Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric review

Category: Electric car

Section: Costs & verdict

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Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric 2021 infotainment
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Costs & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2

The Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric is not cheap. Even the entry-level model costs as much as a top-spec Volkswagen ID.4 or Skoda Enyaq. Top-spec Pro models do undercut the Audi E-tron and Jaguar I-Pace on price, but not by enough to stop buyers considering them as alternatives. However, the XC40 does come with an unconventional buying method called Care by Volvo, a subscription service that lets you to lease it with all maintenance and running costs other than electricity included.

It's quite pricey cheap, but – while eye-watering by the standards of some less premium rivals – is comparable to the conventional PCP monthly finance costs of plenty of posher alternatives, including the Lexus UX300e and Audi E-tron. You can’t buy the XC40 Recharge at the end of this mobile phone-like contract, though, as you can with conventional PCP finance. There is no traditional PCP finance on offer; the XC40 Recharge Pure Electric is a cash or monthly subscription purchase only.

While Tesla owners benefit from access to its Supercharger network, which has fast and reliable charging stations along the country’s motorway network, the XC40 Recharge Pure Electric puts you at the mercy of the UK’s improving, but still currently frustrating, electric charging infrastructure. It can accept a 150kW charge, but such chargers are scarce. If you can find one, though, you’ll get a 10-80% charge in around 30 minutes, while a home wallbox will charge from empty to full in around 12 hours. The cables for plugging into a Type 2 wallbox or AC public charger, and a cable for connecting to a normal three-pin domestic socket, are both provided as standard.

Equipment, options and extras

As we mentioned in the introduction, there are three trims available for the Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric. The entry-level model gets the basics, including climate control, cruise control, automatic wipers and LED lights, and even adds keyless entry, ambient interior lighting and 19in alloy wheels.

You have to step up to our preferred XC40 Recharge Plus model to get heated and electrically adjustable front seats, a reversing camera and a more efficient interior heating system that helps to improve the car’s driving range in winter conditions. Range-topping Recharge Pro adds leather upholstery, panoramic opening sunroof, Harman Kardon sound system and 20-inch alloy wheels, but it’s a big price jump.

We’d stick to the Volvo XC40 Recharge Plus but add part-leather upholstery. There are very few other options other than metallic paint and a towbar available on the XC40 Recharge.

Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric 2021 infotainment

Reliability

As a brand, Volvo didn’t score too badly in the What Car? Reliability Survey, finishing 16th out of 31 manufacturers in the overall league table. The standard XC40 was one of the most reliable family SUVs in the survey, but it’s too early to say how well the Recharge Pure Electric version will do.

A three-year/60,000-mile warranty, including roadside assistance, comes as standard, as does a three-year paintwork warranty and 12 years of cover against rust. That's par for the course among premium family SUVs and can be extended at a cost, while the Kia e-Niro offers a seven-year warranty as standard. The XC40's battery, meanwhile, is covered by an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty.

Safety and security

The XC40 received the top five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP, earning high scores across the board. Although the Recharge Pure Electric hasn’t been tested separately (and won’t be), Volvo claims it will be as safe as any other XC40.

Every model gets an automatic emergency braking (AEB) system that not only recognises other cars but also cyclists, pedestrians and large animals. Traffic sign recognition and Oncoming Lane Mitigation, which can intervene if you inadvertently cross the road's centre line and into the path of oncoming traffic, is also included.

You have to go for the expensive Volvo XC40 Recharge Pro to get blindspot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, along with adaptive cruise control and a semi-autonomous driving function that helps to steer, accelerate and brake for you in certain situations (your hands must always be on the wheel). A system that can detect an imminent collision from behind and automatically applies the brakes to reduce the severity of the impact, as well as the extent to which the car is pushed into oncoming traffic, is included on this top-spec model.

Overview

The Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric has an appealing interior, a decent electric range, rapid performance and impressive safety credentials. It’s expensive next to many rivals, but the lower-spec models stack up fairly well next to similarly premium (if often larger and, in some cases, more fun) alternatives. Less powerful, cheaper XC40 Recharge Pure Electric models are yet to come and will no doubt make more financial sense. But, if you do want a fast, premium electric family SUV and don’t mind that this is a touch smaller than options like the Audi E-tron, or won’t be as convenient to charge on the go as the Tesla Model 3, the XC40 Recharge is a seriously compelling and lavish way to travel.

  • High-quality interior
  • Rapid performance
  • Decent range
  • Expensive next to many rivals
  • Fiddly infotainment menus
  • No traditional PCP finance

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