29 Sept 2022

Dundalk Democrat Motors: The Volvo XC40 ReCharge

Dundalk Democrat Motors: The Volvo XC40 ReCharge

As far as superfast, electric crossovers go the XC40 ReCharge is a leading contender for those who want a driver’s car.

The XC40 won the 2019 Continental Irish Car of the Year. A very deserved winner and in the crowded crossover sector an even more laudable achievement by Volvo. It has gone on to be Volvo’s best selling car here in Ireland in 2020 and 2021.

So what better canvass to base Volvo’s first all-electric car. You get a 78kWh battery powering 2 separate motors. One motor drives the front wheels and the other drives the rear delivering all wheel drive.

The combined power output is quoted as 408hp. That’s a lot of power and enables the XC40 to do 0-100kmh in 4.9s. We are in exotic car company with performance like that and for those with petrol in their veins those numbers’ll electrify them.

Getting the electricity into the batteries isn’t in lightning fast territory but pretty fast taking just 40mins to fully charge the car using a 150kW charger. If you can only find a 50kW charger it’ll take 120mins (3 times longer for 3 times less the charging power). If you use an 8kW home charger it’ll take 12 hours to charge from empty.

You won’t of course have to do that because how often will you do 418kms in a day based on the expected range for combined driving? You’ll do your normal driving and then come home and charge it and be fully charged for first thing in the morning. That range depends on how hard you drive the car but with the above sort of power available you’ll be very tempted to use it with the faster depletion of the battery as a result.

The XC40 ReCharge’s capability is winning the argument to make electric cars everyday livable with and the seamless incorporation of one into your life with only a moderate amount of change to your motoring lifestyle.

When they crack lots more fast chargers installed and even more range from the batteries I won’t be writing about these items as electric car ownership issues.

The XC40 Recharge looks are only moderately different from the normal XC40 with the all-front grille being solid rather than, well, a grille. Other than that you’d never know. Why change a good thing that has classy looks?

On the inside they didn’t make much change either and for the same good reason. It is just so good. Volvo interiors really are exquisite places to be. When you sit in as many interiors as I have some are hard to compare to others but this is never the case in a Volvo. You know you are in one of the best - and not by a short head. The look and feel is an ergonomic master class and all materials feel of the utmost quality whatever trim specification you choose.

I loved driving this car. Performance is blistering and confidence inspiring. It is a joy to coax this car around a twisty road. The insulating it gives from the worst our roads can throw at it is spine friendly and untroubled. It’s quite quiet and all passengers will enjoy a premium trip in a premium car. If you drive it with energy preservation in mind you’ll give your passengers a chauffeur-like experience each time.

Electric cars command a price premium. To go electric over the entry petrol XC40 (€43,950) you’ll need to find an additional €9,000 – that’s 20% extra. Regardless of the expected extra cost for going electric it’s a sizeable chunk of change you’ll need to find. My test model, the ReCharge Pro spec, tipped the scales at what I feel is an eye-watering €68,258 even if it was overflowing with spec and safety features that you expect from Volvo.

Volvo quotes a lot of figures for the boot space depending on where you measure to but for comparison the figure to use is 413ltrs. Which is not bad for the cars that are its competitors in or around the same size. But against other electric cars, that cost quite a bit less, it is not so good.

And therein lies the problem for the XC40. There is no denying it is expensive and others in the premium sector are less penal on your pocket. I’m talking Audi Q4 here. But traditional premium competitors in the electric car space must now include two new members Kia and Hyundai. You may think those badges won’t get you into the premium club but the Hyundai Ionic 5 and Kia EV6 are now full fee paying members and attracting a lot of attention and a real alternative. Volvo will need to sharpen their pencils.

As far as superfast, electric crossovers go the XC40 ReCharge is a leading contender for those who want a driver’s car. Nowadays, we want cars with a lot more other qualities and the XC40 ReCharge certainly has them but you’ll have to pay for it.

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