Road Test: The Volvo XC40 Recharge

As the automotive industry continues its shift towards electrification, YLA recently had the pleasure of test-driving Volvo’s all-electric XC40 Recharge, courtesy of Volvo South Africa

By Edward Moleke Makwana

This review coincides with Volvo’s announcement to standardise the names of its fully electric vehicles, aligning with its ambitious goal of becoming a fully electric car manufacturer by 2030. The fully electric XC40 Recharge and C40 Recharge models have been renamed to EX40 and EC40 respectively, fitting in with Volvo’s other fully electric models like the newly launched EX30 (which we will soon be test driving), as well as the EX90 and EM90.

Launched in South Africa in the last quarter of 2021, the XC40 Recharge’s rebranding will distinguish it from its internal combustion-powered counterparts.

So, what sets the XC40 Recharge apart? Powered by two electric motors and a high voltage battery, this particular test model is offered standard with an all-wheel-drive system enabling the car to generate 300kW of power and 660Nm of torque. It accelerates from 0-100km/h in just 4.8 seconds and boasts an electric energy consumption of 18.3 kWh/100km. The standard 20-inch wheels with the 5-spoke black diamond-cut alloy wheel design add to its distinctive appeal, while the interior, reminiscent of the BMW i3, features midnight zinc tailored wool blend seats crafted from sustainable materials.

In terms of range, Volvo claims up to 500kms, although my test yielded a full range of 400kms on a single charge, placing it competitively in the compact SUV electric vehicle segment alongside rivals like the BMW iX1 xDrive30 and Mercedes-Benz EQA SUV.

With a spacious boot capacity of 443 litres, the XC40 proved practical with the rear seats down, accommodating even bulky items with ease like a new chest of drawers I bought from Baby City for my newborn son — saving me hours and possibly days of waiting for the shop’s delivery van.

However, some aspects fell short of perfection. The sunroof control lacked intuitive operation, and while the bright wool blend seats complemented the exterior Vapour Grey metallic spec, a darker colour option of seats may be more practical for everyday use. Otherwise, you will be asking your favourite car wash service to valet the seats regularly.

In the ever-evolving realm of electric vehicles, the Volvo XC40 Recharge emerges as a strong contender, seamlessly blending luxury with sustainability. Its understated Volvo styling, eco-conscious engineering, and standard features make it an attractive option in the competitive electric vehicle market. With its starting price of R 1 108 000, it presents a compelling alternative to rivals like the BMW iX1 (R1 205 000) and Mercedes-Benz EQA SUV (R1 176 350), offering both performance and practicality. However, the full price of our test car was R1 298 000.

Overall, the Volvo XC40 Recharge stands as a commendable choice for those seeking a premium compact SUV with a conscience. I would certainly consider it as my run-around car.

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