Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric review

Category: Electric car

Section: Interior

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Volvo XC40 Electric dashboard
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  • Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 front
  • Volvo XC40 Electric rear cornering
  • Volvo XC40 Electric dashboard
  • Volvo XC40 Electric rear seats
  • Volvo XC40 Electric infotainment
  • Volvo XC40 Recharge 2020 wide front tracking
  • Volvo XC40 Recharge 2020 left panning
  • Volvo XC40 Recharge 2020 wide rear panning
  • Volvo XC40 Recharge 2020 front seats
  • Volvo XC40 Recharge 2020 boot open
  • Volvo XC40 Recharge 2020 front storage
  • Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 front
  • Volvo XC40 Electric rear cornering
  • Volvo XC40 Electric dashboard
  • Volvo XC40 Electric rear seats
  • Volvo XC40 Electric infotainment
  • Volvo XC40 Recharge 2020 wide front tracking
  • Volvo XC40 Recharge 2020 left panning
  • Volvo XC40 Recharge 2020 wide rear panning
  • Volvo XC40 Recharge 2020 front seats
  • Volvo XC40 Recharge 2020 boot open
  • Volvo XC40 Recharge 2020 front storage
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Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

Driving position and dashboard

The front seats are some of the best you’ll find, and the driver's seat has electric adjustment, which includes the tilt, height and the four-way variable lumbar support.

A digital instrument panel is standard and the P8’s screen is higher resolution than the screen in other XC40s, so it's crisper, clearer and very easy to read.

Our only criticism is that the minimalist design of the dashboard means you have to delve into the infotainment touchscreen if you want to adjust almost anything, including the interior temperature. Being forced to do so can be rather distracting when you're driving.

Visibility, parking sensors and cameras

The elevated seating position gives you a good view of the road ahead, helped further by relatively slim windscreen pillars. You also get fairly large door mirrors, so you can see clearly what’s drawing up alongside, and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror is standard. Bright LED headlights are also standard and they make easy work of night-time driving.

Over-the-shoulder visibility isn’t great, though; it’s compromised by a window line that kicks up towards the back of the car. Still, you get front and rear parking sensors along with a 360deg camera, which gives you a very helpful birds-eye-view of the car when you're parking. Plus, you can lower the rear seat headrests from the front (via the infotainment system); this is a handy feature if you want a clearer view out of the rear when the rear seats are unoccupied.

Sat nav and infotainment

The 9.0in, tablet-style touchscreen looks similar to the one you'll find in other XC40s, but the software is completely different. It has been developed in conjunction with Google and Android and is essentially the same system that features in the Polestar 2. Google Maps and Google Assistant come as standard, although Android Auto and Apple CarPlay aren’t yet available – both will be added via an over-the-air update in the future.

Unfortunately, as with other XC40s, while a screen that lets you swipe, pinch and scroll sounds good in theory, the reality is you have to take your eyes off the road for longer than is ideal just to complete simple tasks – changing the radio station, for example.

Things aren't helped by the numerous small icons or cluttered look of some sections, either. Take the settings menu, which is used to adjust the one-pedal driving and the steering mode; it contains an overwhelming array of text that points to various different sub-menus, and it’s very difficult to comprehend while driving. 

Volvo XC40 Electric dashboard

Quality

Volvo is tough to beat when it comes to interior quality. Pretty much anything you touch in any XC40 feels ready to stand the test of time and the rigours of daily family use, yet is also elegant and plush.

The great mix of high-quality plastics, metal inlays and leather really gives the Recharge Pure Electric plenty of premium panache. It’s certainly screwed together better than the Tesla Model 3, although the top trims are as pricey as an Audi E-tron, and don't quite match its high-end finish.

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