Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric review

Category: Electric car

Section: Introduction

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Introduction

What Car? says...

The evolution of the Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric tells you a lot about the changing preferences of car buyers. When the XC40 family SUV line-up was launched, you could get it with regular diesel and petrol engines only. Today, diesels are no longer offered.

What's more, most of the petrol engines are mild hybrids, there’s a plug-in hybrid with a 21-mile electric range, and now – as bang on trend as it gets – we have this fully electric version. With a history like that, you might assume the XC40 was a withered old car with a life spanning many decades, but the range is barely out of nappies.

In fact, the XC40's rapid evolution was planned from the outset, and the Recharge Pure Electric has always been part of Volvo’s grand plan to propel itself towards a future that is likely to see electric cars accounting for half its sales a few years from now.

The XC40 has already moved the goalposts in the family SUV class (it won our overall What Car? Car of the Year Award when it arrived), so can the fully electric version achieve a similar impact?

Right now, the XC40 Recharge is available only with a 78kWh battery, 402bhp from twin electric motors, a range of up to 260 miles and a hefty price tag. You can, though, choose from entry-level trim, mid-range Plus and the best-equipped version, Pro.

The top-spec version inches towards the price territory of premium electric SUVs such as the Audi E-tron and Jaguar I-Pace. The cheaper versions also face stiff competition from the closely related Polestar 2, as well as the Tesla Model 3, Lexus UX300e and higher-spec versions of the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Kia e-NiroPeugeot e-2008 and Volkswagen ID.4.

So, how does it compare with all of those rivals, and should it be number one on your electric car shopping list? Read on through this Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric review to find out. (We have a full separate review of the standard Volvo XC40.)

Whichever car ticks all your boxes, remember that if you do decide to buy a vehicle of any make and model, you could save yourself thousands of pounds by trying the What Car? New Car Buying service, which includes lots of great new Volvo deals.

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