recently installed two 7kW chargers in my town’s main car park, far too slow for public use. More powerful chargers are a twenty mile plus drive away.

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

Much better to relax and let the miles fly by, the suspension doing a good job of soaking up all but the very worse road imperfections.

Power is fed to the rear wheels, and should you choose to deploy the full 238hp, especially in the wet, the traction control light will flicker, reigning in the excess.

Although travelling solo for most of the test period, the generous sized boot was appreciated. The lift-up floor divider is useful as it prevents shopping from sliding around. There is a smaller storage area under the bonnet, ideal for housing the charging cables.

Although thankfully not required, it was reassuring to know that the XC40 came equipped with all the very latest safety features. Would we really expect anything less from Volvo, a company which 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.
Interior quality is excellent, seats extremely comfortable and the car very well equipped. There’s room for four large adults to spread out.

Some might say £50,000 plus is expensive for an EV, but it is about par for the course if you want a premium badge. However, Volvo offers another way with its ‘Volvo Subscription Service.’ It aims to offer a flexible alternative to traditional car ownership.

All Volvo models are included, with a monthly subscription that covers everything apart from fuel, with the option to add insurance. Cars can be delivered to the door.

Prices for a new EX40 are from £919 per month. The scheme may well be attractive to some, especially as it offers the flexibility to cancel or change cars with three months’ notice.

Being a high-mileage rural motorist, I am naturally drawn to the XC40 plug-in hybrid, but for those ready to embrace the EV revolution, the Recharge model has much to commend it.

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 in my experience.