The Volvo XC40 Recharge on test for Changing Lanes

Volvo XC40 Recharge Review (2024)

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Read Caroline's Volvo XC40 Recharge review for everything you need to know about buying Volvo's electric compact SUV in Ireland.

The XC40 is one of Volvo’s bestselling models in Ireland. The compact SUV is a former Irish Car of the Year and is now exclusively sold here with a full electric powertrain – the Volvo XC40 Recharge.

However in a bid to improve the XC40's efficiency, Volvo has switched the single motor versions from front wheel drive to rear wheel drive, and there's a new electric motor too.

Sounds good. The range can now theoretically exceed well over 500 kilometres in some versions. Let's put it to the test.

The Volvo XC40 Recharge on test for Changing Lanes
The Volvo XC40 Recharge on test for Changing Lanes

Styling

The XC40 is still very good looking after all these years. It's aged very well. There are no major styling changes to herald this new model, with most of the changes occurring in the places you can't see. The XC40 has a pleasing stance and classy finish so it compares favourably to its rivals like a BMW iX1, Audi Q4 e-tron and Mercedes-Benz EQA. It doesn't shout much of its electric credentials. The blanked out grille in body colour is the only clue to its electric underpinnings for those with acute attention to detail.There are a range of stylish colour options like the cool Vapour Grey pictured. The large wheels give it a sort of chunky charm and vary from 19-20-inch depending on which model you go for. A black contrast roof completes the upscale look.

Interior

The interior is comfortable and well-equipped, with some nice textiles and seat upholsteries available. The interior design is quite simple and minimalist, with a portrait-style touchscreen being the main focal point in the centre of the dash. It features an infotainment system powered by Google’s Android operating system, which is smart and intuitive to use. If you use the in-built Google Maps app to find your destination, the system will let you know how much battery you will have when you reach it and return home again. This is very useful for journey planning. Equipment highlights include wireless smartphone charging, keyless entry/start and heated front seats. Other features available include a 360-degree camera, heated steering wheel, heated rear seats and a premium stereo.

The interior of the Volvo XC40 Recharge
The interior of the Volvo XC40 Recharge

Practicality

The XC40 mostly feels spacious for a compact SUV. There's lots of headroom and the footwells are large too. The middle seat is less comfortable however with a large transmission tunnel a relic of this car's history as a fuel-engined car. It doesn't sit on a bespoke electric platform - yet. But it's a small compromise because otherwise it's a very comfortable car for passengers. There's also a 419-litre boot. It's not the biggest boot in the class but it's still a good size with handy features like a waterproof cover and underfloor storage.

Battery

There's a few battery options when it comes to the XC40. The single motor XC40 Recharge uses the same 69kWh battery as before. With improvements in cooling efficiency and the switch to rear wheel drive, the range is now 462-473km (WLTP) up from about 425km.

The XC40 Recharge extended range like the one on test uses a new 82kWh battery with a range of 558-570km (WLTP). The official consumption figure is about 16.8-17.3kWh per 100 kilometres, though in real world driving my average was a bit higher at 19.8kWh per 100 kilometres. There's 252hp and 420Nm of torque giving a 0-100kmh time of 7.4 seconds.

The dual motor XC40 - badged the XC40 Recharge Twin - uses the same larger 82kWh battery and new electric motors on the front and rear axle. There's still a whopping amount of power - 408hp and 0-100kmh in just 4.9 seconds -  and a bit more range than before (527-535km WLTP).

A heat pump is standard on Plus and Ultimate models.

The XC40 Recharge has been updated to improve the range and efficiency
The XC40 Recharge has been updated to improve the range and efficiency

Charging

Charging speeds are good. The rate of DC charging is up from 150kW to 200kW in the XC40 Recharge extended range and the Recharge Twin, allowing a charge from 10-80% in about 28 minutes. In the single motor Recharge model, 130kW DC fast charging is possible for an 80% battery charge in about 34 minutes. AC charging is possible up to 11kW.

Driving

The XC40 Recharge story is one of comfort, refinement and a sheer relaxing drive. It's naturally swift and agile to drive, even single motor versions. There's instant torque from the electric motor making it feel very sprightly. It's not too firm for an electric SUV and well-insulated too, which does live up to the premium positioning. While there has been an improvement to efficiency and how many kilometres you will get out of a battery charge, it still doesn't come across as the most efficient SUV of its kind. Consumption still sits too close to the 20kWh per 100 kilometres mark for that to be comfortable. Yet there is still plenty of driving between battery charges and the DC fast charging capabilities mean it's relatively quick to add more miles if you're on a long motorway run. It's such a gorgeous SUV to drive, one would still excuse any shortcomings.

Pricing

The XC40 Recharge is available from about €58,210 and goes up against rivals like the BMW iX1, the Mercedes-Benz EQA and the Audi Q4 e-tron. A full packed Ultimate model like the one on test for Changing Lanes retails at about €65,910.

Boot space in the Volvo XC40 Recharge
Boot space in the Volvo XC40 Recharge

Verdict

Volvo is one of the most committed car brands in the world to the electric revolution that is taking place. In 2024 it is set to strengthen the brand even more with the arrival of the new EX30 and EX90, both full battery electric SUVs. Volvo has been gradually electrifying its range of cars and SUVs in Ireland and the XC40 is still one of its star cars. It's a brilliant design and compares very well to its rivals, surpassing them a little with its cool Scandi charm. Improvements have been made to the efficiency and the range, allowing more comfort between battery charges than ever before but it still doesn't stand out for its efficiency. Still, the XC40 is one of the nicest electric SUVs on sale and that's why it's such a hit with Irish motorists.

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year

 

The lovely Volvo XC40 Recharge - still one of the best
The lovely Volvo XC40 Recharge - still one of the best

The Volvo XC40 Recharge on test for Changing Lanes!

Volvo XC40 Recharge Review

Read Caroline's Volvo XC40 Recharge review for everything you need to know about buying Volvo's electric SUV in Ireland.

Volvo is well on its way to becoming a fully electric car brand by 2030 with the launch of the Volvo XC40 Recharge, and its coupé SUV derivative, the new Volvo C40.

The Swedish car brand has also recently announced that its next electric model will be the new flagship Volvo EX90.

The Volvo XC40 Recharge is already one of Ireland's bestselling electric models. It's based on the excellent Volvo XC40, a former Irish Car of the Year.

The Volvo XC40 Recharge is on sale in Ireland priced from €53,730 including the SEAI grant. In this review I'm going to take a closer look at what it has to offer Irish new car buyers in the market for a new electric SUV.

The Volvo XC40 Recharge on test for Changing Lanes!
The Volvo XC40 Recharge on test for Changing Lanes!

What's so special about the Volvo XC40 Recharge?

The Volvo XC40 Recharge is one of the best-looking electric SUVs you can buy. It has compact proportions and a confident stance on the road. The blanked out grille in body colour is the only clue to its electric underpinnings.

Styling has been lightly tweaked for the latest version on sale to keep the all-electric XC40 Recharge visually in sync with the Volvo C40 Recharge, including a new front bumper and a frameless grille plate.

The signature Thor’s Hammer headlights have pixel LED light technology in some versions. This means that they can automatically adapt to traffic in front and efficiently light up the road ahead without dazzling other drivers.

A black contrast roof comes as standard and alloy wheel sizes vary between 19- and 20-inch depending on model.

Inside the XC40 Recharge has a classic Volvo interior that's comfortable and well-equipped, featuring a new infotainment system powered by Google’s Android operating system.

The XC40 Recharge tested is front wheel drive and powered by a 69kWh battery giving a projected range of up to 425 kilometres (WLTP).

There's also an all wheel drive version badged 'Recharge Twin' that is powered by a 78kWh battery and gives a projected range of up to 438 kilometres (WLTP).

The interior of the Volvo XC40 Recharge
The interior of the Volvo XC40 Recharge

Inside the Volvo XC40 Recharge

The XC40 has a lovely interior that feels upmarket and is simple to navigate. A full digital instrument cluster comes as standard and Volvo's familiar portrait style touchscreen sits in the centre of the dashboard.

The XC40 was the first Volvo to use a brand new infotainment system powered by Google’s Android operating system. It's intuitive to use and contains in-built Google apps like Google Maps and Google Assistant.

There are two trim levels, Plus and Ultimate. Standard features include wireless smartphone charging, heated front and rear seats, cruise control, dual zone climate control, and lots of safety equipment.

Fabric seats come as standard but the XC40 Recharge Ultimate gets more sophisticated suede style seats. Other features include an opening panoramic glass roof, Harman Kardon sound system and 360-degree parking camera.

The XC40 Recharge was built on a multi-energy platform but it's still roomy enough for a mid-size SUV, with two large footwells in the rear. The large transmission tunnel makes it a bit more awkward for a middle seat passenger to place their feet comfortably. The middle seat is also quite narrow.

The boot offers 452 litres of space which is a bit less than a BMW iX1. But the XC40 does offer an extra 31 litres under the bonnet, which is handy for storing charging cables. A powered tailgate also comes as standard.

The XC40 Recharge is a stylish premium electric SUV
The XC40 Recharge is a stylish premium electric SUV

Driving the XC40 Recharge

The electric XC40 is available with a choice of batteries, and there are single and dual motor versions available. The single motor XC40 Recharge on test uses a 69kWh battery and is a more affordable entry into the range for buyers who do not require all wheel drive.

It offers adequate performance for a mid-size electric SUV with 231hp available and the 0 to 100km/h sprint completed in 7.4 seconds. The official electric driving range for the XC40 Recharge is 425 kilometres (WLTP). Though that seems a bit ambitious, particularly in colder winter weather. The XC40's energy consumption could be better.

But there's still plenty of driving between charges and it is one of the nicest electric SUVs you can drive. It feels very natural from behind the wheel. It carries over much of the qualities that make the XC40 an award-winner. That means it's very comfortable and refined. Journeys are completed with ease.

When it comes to charging, DC fast charging is possible up to about 150kW, and AC charging is possible up to 11kW.

Every XC40 also comes with a Plugsurfing card that allows you to use over 200,000 charge points across Ireland and Europe with just one access card.

Boot space in the XC40 Recharge
Boot space in the XC40 Recharge

Did you like it?

The Volvo XC40 Recharge is extremely likeable. It has classy looks and an equally upmarket cabin that's finished to a high standard and features some great on-board tech.

The electric XC40 offers a great driving experience, proving to be a capable and comfortable companion no matter what the weather (or the road, for that matter). It's not the most efficient electric SUV but there's still plenty of driving between charges.

For buyers in the market for a premium mid-size electric SUV, the XC40 Recharge is impossible to ignore. It's well-priced against competitors, with lots of standard equipment.

Volvo will also sell you a more expensive dual motor version with more power. But the single motor XC40 on test will make a lot more sense to more people, while still offering good performance from behind the wheel.

For buyers seeking something a little more stylish and exclusive, there is also the new Volvo C40, which uses the same battery and underpinnings as the XC40.

The electric XC40 is available now with single and dual motor versions available
The electric XC40 is available now with single and dual motor versions available

Model tested: Volvo XC40 Recharge Ultimate
Price:
€53,980 (After SEAI Grant Deduction)
Battery:
69 kWh
Range: 425 km (WLTP)
Power: 231hp
Torque: 330Nm
Top speed: 160 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 7.4 seconds
Motor Tax: 
€120 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year

 


The Volvo C40 on test for Changing Lanes!

Volvo C40 Recharge Twin Review

Read Caroline's Volvo C40 review for everything you need to know about buying Volvo's new electric SUV in Ireland.

Do you remember a time when Volvo was famous for estate cars? These days it's SUVs that have become synonymous with the Volvo brand - and good ones at that. In Ireland the XC60 is the brand's bestselling model, followed by the Volvo XC40 - a former Irish Car of the Year.

While the brand has truly embraced hybrids for some years now, it was the launch of the XC40 Recharge, the brand's first fully electric model, that has really put them on the path to becoming a fully electric car brand by 2030.

But these days, the market demands SUVs of all sizes and shapes. So Volvo has launched another - the new Volvo C40.

The Volvo C40 on test for Changing Lanes!
The Volvo C40 on test for Changing Lanes!

What's so special about the Volvo C40?

The C40 has been designed as an SUV coupé. So it has many of the familiar SUV design cues, but the tapering roofline offers a sleeker and more prestigious look.

SUV coupés are a major trend at the moment in the motor industry. The C40 looks high-end and premium, and carries a little more prestige than a traditional SUV with a boxy rear-end. While it shares a lot with the XC40 Recharge, the C40 manages to stand out as more of a style icon and warrants its place in the line-up.

Large wheels are part of the deal too - 19-inch and 20-inch are available. There's also a trendy black contrast roof, black door mirror caps, sporty boot and roof spoiler, and a distinctive LED rear light signature.

The new Volvo C40 is only sold as a battery electric vehicle. You won't find any fuel versions in the line-up. There are single and dual motor versions, badged C40 Recharge and C40 Recharge Twin respectively.

Single-motor versions go on sale from about €53,730 including the SEAI grant for electric vehicles. They use a 69kWh battery that can travel up to 433 kilometres (WLTP) on one battery charge. It’s available in two trim levels, Plus and Ultimate, and comes well-equipped. Dual motor versions get a slightly higher capacity 78kWh battery that can drive for up to 446 kilometres (WLTP) on a single battery charge. They are available from €61,930 with Core, Plus and Ultimate trim levels, and offer the best performance of the range.

Elsewhere, this car is practical, offering seating for five and a classic Volvo cabin - so that means it's a simple design with lots of clever technology and safety features on board.

The interior of the Volvo C40 Recharge
The interior of the Volvo C40 Recharge

Inside the Volvo C40

You sit high in the cabin of the C40, with a good commanding view of the road ahead. It does feel a little bit sportier behind the wheel than the Volvo XC40 Recharge, but the cabin design is much the same. That means the centre of the dashboard is dominated by a 9-inch portrait-style touchscreen. There are very few physical buttons but the Android operating system works excellently and it's simple to navigate. Google Maps is built into it, and it integrates perfectly with a full digital driver display.

The cabin quality is good, it feels high-end but not as luxurious as what you might expect. Volvo has used a lot of recyclable materials in the cabin, which goes some way to explain why that might be. For example, the fabric seats in my test car didn't seem the right fit for a car of this price.

There's lots of equipment including wireless smartphone charging, heated steering wheel, heated front and rear seats, as well as a fixed panoramic glass roof.

The C40 has the same amount of leg and kneeroom as the XC40 Recharge so it offers decent accommodation, though a Volkswagen ID.4 does feel more spacious in the back. There's a little less headroom because of the sloping, coupé-style roofline - but that's about it. Rear doors don't open as wide as in some other family SUVs though.

Convenience features include a powered tailgate, which opens to reveal 413 litres of space, with some underfloor storage too. That's less than a Volkswagen ID.4 but the C40's trump card is a 'frunk' - a space under the bonnet where you can store the charging cables.

The C40 has been designed as a stylish SUV coupé
The C40 has been designed as a stylish SUV coupé

Driving the C40 Recharge Twin

Driving the C40 Recharge Twin is a lot like driving the electric XC40. They share the same batteries and underpinnings. It's solid and predictable on the road. It's a heavy SUV so there's a limit to its dynamism, but the dual motor version tested offers plenty of grip.

Single motor versions are the most efficient of the range and send 231hp to the front wheels. That should be enough performance for most, but the dual motor version does feel fast on the road when you want it. There's a whopping 408hp, more than a Volkswagen ID.5 GTX, and the C40 Recharge Twin will sprint to 100km/h in just 4.7 seconds.

The suspension has been firmed up to cope with the extra weight of the battery, but the C40 is still deemed a comfortable drive for the most part.

DC fast charging is possible with the C40 up to 150kW, so you can add 80% charge in just under 40 minutes at a high-power charging station. From a 7kW wallbox at home for example, it will take about 12 hours to charge the battery to 100%.

Every C40 also comes with a Plugsurfing card that allows you to use over 200,000 charge points across Ireland and Europe with just one access card.

Volvo C40 and XC40 charging
Pure electric Volvo C40 and XC40 Recharge

Did you like it?

Despite offering a more prestigious design and image, the Volvo C40 starts from the same price as the XC40 Recharge, Volvo's other electric SUV.

Just like the XC40, the C40 offers a classy cabin experience and a very user-friendly digital interface. It's the little things, like the integrated Google Maps, that make the C40 a smart companion on any journey.

The C40 looks great and is a prestigious electric SUV. It offers accommodation for five and a boot of over 400 litres, though some rivals do feel a bit more spacious in the back.

Dual motor versions offer excellent performance but the C40 is not dynamic enough for this to be a huge thrill beyond some hefty acceleration in a straight line. For that reason the 'entry level' single motor, front wheel drive C40 looks to be a more sensible option - unless four wheel drive is required.

This is a simple Swede to live with and stands out for its stylish good looks and relaxing cabin among other electric SUVs.

The new Volvo C40 Recharge Twin with dual motors priced from €61,930
The new Volvo C40 Recharge Twin priced from €61,930

Model tested: Volvo C40 Recharge Twin
Price: 
€68,950
Battery:
78 kWh
Range: 446 km (WLTP)
Power: 408hp
Torque: 660Nm
Top speed: 180 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 4.7 seconds
Motor Tax: 
€120 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year


The Volvo XC40 T5 plug-in hybrid on test for Changing Lanes

Volvo XC40 Hybrid Review (2020)

The Volvo XC40 T5 plug-in hybrid on test for Changing Lanes
The Volvo XC40 T5 plug-in hybrid on test for Changing Lanes

Caroline drives the new Volvo XC40 T5 hybrid!

This week on Changing Lanes we test the new Volvo XC40 T5 plug-in hybrid. Volvo’s compact SUV has been a great success for Volvo and is now the bestselling model in the Volvo range in Ireland since it launched here in 2018. A former Irish Car of the Year winner, the Volvo XC40 has established itself as formidable competition in the premium compact SUV segment.

Launched with petrol and diesel engines, Volvo continues the Swedish brand’s journey to electrification with the arrival of plug-in hybrid technology to the tune of the new Volvo XC40 T5. Volvo already sells plug-in hybrids in other models in the range, including SUVs, so this is a continuation of a similar theme. While an all-electric XC40 is expected in 2021.

What's so special about the Volvo XC40 T5?

In the T5 ‘Twin Engine’, this compact SUV model uses a three cylinder 1.5-litre petrol engine supported by a battery and electric motor to reduce emissions and give the XC40 the capacity to drive on pure electric power for a short range. This is ideal for city dwellers with short commutes and ability to charge their car between journeys.

The T5 is not only the first hybrid powertrain in the XC40, it’s also the first to be engineered for use in Volvo's CMA (Compact Modular Architecture) platform and uses a front-wheel drive layout. The powertrain is supported by a new seven-speed twin-clutch automatic transmission, featured for the first time in a new-generation Volvo model.

While the Volvo XC40 range kicks off from about €38,297, buyers will pay from about €47,700, including grants and VRT relief, for this ability to embrace a modern plug-in hybrid powertrain in their new Volvo SUV.

The Volvo XC40 is the bestselling Volvo in Ireland
The Volvo XC40 is the bestselling Volvo in Ireland

So what do you get for your money?

Power output is an impressive 262 hp, while CO2 emissions are just 48 g CO2 meaning buyers will pay €170 per year at the moment in motor tax. A 10.7 kWh lithium-ion battery on board means that the new XC40 T5 can be driven on electric power only for a range of up to 46 km.

The Volvo XC40 is a fine piece of design. The Recharge branding appears for the first time on the C pillar to indicate the electrified powertrain underneath and there is a recharging outlet positioned under a flap on the front wing.

Inside, the Volvo XC40 is still a masterclass in design in its segment. The layout is simple and stylish, while the quality is just superb. The car comes equipped with digital instrument panel and portrait style infotainment system and it still feels modern, with smartphone connectivity available. Passengers are well accommodated for with large footwells in the rear, while there is also a good-sized boot with 460 litres making it an ideal fashionable family car.

The interior of the Volvo XC40 T5 Inscription Pro
The interior of the Volvo XC40 T5 Inscription Pro

Driving the Volvo XC40 T5

On the road, the XC40 T5 is a dream to drive. Its hybrid powertrain means it runs super silently whether in town or on the motorway. The power delivery is smooth and urgent, with a pleasant kick when you press the accelerator. It’s 262 hp after all! Handling is positive though under hard braking you will feel the weight of the vehicle. Though the electric motor is helping particularly at low speeds in town, where it is most efficient, on the open road you call more on the engine. While the onus is on drivers to charge up to improve the efficiency of the vehicle, without charging regularly I achieved an average fuel consumption of 6.9 litres per 100 km.

The T5 is available in a range of trim levels including R-Design and Inscription with Pro editions of each. Our test car was a beautiful Inscription Pro that comes with luxurious features such as 19” alloys, leather upholstery, heated front seats, ambient lighting, powered tailgate and a show-stopping Orrefors Crystal glass gear selector.

The XC40 plug in hybrid can be driven on pure electric power up to about 46 km.
The XC40 plug in hybrid can be driven on pure electric power up to about 46 km.

So did you like it?

The Volvo XC40 is a proper premium SUV, nothing has changed when you add a plug-in hybrid powertrain. It’s impressively refined and covers the road smoothly and comfortably, leaving little to disagree with.

It is a pricey vehicle, and plug-in hybrids are still not for everyone. Yet economy returns are promising and charging after each journey will make a lot more sense.

The cabin is comfortable and well appointed with a good use of space. The plug-in hybrid technology hasn’t put the XC40 at a disadvantage when it comes to providing the space and practicality required of the compact SUV segment.

Volvo is pushing electrification strongly in their range, giving buyers more options and settling one’s conscious of driving an SUV in the city. With hybrid power and the ability to drive on electricity only, it feels like the right thing to do for urban dwellers. But if you are not quite sold on hybrid for your motoring needs, the XC40 is still a very good SUV with plenty to discover across the range.

New Volvo XC40 T5 available from about €47,700 after grants and VRT relief
New Volvo XC40 T5 available from about €47,700 after grants and VRT relief

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Volvo XC40 T5 Inscription Pro
Price: 
€50,100 after grants and VRT relief
Engine: 1.5-litre petrol electric hybrid
Power: 
262 hp
Torque: 425 Nm
0-100km/h: 
7.3 seconds
Top speed: 205 km/h
Fuel economy (WLTP): 2.4 l/100km
CO2 emissions: 55 g/km
Motor Tax:  €170 per year


The new Volvo S60

Volvo S60 Review (2020)

The new Volvo S60
The new Volvo S60

Caroline drives the new Volvo S60.

Volvo is bravely stepping into the future with the new Volvo S60 – without diesel. The new S60 is the first Volvo to be produced without a diesel engine and will be sold exclusively powered by a petrol engine or as a petrol-electric plug-in hybrid. This move is part of a bold statement from the brand about transport beyond the traditional combustion engine that will see all new generation Volvos from 2019 now sold only as either a mild petrol hybrid, plug-in petrol hybrid or battery electric vehicle.

Pricing starts from €46,222, putting the new Volvo S60 firmly in the executive car park.

Being a typical Swede, Volvo has the politics just right for this car. The S60 is simple, handsome and discrete but still with enough star power to draw some admiring glances. I loved the sporty elegance of the new Volvo S60.

The interior of the new Volvo S60
The interior of the new Volvo S60

Inside the new Volvo S60

Volvo interior design is some of the best in the business and the new S60 is no exception. There's a modest colour palette and the cabin architecture somehow has a mysterious soothing effect, which is reassuring for a fleet driver who will spend may hours on the road. The UN has been in here for sure.

There are no distractions, just a simple layout built around a 9″ tablet-style touchscreen with voice-activated control, navigation system and access to the Volvo On Call connected services platform. The system also connects easily to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

It’s comfortable and quality is superb. Interior accommodation is good for the segment with generous footwells in the rear and boot volume a competitive 442 litres.

Driving the new S60

The new S60 is built at Volvo’s new Charleston plant in South Carolina, USA, on Volvo’s SPA (Scalable Product Architecture) platform, which also underpins the S90, V60, V90, XC60 and XC90. The S60’s chassis strikes a good balance between comfort and control, while the steering is precise and responsive. Double wishbone front suspension and Volvo’s integral rear suspension reap dividends for surprisingly sporty handling and keep weight to a minimum for more agility.

The Volvo S60 is available as a petrol or petrol-electric hybrid
The Volvo S60 is available as a petrol or petrol-electric hybrid

My test car was a S60 T5, which is powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine putting out 250 hp and 350 Nm of torque. The T5 is fun and responsive to drive with a slick shifting 8-speed automatic gearbox. The problem is it will never be as economical as a diesel. Over a week of driving, my average fuel consumption was 8.2l/100km.

In Ireland, the S60 range kicks off at €46,222 for a T4 petrol with 190hp, while the T5 R-Design model I had on test has a list price of €49,495. Equipment includes leather sports seats, sports steering wheel, LED headlights, keyless entry and start), head-up display, 18" alloy wheels, 12.3” driver information display and cruise control.

There’s also the S60 ‘T8 Twin Engine’ plug-in hybrid powertrain with 390 hp. The 11.8 kWh battery on board gives an electric-only range of up to about 58 km, with CO2 emissions from just 39g/km. When not in pure EV mode, it runs as a hybrid with support from a petrol engine. It has potential to be a more economical car to run however it has a comparatively high sticker price of €62,495.

The new S60 is smart and fun to drive with the refined response of a petrol engine
The new S60 is smart and fun to drive with the refined response of a petrol engine

I loved the Volvo S60 but wondered if dropping diesel might be a little premature when it comes to the transport needs of customers in a segment favoured by long distance, company car drivers.

Of course for everyone else, the new Volvo S60 is a great alternative mid-size sports saloon that’s fun to drive with the refined response of a petrol engine.

The Volvo S60 holds its corner very comfortably in the executive car park. It's a fabulous piece of design inside and out. Alternative but powerful in its own right.

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Volvo S60 T5 R-Design Automatic
Price: 
€49,624
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo petrol
Power: 
250 hp
Torque: 350 Nm
0-100km/h:  
6.2 seconds
Top speed: 240 km/h
Fuel consumption (WLTP): 
7.4 – 8.0 l/100km
CO2 emissions:  
169-170g/km
Motor Tax: €390 per year


The new Volvo XC90 B5!

Volvo XC90 Review

The new Volvo XC90 B5!
The new Volvo XC90 B5!

Read Caroline's Volvo XC90 review for everything you need to know about Volvo's large family SUV in Ireland.

Volvo is quickly becoming a leader in SUVs. Taking all the experience the brand garnered building practical family cars, namely estate cars, the Swedish brand has turned their magic touch to SUVs.

The new XC90 spearheaded Volvo’s spectacular revival in 2015 and was the first vehicle to be built on the new Volvo in-house designed and built chassis, using its own in-house designed and built engines. The XC90 was closely followed by the XC60 and the XC40, a family of Volvo SUVs all proving to be formidable competitors in their respective segments.

So what's new for 2020?

And what an experience the Volvo XC90 is. For the 2020 model year, the XC90 has received a refresh with new styling details, more equipment, upgrades to petrol-electric plug-in versions and the Irish debut of a new mild-hybrid powertrain - the B5 diesel mild hybrid tested here.

Priced from €77,970, the XC90 firmly occupies the large premium SUV segment. This is a stunning car inside and out. The XC90 is beautifully designed and makes an elegant statement wherever it goes. Now there are new grille and lower front bumper designs and the air intakes also have a fresh look. New alloy wheel designs have been introduced for 2020. All XC90 versions now come with roof rails and dual exhaust tailpipes as standard.

The interior of the 2020 Volvo XC90
The interior of the 2020 Volvo XC90

R-Design models (from €82,363) get a new black high-gloss finish for the exterior trim, including the door mirror casings, window frames and roof rails. There are also new paint options, including Thunder Grey, Pebble Grey and Birch Light shades.

Inside the 2020 Volvo XC90

The cabin has been designed with a simple layout built around the 9" tablet-like touchscreen with voice-activated control, navigation system and access to the Volvo On Call connected services platform. It's also compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The XC90's cabin is a calm, reassuring and comfortable place to be. It is a generous seven seat SUV with great leg- and headroom all round. Even in seven seat mode, the XC90 still seems to have more space to spare, while there's a huge 775 litres in five seat mode.

In Ireland, the new XC90 range is available in Momentum, R-Design and Inscription versions along with Pro upgrades for each. Standard equipment includes 19" alloys, LED headlights with active high beam, power-operated tailgate, parking sensors, rear parking camera, leather-faced upholstery, powered driver’s and front passenger seats, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control with ‘CleanZone’ air-quality system,12.3-inch driver’s information display, City Safety, including automatic emergency braking with Steering Support, Oncoming Lane Mitigation, Run-off Road Mitigation and Run-off Road Protection.

R-Design highlights include the gloss black mesh front grille, door mirror casings and window surround, sports seats with leather and nubuck upholstery, front-seat cushion extensions, sports leather steering wheel with gearshift paddles, sports pedals, black headlining and 20" alloy wheels with a diamond-cut and black finish.

The new XC90 is available as a mild hybrid diesel or a petrol electric plug-in hybrid
The new XC90 is available as a mild hybrid diesel or a petrol electric plug-in hybrid

What are my options?

Buyers in Ireland can choose from the new 'B5' mild-hybrid diesel with 235 hp or the 'T8 Twin Engine' petrol-electric plug-in hybrid with 390 hp. Every XC90 comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

My test car was a Volvo XC90 B5 R-Design with a list price of €82,863. It is a fantastic combination. Volvo’s established 2.0-litre 235hp diesel engine is combined with a 48-volt battery, a KERS kinetic energy recovery system and an integrated starter generator. Volvo says the system improves fuel economy by up to 15 per cent in real-world driving and produces lower NOx emissions than the outgoing D5 XC90 it replaces. It's a supremely quiet and refined set up. Over a week of driving my fuel consumption averaged at 8.2l/100km.

The other engine option is the XC90 T8 Twin Engine petrol-electric plug-in hybrid powertrain, which has been revised for 2020 with an increase in the high-voltage battery’s capacity from 10.4 to 11.8 kWh. This increases the car’s electric-only driving range to about 46 km.

The Volvo XC90 is priced from €77,970 in Ireland
The Volvo XC90 is priced from €77,970 in Ireland

Driving the new Volvo XC90

On the road the Volvo XC90 is good. Very good! It's a smooth drive with excellent ride quality. Refinement is top notch. The XC90 has surprising agility and has been engineered exceptionally well to make it one of the best, most effortless drivers in the large SUV segment. It's certainly not trying to be sporty but you do feel very much in control and in command behind the wheel of the XC90.

The Volvo XC90 is big, commanding and luxurious. Yet on the road it has the kind of agility associated with a smaller vehicle. The B5 is super refined and suits this behemoth very well. Interior quality and ambience is up there with the best on offer in this segment. Volvo probably wouldn't say this in a press release, but you will feel calmer and more relaxed behind the wheel. I did!

The Volvo XC90 is a masterpiece in the world of large SUVs.

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Volvo XC90 B5 AWD Automatic R Design
Price: 
€82,863 (XC90 from €77,970)
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
235 hp
Torque: 480 Nm
0-100km/h:
7.8 seconds
Top speed: 220 km/h
Fuel consumption (WLTP): 
6.9-7.5l/100km
CO2 emissions NEDC2:
155g/km (WLTP: 179-195g/km)
Motor tax: 
€390 per year

Caroline in the Volvo XC90!
Caroline in the Volvo XC90!

Caroline and the new Volvo XC40

Volvo XC40 Review

Caroline and the new Volvo XC40
Caroline and the new Volvo XC40

Caroline drives the new Volvo XC40.

For many years, Volvo has been known as the maker of some fine family cars, particularly estate cars. But the brand has reinvented itself for a new era of the family vehicle - that of the SUV. In a relatively short space of time, Volvo has become a very fine maker of SUVs. After the success of the XC90 and the XC60, it’s now the turn of the new Volvo XC40.

The Volvo XC40 is the baby of the Volvo SUV family, a compact premium SUV with pricing starting from €36,450 in Ireland. The Volvo XC40 certainly holds some promise as it’s already been voted European Car of the Year 2018. It’s also the first model on Volvo Cars’ new modular vehicle architecture (CMA), which will underpin all other upcoming cars in the 40 Series, including fully electrified vehicles.

It's clear that Volvo has taken due care to create an entry level SUV that is desirable not just because it’s a Volvo, but because it’s the kind of vehicle you instantly feel at home in.

On the outside the Volvo XC40 has a confident presence not compromised by the constraints of being a compact vehicle. In fact the XC40 is probably the most distinct of the trio of Volvo SUVS – XC40, XC60 and XC90 – with plenty of visual chutzpah.

The new Volvo XC40
The new Volvo XC40 has plenty of visual chutzpah

What's it like inside the new Volvo XC40?

The interior of the Volvo XC40 manages to capture much of the style and quality of the larger Volvo SUVs, rather than feeling like a cheaper product whipped up for profit margins. Everything you can feel and see regularly like the steering wheel, dials, centre console and door panels all look and feel good, though you will find cheaper plastics in the lower extremities. But generally there is a decent feeling of plushness inside to justify the pricing. The infotainment system with 9" touchscreen is a particular highlight in its glossy casing with logical layout.

Like a lot of rivals the price for the new Volvo XC40 can get steep quickly but here’s the general price tiering for the XC40 trim range in Ireland: XC40 (from €36,450), Momentum (from €38,900), Inscription (from €42,900) and R-Design (from €47,394).

Standard equipment includes 17” alloys, LED headlights, rear parking camera and sensors, digital instrument panel, cruise control, climate control, City Safety (includes Pedestrian & Cyclist Detection & Front Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake), traffic sign recognition, Driver Alert Control with Lane Keeping Aid, 9” touchscreen and heated front seats.

There are a number of engines available for the new Volvo XC40. In terms of diesel there’s the D3 (150hp) and D4 (190hp). Petrol options include the T3 (156hp), T4 (190hp) and T5 (247hp). All wheel drive is standard on some models like D4 and T5, while the entry T3 model is a front wheel drive manual. Automatic gearboxes are also available.

The interior of the new Volvo XC40
The interior of the new Volvo XC40 is comfortable and plush

The Volvo XC40 is stylish and practical

D4 AWD models with 190hp start from €47,450, while my D4 AWD R-Design test car starts from €51,183. The model tested had a number of options and came in at over €60,000. Expensive indeed but there is value to be had in the range. The R-Design models do look particularly good with 18” alloys, dual exhaust pipes, glossy black window surround, gloss black mesh front grille and gloss black door mirrors. Inside there are contour sports seats with part leather upholstery, black headlining, perforated leather steering wheel, sports pedals and rear privacy glass.

The Volvo XC40 will seat five and is nicely sized for this class of vehicle with some decent head and legroom in the back for a compact SUV. The 432 litre boot is also competitive for the segment, if not huge.

On the road the Volvo XC40 truly impresses for comfort. The XC40 is beautifully softly sprung and though it’s not set up for the sportiest steering feel, the steering is fluid and controlled. The car slips in and out of corners with ease, hugging the road well despite the higher ride height when compared to a hatchback. There are a number of driving modes and the sportiest setting adds weight to the steering while adding a more urgent throttle response.

The D4 diesel is a 2.0-litre unit with 190bhp. It has plenty of power and the overall refinement of the engine is good. Combined with the automatic gearbox, this is a silky smooth mover.

All in all, the Volvo XC40 is an excellent compact premium SUV. It doesn’t come cheap but it gives its occupants the premium ‘hug’ while offering the sort of style and practicality so important in this segment.

The new Volvo XC40
The new Volvo XC40 is a stylish and practical compact SUV

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Volvo XC40 D4 AWD R-Design Automatic
Price: 
€51,183 (Available from €36,450)
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
190hp
Torque: 400Nm
0-100km/h: 
7.9 seconds
Top speed: 210km/h
Claimed Economy: 
5.1/100km
CO2 emissions:  
131g/km
Motor tax: 
€280 per year


Volvo XC60 wins World Car Of The Year 2018

Volvo XC60 Wins World Car of the Year 2018

The new Volvo XC60 midsize SUV has been named World Car of the Year 2018 at the New York Auto Show. It is the first World Car of the Year award for the brand.

The win comes after the Volvo XC40 small SUV was recently named European Car of the Year at the Geneva Motor Show.

“I am pleased to see our company’s product investments paying off,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and CEO of Volvo Cars. “We are up against some tough competition, but this award for the XC60 show that Volvo has the right combination of design, connectivity and safety that appeals to customers across the world.”

The finalists for this year's competition included the Alfa Romeo Giulia, BMW X3, Kia Stinger, Land Rover Discovery, Nissan Leaf, Toyota Camry, Range Rover Velar, Mazda CX-5 and Volkswagen T-Roc.


Volvo XC40, 2018 European Car of the Year

Volvo XC40 Wins 2018 European Car Of The Year

The new Volvo XC40 has been named the 2018 European Car of the Year. The small SUV from Volvo won with a healthy lead of 325 points over the SEAT Ibiza with 242 points, and the BMW 5-Series with 226 points.

This is the first time that Volvo has won this prestigious award.

The Volvo XC40's quality, looks, ruggedness and safety impressed Jury members.

“Winning this award with our new XC40 is perfect timing,” said Håkan Samuelsson, President and CEO of Volvo Cars. “Volvo now has three globally available SUVs in its range for the first time. The XC40 will be a strong contributor to further growth, taking us into a new and fast-growing small SUV segment.”

The Volvo XC40 is the first model on Volvo Cars’ new compact modular vehicle architecture (CMA), which will underpin all upcoming cars in the 40 series, including fully electrified vehicles.

“We have a clear strategy for growth and we are committed to leading in automotive safety, connectivity services and electrification,” said Håkan Samuelsson. “The XC40 reflects that commitment, and looking at the response from our customers and from the Car of the Year jury here today, we are on the right track.”

The Volvo XC40 is on sale in Ireland now. For more information visit Volvo's website.


Volvo XC60 review ireland

Volvo XC60 Review

Volvo has quite a history in building classic estate cars and their expertise in family cars has transferred well to their current crop of SUVs. The arrival of the new Volvo XC90 in 2015 heralded a renaissance for the Swedish brand with sharper styling, more modern interiors and cutting-edge safety equipment, and now it’s the turn of the mid-size Volvo XC60.

The Volvo XC60 is now a well-established family name, representing about 30% of Volvo’s global sales and is Volvo’s bestselling model in Ireland.

In term of design, the new Volvo XC60 has had a complete makeover with strong XC90 DNA evidenced in the ‘Thor’s Hammer’ headlights, upright grille, boxy silhouette and tail lights extending to the roofline. This car has kerb appeal in bucket loads.

The XC60 has a brand new interior built around a 9” portrait style touchscreen that comes as standard and controls many of the car’s functions removing the need for a lot of buttons on the centre console. The result is clean, high quality dashboard with an interesting mix of materials and textures. The 12.3” digital instrument cluster is another highlight, standard on R-Design and Inscription trims.

Volvo XC60 review ireland
The interior of the new Volvo XC60

Passenger accommodation is good for five, while in the back the transmission tunnel does not impede too much into legroom for the middle seat passenger. The powered tailgate reveals a 505 litre boot that can be stacked to the roof.

In Ireland, the XC60 is offered in three trim levels Momentum (from €53,950), R-Design (from €58,150) and Inscription (from €60,450). All cars come with four wheel drive and an 8-speed automatic gearbox, with front wheel drive models to join next year. Engine options include the popular 190hp D4 2.0-litre diesel and 235hp D5 diesel (from €59,950), and a T8 petrol/electric hybrid model (from €69,950) with 407hp.

Standard equipment is good including cruise control, hill descent control, heated front seats, keyless start, LED headlights, 18” alloys, rear parking sensors, Driver Alert Control with Lane Keeping Aid and Road Sign Information Display.

The Volvo XC60 is a stylish and smooth mid-size SUV

My test car was an XC60 R-Design D4 AWD retailing from €58,150. From the get go, the XC60 bears all the trademarks of a premium car: the cabin is well isolated from engine and road noise and the diesel pulls the XC60 briskly and smoothly through the smooth automatic gearbox. My test car had the optional air suspension (from €2,840) with a number of different driving modes, but the ride is very soft and cosseting. The steering is light and the Volvo XC60 is very easy to drive and manouvre for an SUV of its size. It’s not as athletic as a Jaguar F-Pace for example but the refinement and smoothness of the Volvo XC60 is truly commendable.

Volvo XC60 review ireland
The Volvo XC60 range starts from €53,950

It's easy to feel instantly at home in the cabin of the new Volvo XC60. The XC60 has moved on in leaps and bounds in terms of design. Smooth and comfortable, powerful and spacious, the Volvo XC60 makes a compelling choice for buyers seeking a premium mid-size SUV.

Model tested: Volvo XC60 R-Design D4 AWD
Price: €58,150 (Range starts €53,950)
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
190hp
Torque: 400Nm
0-100km/h:  
8.4 seconds
Top speed: 205km/h
Claimed Economy: 
5.1/100km
CO2 emissions: 
136g/km
Motor tax:
€280 per year

Caroline Kidd