Volvo XC40 Recharge long term test: report 7

The Volvo XC40 Recharge is fully electric and based on a former What Car? Car of the Year, but what's it like to live with? We're finding out...

Volvo XC40 Recharge long termer

The car Volvo XC40 Recharge Twin AWD Ultimate | Run by Claire Evans, consumer editor

Why it's here To see if the pricey pure electric version of the XC40 is as much of a leader in the family SUV segment as its conventionally fuelled siblings were when they first went on sale

Needs to Be a safe, fault-free commuter car part of the week, and cope with the demands of rural family life without running out of range at the weekends

Mileage 6049 List price £61,855 Target Price £61,855 Price as tested £61,855 Official range 270 miles Test range 208 miles

17 August 2023 – Costly repair and clever kit

The Volvo XC40 Recharge’s windscreen chip is proving more time-consuming to fix than anticipated. After finishing my last report, I found out that Volvo offers owners a free windscreen repair service, so that was the next avenue to explore. 

The windscreen repair service was introduced in 2022, alongside a free tyre repair service for owners of Volvos of all ages, and forms part the brand’s ambition that there will be zero fatalities in its cars. Some car after-sales companies already do this for people with windscreen cover as part of their car insurance, but Volvo is the first mainstream car maker to offer it. 

It was easy to get an appointment lined up. There’s a service department five minutes from the What Car? office in Twickenham that had free time slots a couple of days later. Unfortunately, when I got there the technician echoed what the Halfords repairer had said: the chip has cracks stretching out from it into the glass that mean it isn’t repairable and the whole windscreen needs to be replaced.

Volvo XC40 Recharge long termer

Although this will be expensive – the estimate is around £1300 – the work can be done within a week, and the car is already booked in. Like many car makers, Volvo is using certified used parts for many repairs that aren’t safety critical components, such as brakes, to speed up waiting times for parts and be more sustainable where possible by sourcing recycled parts rather than new ones.

So my new windscreen is likely to be sourced from a high-tech car dismantler, such as the Charles Trent site I recently visited in Poole, which has a next-day delivery option to get car parts to workshops. It should also save me money too, but I’ll report on that more next time. 

Elsewhere, I’ve recently spent some time exploring some of the XC40’s driver assistance and comfort features, and one of these which I've found quite useful is an air quality app in the infotainment system menu that lets me know in real-time the level of pollution inside and outside the car and what the current pollen level is. 

Volvo XC40 Recharge long termer

The XC40 also has a suite of cameras that provide a 360-degree view around the car. The bird’s eye view from above the car is really useful when I’m manoeuvring the car around our front garden which can be littered with storage containers, bags of compost and other vehicles. 

Selecting the rear view camera from the infotainment screen gives a long wide view of the space behind the car, which is really helpful for reversing. What I like most about the system is that you can select whichever of the four camera angles is most useful. 

Volvo XC40 Recharge long termer

I’ve also come up with a new charging strategy for when I’m away from home. After a couple of painfully slow public charging experiences at motorway service stations, I’m now avoiding motorway service station charging stations and searching out rapid chargers on nearby A-roads. The 150kW chargers at MFG and Shell petrol stations add 140 miles of range in 30 minutes, and, more importantly are rarely busy when I visit them.

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