Volvo XC40 Recharge hybrid engines, drive & performance

It's not the most thrilling car to drive, but the XC40 Recharge has a very well implemented hybrid drivetrain

Volvo XC40 Recharge hybrid
Rating
Engines, drive & performance Rating
0-62mphTop speedDriven wheelsPower
7.3-8.5s112mphFront211-261bhp

There are two plug-in hybrid powertrains to choose from in the XC40 Recharge –  T4 and T5.  Both use a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine in conjunction with an electric motor and battery; the T4 has a 127bhp engine, while the T5 has 180bhp, plus 81bhp from their respective electric motors, for total respective power outputs of 211 and 261bhp.

There are a number of driving modes available to make the most of the car's powertrain. Power mode combines both sources in the name of straight-line speed and overtaking punch, while Hybrid mode shuffles automatically between petrol and electric power as it sees fit. Pure mode engages pure-electric drive.

The plug-in hybrid system does a good job of automatically selecting the right power source at the right time in Hybrid mode, with a smooth transition between the two. The T5 (we've yet to sample the T4) remains quiet around town at slower speeds and is very refined under acceleration, too; the three-cylinder engine only makes its presence known at the top of its rev range and otherwise stays nicely isolated. However, the regenerative braking system could do with being a little smoother, especially when drawing to a complete stop.

Volvo XC40 Recharge 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration

The T5 is the faster of the two XC40 plug-in hybrids, with 0-62mph taking 7.3 seconds. The T4 isn't too far behind, with a corresponding time of 8.5 seconds. Top speed for both cars is 112mph – Volvo's blanket limit for all of its models as it attempts to further improve the safety credentials of its line-up.

Handling

The XC40 isn't especially inspiring to drive – lifeless steering and some body lean detract from the fun, but at least there’s lots of grip. The car is not about outright driving thrills and is geared more towards being a relaxed, swift and comfortable SUV – not surprising given that the XC40 hybrid weighs 1,800kg due to its batteries and extra technology

That extra weight also means the Recharge’s ride quality suffers a little; it feels a little lumpier than its lighter, internal-combustion-only counterparts. But it remains a comfortable car nonetheless.

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