When launched in 2021, the XC40 Recharge was a harbinger of Volvo’s future as a first pure battery electric automaker. The XC40 was a first from Volvo and things on the EV front have moved fast ever since.
J.D. Power & Associates includes 47 electric vehicles (EVs) in the new 2022 Electric Vehicle Consideration Study, up 70% from just a year ago. Volvo, for its part, says that by 2025, half of its range will be all-electric, the rest hybrid. You now have lots of EV choices, and more are coming.
Where does the XC40 Recharge fit? It’s not cheap, for starters. My tester (Ultimate AWD) wore a $70,800 sticker, though the base version is $59,950 (taxpayer incentives apply in certain provinces). It has an estimated range of 359 km per charge, which lags the latest EVs like Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 by 100 km or so.
Power? 201 horsepower/243 lb-ft of torque. And you can re-charge to 80% capacity in as little as 40 minutes with the fastest Level 3 charger. There is also an adapter that allows you to use a heavy-duty appliance outlet for charging – like the one for your household dryer.
In a nutshell, this is a quick SUV with a tall stance, a handsome cabin, loads of useful technology and seats that rank among the very best in the car business.
What you do not get is cutting edge design. What you see here looks just like non-EV XC40s, and that’s because the basics are shared. The design here doesn’t scream “battery car” but there are some quite obvious elements to separate the EV XC40 from others: the front grille speaks to the EV things loudest; it improves aerodynamics and the updated Ironmark also houses the radar for the advanced driver assistance system.
As well, the gloss black roof is cool; the mirror caps a bit sporty; there’s the expected Recharge badging EV-only wheels and a gloss black rear diffuser.
What you can’t see is this: a front end re-engineered to be more robust if there’s a crash – re-engineered because there’s no gasoline motor up front for protection. It also has Volvo’s most advanced driver assistance system to keep you out of crashes.
Aside from electrification and zero carbon emissions, another Volvo brand goal is safety. The list of electronic safety nannies is exhaustive – from the usual collision warning and avoidance system to active LED lights that bend around a curve as you go.
The high-voltage battery lies flat under the floor and is integrated into the tunnel, which lowers the centre of gravity. That in turn helps to create a stable ride and flatten cornering. If you want to simplify your city driving and save energy, one-pedal driving is easily turned on and it basically manages all your stops while recovering energy.
My bet is that more buyers will be fascinated in the Google Android infotainment operating system than the battery. If you’re an Android user, this XC40 will in many ways feel like an extension of your smartphone. I’m an Apple guy, but I managed to figure out everything quickly enough. In any case, here you can use all the Google goodies – from maps to Google assistant, Google Play Store…
The rest of the cabin includes a medium-size digital cluster which is highly readable. The centre touchscreen is integrated into the upper console. Nice. Below there is a wireless phone charger. The concave metal trip in the lower dash and inserted in the doors is intended to deliver a high-tech look.
The thoughtful details help justify the price tag: keyless entry and drive, for instance. Once you’ve boarded with the key, just shift into Drive and go. When done, hit park and lock up. No start button here.
The excellent seats are powered, heated and covered in Nappa leather. There’s a bag hook, small cupholders, big door pockets and a medium size storage locker at your elbow. The Harmon/Kardon sound system is first rate and the so-called Air Woofer is there just below the windshield.
Volvo has packed in a lot of features and functionality in the cabin, but it’s not a very large space, though headroom is top-notch. It’s snug. The back seating area is tight for bigger adults, too.
The market is filling up with EVs that are rewarding to drive. This Volvo is among the best. That’s because the weight bits are well distributed and mounted low: dual electric motors, one front axle, one rear. Power is split 50/50, always, so constant AWD, though the exact amount of torque varies, as needed. The car is flat and stable at high speeds and because it’s all battery, dead quiet other than wind noise and the stereo.
Everything here is well executed, the brand is strong, the dynamic performance is very good, but the range – not so much. A year ago, the XC40 Recharge was segment-leading, but since then it’s slipped to the mid-pack.
- 201 hp @ 4350-13900 rpm
- 243 lb.-ft @ 4350 rpm
- 78 kWh Lithium-ion Battery
- 359 Kms of Pure Electric Range