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I’ve driven the cheapest electric Volvo and it’s like a smartphone you can sit in – and you pay for it like a phone too


VOLVO XC40 Recharge

PROS:

  • Stylish, high-quality interior
  • Decent range and charging
  • Comfy and quiet to drive

CONS:

  • Pricey to buy
  • Not that fun to drive
  • Average rear space

VERDICT: If you want an electric XC40, this new single-motor Recharge is the pick. It’s stylish, high-quality and relaxing to drive, but still expensive to buy and puts comfort before cornering ability.

The single-motor Volvo XC40 Recharge has a range of up to 263 miles

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The single-motor Volvo XC40 Recharge has a range of up to 263 milesCredit: Volvo

Volvo is on a bit of a roll at present. It’s making very good looking cars and that’s helping sales, which are currently stronger than ever.

The most sought after models the XC40, probably because its the cheapest way into one of Volvo’s brilliant SUVs.

Order one now, and you could be waiting up to a year before it appears on your driveway.

Volvo has been making some of the best plug-in hybrids around for ages now, but the XC40 was the first Volvo to get the full-electric treatment.

Called the XC40 Recharge Twin, it was launched with two electric motors (one front, one back) giving it all-wheel drive and a staggering 408hp.

That made this small family SUV capable of keeping up with out and out sports cars in a straight line, which always seemed a little daft with the kids in the back.

Now you can have the Recharge as, err, just a Recharge. It has a slightly smaller battery, but just the one motor at the front.

It’s slower with 231hp, but hardly slow, managing 0-62mph in a spritely 7.4 seconds. It goes slightly further on a charge too, at 263 miles between plug-ins.

Because its battery is slightly smaller, its also slightly quicker to charge. If you can find a 150kW charger (a rare sight on our roads still), you can charge from 10-80% in around half an hour.

Much more common are 50kW chargers, via which the same charge takes just under an hour. At home on a wall box? 12 hours.

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Aside from the technical bits, and the speed, the Recharge feels very much like the Recharge Twin.

Like all electric cars it’s great punching through traffic and is genuinely more relaxing than an XC40 with engine in town and on the motorway.

The XC40 has never been the sharpest little SUV to drive, but its more laidback approach will suit the majority of people looking to buy one.

You also get Volvo’s Google-based infotainment system, which essentially makes the XC40 a bit like a massive smartphone you can sit in and drive to work.

You can download all your favourite apps to it so there’s no messing about connecting your phone via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

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There are really only two black marks for the Volvo XC40 Recharge – it’s pretty average space for people sat in the back and its price.

This might be the cheapest electric XC40, but it isn’t particularly cheap, with two trim level choices and a starting price of a little under £45,000.

Of course, few people pay for new cars with cash and Volvo is one of the only manufacturers offering a subscription service rather than traditional finance like a PCP.

It’s a bit like your mobile phone bill, but for this bill you’ll need to be fairly flush.

There’s a Fixed subscription that lasts for 3 years from £579 per month or a rolling monthly one called Flexible from £709 that can be cancelled anytime.

Both include road tax, service and maintenance, breakdown cover and wear and tear including tyres, but insurance costs extra.

Either way you look at it, that’s more expensive than other EV SUVs of a similar size like the VW ID.4 or Kia Niro.

Volvo XC40 Recharge

Price: £44,900

Motor: Single motor, front

Power: 231hp, 330Nm

0-62mph: 7.4secs

Top speed: 99mph

Range: 236 miles

Charging: Up to 150kw, 10-80% around 30mins

Out: Now





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