Volvo XC40 plug-in hybrid long-term test: report 4

What Car? Award-winning family SUV is now available as a plug-in hybrid, so is it the best choice for buyers seeking practical but economical motoring? We have four months to find out...

Darren pointing to XC40 brake pedal

The car Volvo XC40 Recharge T5 Inscription Pro Run by Darren Moss, deputy editor

Why it’s here To show that choosing a greener car need not lead to compromises for either lifestyle or driving fun

Needs to Offer lower running costs than an equivalent combustion-engined car, be practical for longer holiday trips and function as a mobile office when needed

Mileage 1345 List price £42,440 Target Price £39,941 Price as tested £47,055 Test economy 38.2mpg Official economy 134.5mpg

15 September 2020 – Braking bad

While most cars only use their brakes for stopping, electrified cars can also harvest that energy and return it to the battery, giving you extra range. In some plug-in hybrids you wouldn’t know the system was at work, but in my Volvo XC40 it’s very noticeable.

True, at higher speed it's easy to slow the car gradually, but in stop-start town traffic the inconsistent feel of the brake pedal can make for jerky progress. 

Recently, a tube of Pringles I’d stashed in the rear door bin highlighted this. On the motorway it stayed put, but shortly after I'd pulled off, as I was slowing for a roundabout, the car lurched to a halt, dislodging the Pringles tube and depositing its contents onto the carpet.

Given enough time you can get used to anything, but I’ve driven enough plug-in hybrid SUVs to know that this is one area where my XC40 is off the pace.

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