2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge first drive evaluate: The nice electrical makeover

It is arduous to not just like the Volvo XC40. In a rising sea of me-too crossover-SUVs, it stands out with fetching design, enjoyable driving dynamics, a complete security suite and an inside that feels an terrible lot like Volvo’s different, dearer choices. Certain, a beginning worth of round $34,000 means the XC40 additionally comes at a little bit of a premium in comparison with its competitors, however spend slightly time in a single and you may by no means doubt the place that cash went.

However what a couple of model that prices a whopping $20,000 further? That is what you will pay to get into the XC40 Recharge. Volvo’s new XC40-based EV is right here, and it prices $54,985 after a $995 vacation spot cost. 

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge has huge energy and slightly frunk
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Costly? Sure, however I am not mad about it. Actually, after just some miles behind the wheel, I am in love with this all-electric reinvention of Volvo’s littlest ‘ute. Sure, it is an asking worth that budget-conscious buyers could battle to swallow, however the Recharge likewise manages to really feel greater than value it. 

The platform beneath the XC40, referred to as CMA for Compact Modular Structure, was designed from the start to be electrifiable. Volvo has lastly delivered on that promise by yanking out the choice of super- and turbocharged engines and slotting in a pair of electrical motors — and the requisite batteries, in fact. 

The outcome? It is slightly rocketship. I beforehand spent a beautiful few months with our XC40 T5 long-termer and located it sprightly and enjoyable. The Recharge is on one other planet, with a whopping 402 horsepower and 486 pound-feet of torque, permitting it to dash to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds. And due to the drivetrain structure, the Recharge does a much better job than the T5 of getting that energy to the bottom. Stomping on the gasoline on a moist highway within the regular XC40 typically ends in wheelspin on the entrance adopted by an overworked differential’s drained try at shuttling torque to the rear. The XC40 Recharge simply snaps ahead. No drama, no noise, no torque steer, simply acceleration. It is addictive.

Tim Stevens/Roadshow

The XC40 Recharge simply snaps ahead. No drama, no noise, no torque steer, simply acceleration. It is addictive.   

Volvo additionally offers the Recharge correct one-pedal driving talents, such that you’ll not often want to the touch the brake pedal. That is my most popular approach of driving an EV and I am glad to see it right here, however for individuals who’d want a extra conventional approach of going, it may be disabled. Sadly, although, there is no selectable regen possibility in between, it is both all on or all off.

Regardless of the brand new efficiency the XC40 Recharge offers up nothing in relation to consolation. This XC40 feels premium inside and outside, with a elegant trip high quality that simply appears all of the extra refined due to the absence of inner combustion. Volvo’s engines of late aren’t essentially the most aurally pleasing, if I am sincere, and their drone is not missed right here. 

Right here be Android.

Tim Stevens/Roadshow

The XC40 Recharge’s inside is clear and refined and largely the identical as what you will discover in different Volvos. That’s to say, not as posh as an XC90 however far forward of most compact SUVs. It additionally far exceeds something you will discover in a Tesla. The panoramic glass roof provides some a lot wanted mild right into a cabin that could be a little too darkish for my style. Charcoal leather-based is the one possibility for now. Nonetheless, it is all so very calm and picked up. 

Storage capability within the Recharge is essentially the identical because the gas-powered selection, the primary change being the addition of a slim compartment beneath the hood. It is not a correct frunk as you will be arduous pressed to suit various loaves of rustic multigrain up there, but it surely does at the very least make for a handy place to retailer your charging cable. 

Outdoors of what spins the wheels, essentially the most important change is available in what’s powering the XC40 Recharge’s numerous shows, each the 12.3-inch gauge cluster behind the steering wheel and the 9-inch portrait touchscreen within the heart stack. The structure seems the identical as on the common XC40, however now Android Automotive is asking the pictures. I wrote about it extensively once I examined the Recharge’s nation cousin Polestar 2, so I will not rehash the whole lot right here, however suffice to say I am a giant fan. This takes loads of what’s nice about Android Auto however makes it standalone. Should you’re a Google person, all of your contacts, your calendar appointments, your saved addresses and even your playlists simply magically seem after you check in. It’s great. 

Typically the absence of coloration is the perfect coloration.

Tim Stevens/Roadshow

There’s loads to love concerning the Recharge, but it surely’s not all candy. For one factor there’s the vary: simply 208 miles on the EPA cycle from a 75-kilowatt-hour battery. 200 miles is a lot for most people more often than not, but it surely feels a bit scant for a $55,000 EV — although federal and state rebates will make issues extra palatable. 

I additionally want there have been a lighter-colored, vegan inside possibility and I am positive some potential consumers will need just a few extra regen decisions, however these are minor nits to select in what’s a stellar reinvention of what was already a reasonably nice rig. I, like a lot of you, shall be eagerly awaiting extra inexpensive variations of the XC40 Recharge, however these with the means and the need for a premium crossover EV shall be arduous pressed to do higher. 

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