The Volvo XC40 has been one of our favorite subcompact SUVs since its launch in 2018. That made us all the more curious to check out its new electrically powered sibling, the XC40 Recharge (rebadged from 2021 to Recharge Twin for 2022, though they’re basically the same).
By Jim TraversApril 18, 2022
Virtues of the gasoline-powered XC40 include sporty driving dynamics, a generous assortment of tech features, and a modern, stylish and spacious interior. Because of this, we were eager to see how the X40 Recharge would stack up.
To cut to the chase, we’re pleased to report that Volvo’s first electric vehicle did not disappoint. The X40 Recharge has the same attributes of its gas-powered counterpart, and is similarly enjoyable to drive and welcoming inside. In some ways, the XC40 Recharge offers even more performance than the original, with quick and immediate power delivery and strong acceleration.
Good as it is, the all-electric XC40 Recharge is not without a few drawbacks, some more concerning than others. Here are seven things we like about the Volvo XC40 Recharge (and Recharge Twin) and three we don’t care for:
Things We Like
1. Electrifying Acceleration
As a rule, EVs are quick from a standstill, with immediate response to your right foot and plenty of torque. The XC40 Recharge is even quicker than many of its competitors, with a manufacturer-estimated 0-60 mph time of 4.7 seconds. This is possible thanks to two 201-horsepower electric motors driving all four wheels, one in front and one in back. Power is abundant even at highway speeds, where some electrics start to run out of juice; to put that in perspective, the fastest gas-powered XC40 takes an admittedly not-too-shabby 6.1 seconds to do 0-60 mph.
2. Inherent XC40 Goodness
Part of what makes the XC40 Recharge a good EV is that Volvo started with a good design to begin with. It builds on the good qualities of the gas variant with competent handling, plenty of safety and convenience tech, an open and airy cockpit with lots of clever storage compartments, and comfortable front seats that stay that way even on long trips.
3. Balanced Ride and Handling
The XC40 Recharge rides better than many of its electric brethren, which are stiffly sprung in an effort to lend a sporty feel. The fact that the XC40 Recharge delivers a good balance of ride comfort and competent handling without using an expensive and sophisticated adaptive suspension like some competitors is just a bonus. Much like the conventional gas XC40, the Recharge remains comfortable and quiet underway even on the notably punishing roads near our Chicago offices.
4. Quick Charging
One thing that Volvo did right to help offset the efficiency was to give the XC40 Recharge robust home-charging capability. Its 11-kilowatt capability means that the XC40 can be completely recharged in eight hours using a 48-amp Level 2 (240-volt) home charger, 12 hours with a 32-amp charger, and 24 hours when using a 16-amp charger. A public DC fast-charging station can take it from empty to an 80% change in just two hours.
5. Talkin’ ‘Bout Regeneration
To help increase range, the XC40 Recharge includes a one-pedal drive mode that utilizes the electric motors to do most of the braking under normal conditions and help maximize battery range. Not all electrics offer this option for regenerative braking — which admittedly can take some getting used to — but Volvo gives drivers the choice of switching it on or off. It works well enough that most braking can be done simply by lifting off the accelerator.
6. Over-the-Air Updates
One side benefit of all the technology going into vehicles lately is that engineers can wirelessly issue updates over the air as they figure out ways to add features or, in this case, improve performance and efficiency. Our test car, which originally left the factory as a 2021 Recharge, is a rolling example of this: An over-the-air update effectively made it a model-year 2022 Recharge Twin, increasing its range from an estimated 208 miles to 223 miles. Overall efficiency was increased from an EPA-estimated 79 mpg equivalent to 85 mpg-equivalent.
7. Decent Cargo Room
The switch to electric power doesn’t keep the XC40 Recharge from having decent cargo room for its size, another thing we noted as a plus with the gasoline version. The XC40 Recharge boasts 17.7 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats, and another 0.5 cubic foot in the front trunk. That’s slightly better than the 17.9 cubic feet available with the Ford Mustang Mach E and close to the 18.9 cubic feet of the Volkswagen ID.4.
More From Cars.com:
- 2021 Volvo XC60 Recharge Review
- How Do Car Seats Fit in a 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge?
- 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge Comes With $60,000 Price Tag, Free Charging
- Is the 2021 Volvo XC60 Recharge a Good Car? 5 Pros and 2 Cons
- 2021 Volvo S90 Recharge PHEV Range: How Far Can It Go on Electricity Alone?
Things We Don’t Like
1. Not So Efficient
One big reason people buy EVs is for their efficiency; unfortunately, this is an area where the XC40 Recharge falls short. The XC40 Recharge lacks the range of some competitors. Even with the update for 2022, the XC40 Recharge gets an EPA-estimated 85 mpg-e and a range of 223 miles. That’s less than the VW ID.4 and Tesla Model Y, which even in its quickest version gets an EPA-estimated 111 mpg-e.
The XC40’s dashboard design is smooth and sleek, partly because it lacks knobs and switches for almost all functions, instead relying on its touchscreen. That makes for a clean look, but it can add a distraction and make adjustments feel awkward while underway. Worse, the switch to a Google interface means that the XC40 Recharge is compatible with neither Android Auto nor Apple CarPlay (at least for now).
3. Sticker Shock
With a starting price of $56,395 (prices include destination), the XC40 Recharge isn’t cheap. A federal tax credit of up to $7,500 and other incentives can help, but that’s a lot of coin for a subcompact SUV. By comparison, a gas-powered 2022 XC40 starts at $35,100.
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By Patrick MastersonJune 21, 2022
By Patrick MastersonJune 21, 2022