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In-depth reviews

Volvo XC40 Recharge electric review

Recent updates make the electric Volvo XC40 more competitive than ever, but it’s still expensive compared with petrol versions

Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Pros

  • Excellent refinement
  • Google infotainment system
  • Dual-motor has stunning performance

Cons

  • Hefty starting price
  • Not the most fun to drive
  • Rivals offer longer range
ModelRangeWallbox charge timeRapid charge time
Single Motor290 miles10hrs 45mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)34mins (10-80%, 130kW)
Twin Motor334 miles12hrs 30mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)28mins (10-80%, 200kW)

Volvo XC40 Recharge verdict

The Volvo XC40 was starting to show its age in places, but recent updates to improve range and efficiency bring it back in line with rivals and sharpen its competitive edge once again. Despite being based on a petrol SUV, the XC40 Recharge is relatively spacious and easy to live with, plus it’s decent enough to drive and even mid-spec versions don’t scrimp on kit – meaning there’s little reason to fork out for pricey top-of-the-range models. Volvo prides itself on safety and it’s fair to say the XC40 Recharge is a pretty secure bet if you’re after a posh electric family car.

Range details, specs and alternatives

The electric family SUV space is one of the most competitive in the industry right now, with numerous models from mainstream manufacturers like the Skoda Enyaq iV and Volkswagen ID.4, as well as more premium offerings like the Tesla Model Y, BMW iX1 and Audi Q4 e-tron. That’s before taking into consideration hatchback rivals like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6. It almost goes without saying that this is a competitive area of the market.

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The Volvo XC40 Recharge is the Swedish manufacturer’s entry into the ring which, confusingly, also shares its name with the plug-in hybrid version of the regular XC40 SUV – we’ve reviewed that model separately.

Having been out for several years now, the electric XC40 was starting to show its age in places and as a result has received significant updates to stay relevant amongst much newer rivals. The 235bhp entry-level Single Motor model is now rear-wheel-drive (as opposed to front-wheel-drive) and utilises a 67kWh (usable) battery. This results in a 0-62mph time of just over seven seconds, while efficiency improvements mean an electric range of up to 290 miles on a charge (up from 264 miles).

If you’re after a 4WD electric car, there’s also the Twin Motor model which, as its name suggests, has two electric motors – one on each axle. This model outputs an outrageous 402bhp – 0-62mph takes just 4.8 seconds – and is now equipped with a 79kWh (usable) battery, up from 75kWh on the old model. Therefore, despite the mountain of extra power on offer, the dual-motor XC40 Recharge delivers a range of up to 334 miles (an increase from 270 miles) on models fitted with the smallest wheels.

No matter which version you choose, all XC40 Recharge models come equipped with DC ultra-rapid charging capability: 130kW for the Single Motor model (reduced from 150kW previously due to change in battery supplier) and 200kW for the Twin Motor car (up from 150kW). At the faster of those two speeds, buyers can expect a 10-80% top-up in less than half an hour when connected to a fast enough public charger. Plugging in at home to a 7.4kW wallbox will take much longer, though, at around 13 hours.

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Once you’ve chosen whether you want single or twin electric motors – we think the former will be sufficient for most UK buyers – you must choose from one of three different specifications: Core, Plus and Ultimate. Core kicks off the range and comes with everything you might expect of a premium family SUV like LED headlights, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, a wireless phone charging pad, a powered bootlid, lane-keep assist, rear parking sensors and a nine-inch portrait touchscreen running the latest Google software. All cars still get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, bolstered by a 12-inch digital instrument cluster.

Step up to the ‘Plus’ specification – the one we’d recommend – and this adds things like keyless entry and a host of other driver aids including blind spot monitoring, a reversing camera and adaptive cruise control, as well as a heated steering wheel and a heat pump for greater efficiency during the winter months.

Finally there’s the Ultimate which, as you may be able to tell by the name, comes with all the bells and whistles, including a panoramic sunroof, a Harman Kardon sound system, adaptive pixel-LED headlights, and electrically-operated synthetic leather and suede seats. These cars are quite expensive; we don’t think the extra outlay will be worth it for most buyers.

If you like the XC40 Recharge, but want something a little more style-focused, Volvo also offers the rakish C40 SUV, which is only available with an electric powertrain – again, with all the battery, motor and efficiency upgrades we’ve mentioned above.

Take a look at some of the Volvo’s closest rivals on our list of the best electric SUVs, or read on for the rest of our in-depth review...

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Richard is editor of DrivingElectric, as well as sister site Carbuyer.co.uk, and a regular contributor to Auto Express. An electric and hybrid car advocate, he spent more than five years working on the news and reviews desk at Auto Express and has driven almost every new car currently on sale.

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