Going electric an XClent move

The Volvo XC40 Recharge

Daragh Keany

Volvo – XC40 Recharge

Volvo’s baby premium SUV, the stunning XC40 has been given an overhaul, but not on the outside.

It’s what’s on the inside that counts after all, so they have now offered up this beauty in EV mode and Motormouths are both in favour of the move.

The gorgeous styling, high- quality cabin and very good driving dynamics are all still there but this time there isn’t a drop of fuel. It’s all powered by a giant 78kWh battery and two impressive electric motors positioned on each axle offered a combined power of 408bhp.

It is Volvo’s first all-electric here in Ireland and while the premium badge means it comes with a premium price tag – I still think it needs to be on everyone’s ‘maybe’ list if you are in the market for a high-end EV with a 400km+ range.

The fully-electric XC40 Recharge range kicks off at an expensive €64,314 for the ‘P8’ Twin Plus model, although there is a more affordable single-motor version, the ‘P6’ which starts from €50,508. So, it is not a mind-blowing sum of money.

And you do get a lot for your money, even at entry level.

The basic Twin Plus comes with a 12-inch digital instrument panel, a heat pump cabin heating system, two-zone climate, full LED headlights, the comfort-oriented ‘Touring’ chassis, park assist sensors at the front and rear, with a reversing camera, 19-inch alloys, high-gloss exterior trim, keyless entry and ignition and Volvo’s new Google-based infotainment system.

There are plenty of extras and upgrades to indulge in too if you want to dig a little deeper.

Luckily, Volvo’s complete change of powertrain doesn’t mean they went crazy inside the cabin too. The XC40 interior has always been strong and remains so here.

The 12-inch digital instrument panel is as good as it gets compared to its rivals with clear graphics and everything laid out as it should be. This complements the 10-inch touchscreen (any Volvo fan/driver since 2015 will appreciate it) for the infotainment system which, again, is as user friendly and clear as ever.

There is plenty of legroom and headroom whether you’re sitting in the front or back, and given that this is a Volvo…comfort and safety levels are excellent. If you’re plugging in phones or devices, there’s one USB-C port in the front, plus a 12-volt socket and the wireless phone charger. There are more sockets under the armrest. In the back, there’s a single USB-C port and another 12-volt socket. The rear seat passengers also get their own air vents.

The boot just has 414 litres of space which is on the low side compared to some of its rivals. You can obviously blow that number up to and impressive 1,290 litres with the rear seats folded down.

And don’t forget that because this is an EV there’s a bonus boot in the front of the car and in this particular model it holds just over 30 litres which isn’t to be sniffed at but, let’s be honest, is probably just going to be exclusively used for the charge cables and nothing else.

Driving wise, it is surprisingly fast. A lot of EVs are fast but the weight and girth of this still manages to produce a lot of torque (Volvo claims 0-100km/h time of 4.9 seconds which I’ll have to take them at their word).

The low centre of gravity and extra weight means it stays flat to the road even when cornering but you do have to get used to the brake speeds as a result. And, obviously, your driving technique will have a huge impact on the actual range of this SUV.

The 418km range is probably possible on a warm day with no climate control on in the car and if you are nursing that accelerator the whole way along. But that is an extreme. Realistically you should expect 380km on a full charge. And less than 300km if you want to get somewhere quick.

But I don’t want to finish on a negative because this is a truly great car. It is great looking and easy, safe, comfortable and fun to drive. If you can afford it you should go for it. It’s a lovely car to drive and will hold its value as the second-hand EV market improves in the comping years.

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