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electric dream I thought the Volkswagen ID.4 was the cream of the crop until the Volvo XC40 Recharge arrived


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Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 AWD in Glacier Silver

Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 AWD in Glacier Silver

Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 AWD in Glacier Silver

Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 AWD in Glacier Silver

Fully electric Volvo XC40 introduces brand new infotainment system

Fully electric Volvo XC40 introduces brand new infotainment system

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Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 AWD in Glacier Silver

Volvo - XC40 Recharge 'P8' Twin Pro

Just when I thought Volkswagen ID.4 was the cream of the electric crop, Swedish brand Volvo has put a spanner in the works. It has been ages since I got behind the wheel of one of Scandinavia's finest exports and I had almost forgotten how good Volvo is at making cars.

Thankfully, this Swedish brand comes fully assembled by experts when it arrives on our shores, unlike another brand I know from Sweden that makes my life hell in its flat-pack form.

There is no doubt about it that Volvos are very well put together and the company has been at the forefront in technology and safety for many a decade.

So I shouldn't have been surprised really last week when I got behind the wheel of the XC40 Recharge Electric model.

Maybe a little late to the party, this is actually Volvo's first offering in full-electric mode. For once the Swedes were nearly last out of the traps - especially in the electric avenue race.

But they say all good things comes to those who wait and, believe me, the XC40 Recharge is worth waiting for.

On the outside, it is a very smart-looking SUV apart from the front grille that is. I understand that there is no need for an air intake in an electric car, but there has to be some way of making the front ends look more attractive -- the XC40's definitely doesn't come with those grille-r looks.

Thankfully, you can't say the same thing about the interior which can rival and, even top, the best of the premium German brands when it comes to design.

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Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 AWD in Glacier Silver

Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 AWD in Glacier Silver

Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 AWD in Glacier Silver

In fact, the interior is possibly the second best feature the XC40 has on offer and it's little wonder it has won so many accolades around the globe.

It still features the same touch-screen that first appeared in the XC90 some years ago, albeit with Volvo's latest system software that seems to have a few teething problems if you ask me. I remember the exact same thing happening when Volkswagen first launched the ID.3, possibly ahead of its time, and the creases were very quickly ironed out before the arrival of the ID.4.

Jointly developed with Google it is based on the Android operating system. It provides you with Google apps and services built-in, such as Google Maps, Google Assistant and Google Play Store.

But it's far too complicated for my liking and I found myself getting annoyed with it at times.

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However, by far the best feature for me during my week-long test drive was the electric side of things in the XC40.

Volvo may have been late to the electric picnic, but it has nailed it when it comes down to the power on offer.

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Fully electric Volvo XC40 introduces brand new infotainment system

Fully electric Volvo XC40 introduces brand new infotainment system

Fully electric Volvo XC40 introduces brand new infotainment system

This XC40 Recharge would give any high-powered sports car a run for its money - even the Audi e-tron GT I drove recently.

The sheer power on tap when you put your foot down is phenomenal. It can sprint front 0-100km/h in under five seconds and you can see the bonnet of the car raise like that in a Ford Mustang if you put the boot right down on take off.

The power comes from two 204bhp electric motors drive the front and rear axles and the battery is a powerful 78kWh. That's a whopping 408bhp for a family car - unbelievable!

Volvo claims that you can get up to 418km on a full charge but, yet again I got nowhere near that during my week-long test drive. Realistically you are looking at closer to 350km under normal everyday driving conditions.

The bad news is that prices start at just below €65k for the entry-level model. Volvos always seem to be just that bit on the pricey side but, believe me, they come with more technology than you could dream of.

This XC40 is well worth having a look at if you are in the market for a spacious family electric vehicle.

Robbie Farrell

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