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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.

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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