In-depth reviews

Volvo XC40 Recharge electric review

Despite it being based on an existing petrol-engined model, there’s plenty to recommend about the Volvo XC40 Recharge electric SUV

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-motor261 miles10hrs 45mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)33mins (10-80%, 150kW)
Twin-motor259 miles12hrs (0-100%, 7.4kW)33mins (10-80%, 150kW)

Volvo’s smallest SUV has been around for several years now, available in petrol, hybrid and plug-in hybrid form as a rival for the BMW X1, Audi Q3 and Jaguar E-Pace. In 2020, diesels were removed from the XC40 range; now, Volvo has introduced this fully electric XC40 Recharge. It was the brand’s first pure-electric car and a major step in its plan to have a fully electric range by 2030.

The electric XC40 Recharge competes with the Audi Q4 e-tron, BMW iX3, Ford Mustang Mach-E and Tesla Model Y in the highly competitive premium electric SUV class. With a starting price close to £50,000, it undercuts the Model Y Long Range and the more well equipped versions of the Q4 e-tron, but the Volvo can’t return close to either car’s range figures.

That price is for the single-motor version, which has a 69kWh battery for a range of 261 miles at most. The top-of-the-range twin-motor gets a larger 78kWh battery and can cover up to 259 miles on a charge. Those are the official numbers, though; we saw only around 200-230 miles when we tested the twin-motor – significantly less than the cheaper Kia e-Niro 64kWh can manage.

The twin-motor's all-wheel-drive powertrain produces 402bhp and can propel the XC40 from 0-62mph in under five seconds, while the single-motor, front-wheel-drive variant makes a lesser 227bhp, so 0-62mph takes over seven seconds.

Although, the performance either version offers isn’t obvious when you look at the XC40 Recharge from most angles – you might struggle to tell the difference between this electric XC40 and the regular model. That's by no means a criticism, though; Volvo has been producing excellent-looking cars one after another recently and this is yet one more.

The ‘Thor’s Hammer’ headlight signature is there, along with the clamshell bonnet, sculpted bodywork and the rising rear window line. At the back, the Volvo’s large L-shaped tail-lights remain and only a small badge gives away the fact that this car doesn’t have a combustion engine at all – well, that and the lack of an exhaust pipe. The grille is the most obvious difference from the combustion-engined versions.

Inside, the XC40 Recharge features Volvo’s tablet-style infotainment screen running Google's Android software, which we enjoyed using. On top of that, you get excellent interior quality overall, with leather and soft-touch materials wherever you look. Combined with comfortable suspension, excellent refinement and its superb interior, we think the XC40 Recharge is an ideal long-distance electric cruiser. That’s why, if you’re after a stylish, practical, comfortable and luxurious family SUV, the electric Volvo XC40 deserves shortlisting.

However, the starting price didn’t come down with the introduction of the less powerful, single-motor version as much as we'd hoped. Plus, if it’s range more than anything you're after, the entry-level version of the closely related Polestar 2 offers more for nearly £10,000 less. 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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