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Volvo XC40 Recharge – review of the Scandinavian compact SUV


Volvo XC40 Recharge
Volvo XC40 Recharge in motion / Source: MARC URBANO CAR AND DRIVER

In today’s article, we’ll talk about Volvo’s smallest SUV, the XC40 Recharge. Released in January 2021, this car is the successor to its previous petrol version XC40. If you’re looking for a classy and compact SUV with that European charm, this one might do the trick. The XC40 Recharge is Volvo’s first completely electric all-wheel-drive vehicle. The bigger models of this car (XC60, XC90…) come with plug-in variants only.

This vehicle is Volvo’s answer to the announcements it has made in the past. They are aiming to become climate neutral by 2040. Also, with the desire to sell a total of 1 million electrified cars by 2025, they will need to bump up manufacturing processes.

When looking at the option packages, Volvo decided to keep it simple. Thus, the vehicle comes in two trims: Plus and Ultimate. Some of the features that will be standard with this vehicle include:

  • Power-adjustable, heated front seats
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • LED headlights, taillights and foglights
  • Keyless entry and ignition
  • Hands-free liftgate
  • Four USB-C ports
  • Leather upholstery
  • Panoramic glass roof

What differentiates the Ultimate from Plus are:

  • Heated rear seats
  • Adaptive cruise control (maintains a driver-set distance between the Volvo and the car in front)
  • Harman Kardon Premium Sound System
  • 20-inch wheels
Volvo XC40 Recharge 

Engine and Performance

Looking at XC40 Recharge’s powertrain, users will have to choose between a single motor front-wheel drive and a twin motor all-wheel drive. Since the latter is everyone’s favorite (we are also a little biased here), that’s the one we are going to be talking about. The engine produces 402 horsepower, enough to propel the XC40 Recharge to 100km/h in 4.7 seconds, according to Volvo; which is just 0.6 seconds away from Polestar 2 acceleration number. The car looks slow and compact, because of its rounded curves, but that is certainly not the case. We noticed an effortless ride and sophisticated cruising behavior throughout the test drive; everything an SUV should have. One-pedal driving is possible thanks to aggressive regenerative braking, which is a desired and convenient EV characteristic that we enjoy.

Volvo’s behavior on road is smooth. It might not outrun a sporty sedan, but it makes you feel it would. Its low center of gravity (due to the battery pack) and tighter-than-usual suspension setup for a premium SUV are how it performs remarkably at cornering gymnastics. A firmer suspension causes the wheels to rebound more quickly to the road, allowing the tires to acquire greater grip.

Battery, Range and Safety Features

Because the company relied on the performance of the vehicle, it has done so on the cost of the range. XC40 Recharge comes with a 75kWh battery that has an estimated real range of 340km (210 miles). Fast DC charging is an option for this car, with speeds of up to 150kW. In optimal situations, the car will charge up to 80% in 40 minutes. Volvo XC40 Recharge’s range of 210 miles between charges isn’t bad, but it falls short of what popular EV vehicles from Hyundai, Ford, and Tesla provide, which often have ranges of 250 miles or more. When you consider that most vehicle owners don’t travel more than 60 miles per day, a loss of 25 to 30 miles doesn’t seem like much. However, because potential EV customers place a high value on vehicle range, a lesser range number may sway an inquisitive shopper away from the Volvo and toward something from another manufacturer. For a luxury premium SUV that’s got a legacy behind it, the range is below the standard.

Onto the safety, some of the features include:

  • 360 parking view – four cameras, positioned around the vehicle, making it a breeze to park even in the tightest spots
  • blind spot monitoring
  • rear cross traffic alert
  • adaptive headlights
  • “reverse with confidence” – rear parking sensors

The braking structure is sophisticated, featuring Antilock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and Electronic Brake Assistance (EBA).

It is also worth noting that this car was rated as a top pick of 2021, per IIHS. Visit the article to see what the test consisted of, and all the grades that XC40 Recharge received. Check the crash test of this vehicle below.


The inside is pretty straightforward. Swedish minimalism, with a couple of physical buttons on the steering wheel and under the infotainment screen. Climate controls are handled from the infotainment screen if you don’t want to use voice commands integrated by Google.

Under-Front Seat Bins – part of a $1400 extra Premium package

With a total length of 4425mm (174.2 inches) and a wheelbase of 2702mm (106.3 inches), uncertainty for space the interior offers is not unheard of. Still, Volvo XC40 Recharge offers plenty of room, even for 5 people, and its even designed 6 new storage areas within it. Talk about practicality.

Android Automotive, Google’s version of Android designed particularly for in-vehicle use, powers the whole infotainment system. Volvo has gone all-in on Android Automotive, unlike other automakers that either blend their own features in with Google’s or merely utilize the platform as their base operating system.
A quick “Hey, Google” also gives you access to car settings such as changing the air conditioning, choosing media and radio stations, and monitoring voicemails and text messages.

Weight and Cargo Space

Volvo XC40 Recharge weighs 2188kg (4823 lbs), half a tonne more than its petrol brother XC40. This difference in weight is due to the large battery pack stacked under the seats of the SUV. Either way, this does not stand in way of acceleration and the dynamics of the car. Flooring the gas pedal and feeling the maximum torque of 660 Nm is guaranteed to bring you back to a time when you were a little boy, revving the engine of the car for the first time.

For a family of 4 or 5, the storage capabilities of XC40 Recharge might be a bit low. Cargo space of 414 liters with a trunk in the front (frunk) of 31 liters makes a total of almost 450 liters of capacity. Compared to some of the competition, it is not that bad. Its closest competitor, Kia Niro EV claims 451 liters, while Ford Mustang Mach-E is at 402 liters. They are all way behind when we consider Volkswagen ID.4’s 543-liter load space, but we wouldn’t put these two cars into the same class.

Price and Final Words

The base model, 2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge Twin Pure Electric Plus has a price of $56,395 MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price).

If you decide to go for the Ultimate trim, expect a price of $59,245 MSRP. With these price marks, Volvo will have a hard time competing for a slice of the market. It’s more expensive than the Volkswagen ID.4, Skoda Enyaq, Mustang Mach-E, and it’s only a few thousand dollars away from Europe’s most sold Tesla Model 3. What do you think about this car? Let us know below!

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