Volvo XC40 Recharge Review 2024

Volvo XC40 Recharge At A Glance

4/5
Honest John Overall Rating
Volvo’s first purely electric car and it’s hard not to be impressed by the XC40 Recharge. The latest updates for 2023 bring increased range that's backed up by a quality interior and plenty of tech.

+Stylish electric SUV. Excellent interior. Latest models come with a decent range. Twin Motor is rapid.

-Boot on the small side compared to the competition. Pricey compared to many mainstream rivals.

When initially launched the electric Volvo XC40 Recharge impressed with its performance, but the range and price held it back. The latest 2023 models have improved on this with a very useable range of up to 334 miles, while the arrival of a rear-wheel drive version only adds to the appeal. It's not the cheapest family electric car on sale, but it should definitely be on your shortlist. We'll explain all in our Volvo XC40 Recharge review.

The 'standard' Volvo XC40 is one of the best small SUVs you can buy and has proved to be a big hit for the brand. With Volvo’s move to a purely electric future, we’ve since seen the arrival of both a plug-in hybrid variant and a full-on electric version.

Rather confusingly both have been badged Volvo XC40 Recharge, but we’re going to be focusing our attention on the electric version for our Volvo XC40 Recharge review. 

Initially launched in 2020, the first electric Volvo XC40 Recharge models sported a punchy twin motor four-wheel-drive system that would provide a total output of 408PS and 660Nm of torque, resulting in the electric XC40 covering 0-62mph in a rapid 4.9 seconds. Not so impressive was the range, with the 78kWh battery delivery an official range of up to 259 miles. 

This was followed by single motor front-wheel drive version, but things have all changed for 2023. As before the Volvo XC40 Recharge is offered with the choice of two EV systems - a single motor setup and a dual motor setup, but there have been a number of changes and revisions. Perhaps the biggest change for the XC40 Recharge with a single motor is the switch from front-wheel drive to rear-wheel drive, making it (and the updated C40 Recharge) the first rear-wheel drive Volvos in 25 years.

The main reason for this switch is efficiency, with the single motor XC40 Recharge now coming with an official range of up to 290 miles from a maximum of 264 miles achievable on the front-wheel drive car. 

The twin motor Volvo XC40 Recharge has also come in for some attention as well. It's still just as quick, but the range has been improved significantly, increasing to a much more respectable official maximum range of 334 miles. 

The XC40 is still one of the most stylish looking SUVs on the market, and thanks to a subtle facelift in 2022, the latest Volvo XC40 Recharge still looks very sharp on the road. The only tell-tale difference between the standard car and the electric SUV is the concave grille of the standard car has been replaced by a body-coloured panel.

Due to the space saved by the absence of an engine, the XC40 Recharge gains a 31-litre ‘frunk’ storage area underneath the bonnet, while the electric XC40 Recharge has 413 litres of boot space at the rear (47 litres less than the standard car). 

Inside, the XC40 Recharge has a cabin broadly the same as the standard car, which means plenty of premium finishes and comfortable seating. There's also a decent Google-powered infotainment system called Android Automotive (not to be confused with Android Auto) with Google Maps and Google Assistant built-in. Apple users fear not as there's also Apple CarPlay connectivity (though it's wired, not wireless unfortunately). 

There are three models to choose from - Core, Plus and Ultimate, while prices for the electric Volvo XC40 Recharge start at £46,505. That's more affordable than premium rivals like the Audi Q4 e-tron, and in even entry-level Core trim there's a decent amount of standard features on offer. Our pick would be the XC40 Recharge in Plus trim as that gets the balance of features pretty spot on. 

Ask Honest John

Can I fit smaller wheels to my Volvo XC40 to improve the ride comfort?

"Can I change my wheels to 18-inch from 19-inch on my Volvo XC40 T5? I have had two different opinions from Volvo dealers. I find the ride hard on 19-inch Continentals."
The XC40 T5 was available from the factory with 18-inch wheels with 235/55R18 tyres, so there should be no issues assuming you fit the correct factory alloys in this size. Your 19-inch wheels are likely wearing 235/50R19 tyres, so an alternative could be to switch to 55 profile tyres on your 19-inch wheels. This should offer a small increase in ride comfort, and would be a cheaper option than a new set of wheels and tyres.
Answered by David Ross

Do modern automatics offer any engine braking?

"Over the years I have had several cars with an auto gearbox and have always been very happy with what seems to be appropriate engine braking when going downhill. A friend of mine has recently bought a Volvo XC40 Auto 1.5 PHEV and claims there is no engine braking at all, his dealer told him that automatic cars do not have engine braking and advised him to use the cruise control to limit the speed when descending hills. Your comments would be most welcome."
Generally speaking automatics have little or no engine braking as drive is constantly engaged. However, some hybrids offer the ability to shift into a lower gear or increase the amount of regeneration that occurs, allowing the driver to control the speed without actively pressing the brake pedal. It is also worth bearing in mind that the advice to use engine braking to control vehicle speed when descending a hill comes from a time when most vehicles were still using drum brakes. Modern cars with disc brakes are far less likely to experience fade in these situations.
Answered by David Ross

Can you recommend an electric car with a high seating position?

"I own a Renault Zoe but would like to change to a car with a higher driving position. My wife has an Isuzu D-Max which is perfect for me. Does such a combination exist? "
I think you might struggle to find an EV with a seating position as high as the D-Max. Something like a Volvo XC40 Recharge could be a good compromise, though. This guide could be useful: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/guides/best-electric-suv/
Answered by Andrew Brady

Which Volvo XC40 should I buy?

"Which used Volvo XC40 should I go for? I do mostly town driving, with half a dozen long trips per year. "
The T3 has all the power you really need and won't cost a fortune to run. PHEV will be very cheap to run and can fall back on its petrol engines for long drives, it only really makes sense if you have a home charger though. Same goes for the Recharge electric, it's 260-mile range means long drives will need a mid-trip recharge.
Answered by Russell Campbell
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