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Right away I admit to being a Volvo fan; cars built to the highest standard of quality and safety; cars with individual styling that makes them stand apart from the competition. Like so many car brands, the SUV is an essential model in the line-up and Volvo do rather well in this respect. I recall first seeing their new compact SUV the XC40 back in 2017; then it was introduced with petrol and diesel engines; two years later a plug-in version joined the ranks shortly followed by the all electric Recharge model.

During the not too distant past, I have driven a number of fully electric cars and the XC40 Recharge gets my vote as the best to date; it left an impression of driveability, sound build quality and technology for ease of driving. My test example was in Ultimate trim with RWD and according to Volvo a range close to 418km (260m), in reality I managed just shy of 321km(200m); for my own personal range I would require a better range; however I suspect that the range delivered by this Volvo will be more than enough for most. In company with most BEVs I found acceleration responsive and brisk with rest to 100kph (62mph) in 7.4 seconds and on to a top speed of 160kph(99mph).

Safety has always been a priority with Volvo and this compact SUV bristles with aids to keep driver and fellow passengers safe. City Safe protects cyclists and pedestrians; front collision warning, fully automatic emergency braking and oncoming lane mitigation; just in the event of straying away from your lane. There is Run Off Road protection, should you leave the road the seatbelts immediately tighten and the front seats are so designed to help prevent spinal injuries as a result of a severe shunt. I can speak from personal experience; on a press event in Spain on a very wet and muddy road, the Volvo we were in slid into a truck, the car came out not in showroom condition; the good news my driving partner and myself walked away without a scratch; this incident has left a lasting impression with me as to just how safe a Volvo car is.

The styling of this member of the Volvo family really appeals with the looks of a grown up Tonka, sturdy with a stand out design and a very strong on road presence. Okay I will admit its looks may not appeal to everyone, we all have our ideas when it comes to automotive styling and that is no bad thing. The interior is non fussy and feature an iPad style screen which opens a world of technology with ease, Google Automotive Services, navigation with Google maps and Google Pay Store. The Volvo app enables you to operate a number of functions with emergency assistant and a tracking device. I must comment on the superb sound system, eight speakers that bring great clarity and enjoyment to motoring. There are nice touches; on first getting into the XC40 Recharge I failed to locate any button or switch to get going; clever Volvo when you open the car either by the key or by touching the door handle and sitting in the driver’s seat, the car comes alive. Another nice touch in the frunk, a storage section for the cables leaving the boot space clear.

Summing up, this is an excellent vehicle from Volvo and if you ever had doubts about owning a fully electric car; this one might just change your mind.

Ian Lynas



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