Volvo XC40 Recharge electric review: performance, motor & drive
Stunning performance and superb comfort make for a very appealing combination in the electric XC40
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The XC40 Recharge’s fantastic refinement makes it a very relaxing motorway cruiser – only bolstered on models built from mid-2023, with their improved efficiency and longer range. While it isn’t as quiet as an Audi e-tron, it’s not far off. There’s very little whine from the motor and wind and road noise are kept in check, too. Plus, for a relatively small car, it can certainly shift. The electric XC40 line-up also received several updates in late 2022, including switching the single-motor version from front to rear-wheel drive.
Volvo XC40 Recharge electric 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration
The electric XC40 Recharge is now available with either a single-motor or dual-motor powertrain. The base model uses one electric motor to power the rear wheels (previously front-wheel drive) and produces 235bhp in all. 0-62mph in this version takes 7.4 seconds, which is plenty fast enough for a family SUV. It’s this version that we’d recommend.
Meanwhile, the XC40 Twin gets an extra motor on the front axle and produces a total of 402bhp. With that much power on tap, this compact SUV can go from 0-62mph in just 4.8 seconds. That shove is available instantly, too – just put your foot down and the XC40 takes off.
There are two levels of regenerative braking: a coasting mode and a ‘one-pedal’ mode – as per the Nissan Leaf or Honda e – which slows the car quite dramatically when you lift off the throttle. We prefer this style of driving, though some may find the sensation is a little too exaggerated. In our experience, the updated single-motor version seemed to have slackened this setting slightly, presumably for better energy distribution given the switch to rear-wheel drive.
The suspension of the XC40 Recharge has been tuned for comfort, so more often than not you just sit back and relax, making it a fantastic commuter and motorway cruiser. But off the motorway, you notice that the XC40 isn’t as sharp to drive as a Jaguar I-Pace or even its sister model the Polestar 2, so you don’t feel compelled to exploit all 402bhp you have on tap if you’re driving the all-wheel-drive version.
We’d recommend the single-motor anyway. Even before the switch to rear-wheel drive, this version struck a better balance of performance versus running costs. It still feels quick enough, and grip is good despite not offering the reassurance of a second motor for all-wheel drive. Only when you floor the accelerator pedal away from junctions, or during fast cornering, do you ever notice the newer versions are rear-driven.
One thing we’d do our best to avoid, is the 20-inch wheels fitted to top-spec Ultimate models. The smaller wheels and deeper-profile tyres on Core and Plus versions offer a much plusher ride and improved refinement too.
In This Review
- 1VerdictRecent updates make the electric Volvo XC40 more competitive than ever, but it’s still expensive compared with petrol versions
- 2Range, battery & chargingThe electric XC40 has received a range boost for 2023, while rapid charging speeds remain competitive for its class
- 3Running costs & insuranceAffordable company-car tax and infrequent servicing count in the electric XC40's favour here
- 4Performance, motor & drive - currently readingStunning performance and superb comfort make for a very appealing combination in the electric XC40
- 5Interior, dashboard & comfortClassy cabin design and latest software is let down by small central screen; rivals feel more modern
- 6Boot space, seating & practicalityThe electric XC40 isn’t the biggest family SUV, but clever solutions like the cable storage in the nose boost practicality
- 7Reliability & safety ratingSimple electric drivetrain and Volvo's peerless safety record mean peace of mind for owners here