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Volvo XC40 Recharge electric review: performance, motor & drive

Stunning performance and superb comfort make for a very appealing combination in the electric XC40

Model0-62mphTop speedDriven wheelsPower
Single Motor7.4s112mphRear235bhp
Twin Motor4.8s112mphFour402bhp

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.

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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.

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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.

Handling

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.

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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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