XC40 Recharge Plug-In T5 R-Design
it comes to plug-in hybrids,
Volvo is very much ahead of the
the first carmaker to
offer a PHEV version of every model
across its line-up. And with head-
styling and an
official 119-139mpg, the XC40 T5
Plug-in has a great deal to offer...
THE T5 PLUG-IN differs from its larger-bodied and bigger-engined hybrid
SUV stablemates in that beneath its clamshell bonnet beats a three-cylinder
1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine. But, in cahoots with an 80bhp electric
motor its 177bhp tri-pot belts out a combined 257bhp and a brawny 313lb ft of
During our week with the car, quite a number of drivers (many of whom already
owned other prestige brands) came over and admired the XC40. It's easy to see
why people like this compact plug-in SUV so much it shows off its fresh-out-of-the-box
looks and green credentials with panache; amongst its peers the XC40's modish
styling shines out like a kind deed in a dark world.
and using a plug-in as well thought-out as the XC40 Recharge is a no-brainer.
Sure it feels good to do your bit to reduce your carbon footprint but you certainly
don't need to be a climate warrior to appreciate all it has to offer, especially
if you're able to plug it in regularly to reap the rewards (not just financial)
of running it almost wholly on electric.
and using a
plug-in as well thought-
out as the XC40 Recharge
is a no-brainer.
Sure it feels good to do
your bit to reduce your
carbon footprint but you
certainly dont need to
be a climate warrior
to appreciate all it has to
offer, especially if youre
able to plug it in
regularly to reap the
rewards (not just
financial) of running it
almost wholly on
If you're intending to make maximum use of the Recharge's electric drive you'll
be pleased to hear that charging the battery pack won't disrupt your social
life plug into a wallbox charger and you can go from zero to 100% charge
in around two and a half hours; even if you're stuck with a standard three-pin
plug socket you'll be fully primed and ready to roll three and a half hours
With a fully charged battery you're officially good to go for 28 emission-free
pure-electric miles. In real-life we covered 26 miles (driving normally) before
the petrol engine fired up and joined the party. Whenever you need to drive
using just electric power you can select the Recharge's Pure drive mode. Do
that and with sub-25-mile one-way trips between recharges you're likely to see
those astounding 100+mpg figures.
As is the case with all plug-ins, their real-world mpg depends totally on keeping
the battery charged. Do so and big figures will be your reward. During our week
with the Recharge we averaged once we'd drained the battery pack!
42.3mpg on longer runs without even trying.
A useful 'cheat' if you want the very best mpg is to always set the SatNav.
Not just to stop you getting lost but because the system cleverly analyses your
route and makes sure the XC40 is using the battery most efficiently on slow
and urban sections of the journey while reserving petrol usage for the high-speed
bits. And you won't have to give it a second thought! Also handy if you're not
passing close by any charging points is that you can set the engine to recharge
the battery while on the go.
So how does it go? In its Pure (electric) mode in which it will swish
along at up to 78mph the Recharge is as quiet and smooth as you could
wish; in Hybrid mode, which mixes and matches both electric and petrol, you
really can't tell when the engine cuts in and out. However, whenever your right
foot demands 'full speed ahead' then that's exactly what the engine-room will
give you as confirmed by the strong 7.3-second 0-62mph showing.
you wish you can lock-in Power mode which keeps the engine in play (useful if
you're tackling some tricksy twisties) although doing so tends to negate the
economy gains of owning a hybrid; the vast majority of plug-in drivers will
prioritise economy over tyre-shredding acceleration. Apart from that, left to
its own devices the seven-speed twin-clutch automatic transmission and hybrid
powertrain serve up such unruffled progress that you'd be crazy to miss out.
long as there's some sparks left in the battery pack the XC40 plug-in is programmed
to start in electric mode and to deliver enough performance to keep up with
traffic, especially stop-start rush-hour congestion which feeds some regenerated
juice back into the battery. When you do need to stamp the pedal to the metal
you'll enjoy hearing the three-pot's thrummy soundtrack but when cruising motorways
you'll strain to hear the engine even if the HiFi is taking a breather.
how does it go?
In its Pure electric mode
which it will swish
along at up to 78mph
its as quiet and smooth
as you could wish for;
and in Hybrid mode,
which mixes and
matches both electric
and petrol, you really
cant tell when the
engine cuts in and out.
However, whenever your
right foot demands full
speed ahead then thats
exactly what the
engine-room will give
you as confirmed by the
Settle into the XC40's front cabin and you'll be immediately soothed by the
contemporary and beautifully-fabricated interior; quality is far more than skin
deep and all the materials, like the leather and Nubuck upholstery, are not
only are of high quality but look and feel it too. The seats, it's no exaggeration
to say, are some of the very best you can buy and are comfortable from the get-go
and remain so however many miles you motor.
The front chairs are a real treat, offering support in all the right places
and they're made nicer by quick-acting, three-stage heating, four-way power-adjustable
lumbar and extending front seat-base cushions. From behind the compact, nicely
meaty multifunction three-spoke Sports steering wheel you can see the bonnet
and front wingtops together with the excellent commanding all-round visibility,
this makes for accurate placing on the move.
Comms are equally competent with a nine-inch central infotainment screen via
which your fingertip can control just about everything from infotainment to
the climate. If you're happier speaking rather than tapping whilst driving there's
voice control which works in tandem with the touchscreen for the phone, radio,
media, navigation, and climate adjusting the cabin temperature, inputting
an address in the SatNav or changing the media being played; are all doable
without moving your hands from the wheel.
On Call app provides emergency and breakdown call functions and stolen vehicle
tracking as well as remote access of a variety of car functions via not just
a smartphone, but a smartwatch or tablet. A data SIM card ensures a reliable
Internet connection with multiple-device Wi-Fi hotspot plus there's a range
of cloud-based apps that include TuneIn, Yelp and Google Local Search along
with a Spotify app that provides access to all your playlists, artists and albums
(as well as Spotify's search functions) without the need to use your mobile.
Bluetooth hands-free, a DAB radio, and a 250W high-performance music system
are also standard.
to operate too is the customisable 12.3-inch driver display that, if you choose,
puts the navigation mapping right in front of your eyes in a totally non-distracting
way. Adding extra peace of mind are the clearly displayed road speed, speed
limit, road sign and speed camera warnings and alerts. And however Brexit finally
plays out, likely you'll still be glad of the SatNav's full European mapping.
£41K XC40 Recharge T5 R-Design comes well specced in addition to the
high-tech comms, leather upholsteryand other stuff already mentioned, you'll
find keyless start, two-zone climate control (with CleanZone air quality system),
Drive Mode selection, cruise control with speed limiter, electric parking brake
with auto-hold, powerfolding heated door mirrors, rear parking sensors, one-shot
up/down power windows, frameless auto-dimming rearview mirror, multicolour theatre
interior lighting, dark tinted windows (from the B-pillars back), Sports pedals,
and a set of 19-inch 5-double spoke diamond-cut/matt black alloy wheels wrapped
in 235/50 rubber.
systems hefty batteries
adding ballast and
the stiffer-springing that
comes with the R-Design
spec, the Recharge feels
handling neatly and
feeling confidently well-
balanced; the steering
is responsive (and gets
some extra weighting
in Power mode). Better
still, if you do need to get
a spurt on this compact
SUV wont upset your
is a Volvo so comprehensive safety features are standard-fit, headlined by City
Safety (pedestrian, cyclist and large animal detection plus front collision
warning with fully automatic emergency braking, including at junctions), Oncoming
Lane Mitigation (automatically provides steering assistance if you drift out
of your lane, guiding you back and out of the path of any oncoming vehicles),
and Run-off Road Protection (automatically tightens the front seatbelts should
the car leave the road, while front seat frames with a collapsible section reduce
vertical forces to help prevent spinal injuries).
You also get LED headlights with active dip/main beam switching, Road Sign Information,
a suite of full-length inflatable curtains and airbags (with one for the driver's
knees), Stability and Traction Control, Hill Start Assist, auto lights and wipes,
drive-off automatic door locking, height-adjustable front belts, and tyre pressure
Recharge came fitted with a number of worthwhile options including heated front
and rear seats, heated steering-wheel, heated windscreen, heated washer nozzles,
and headlight cleaning system (all for £775); Intellisafe Surround (Blind Spot
Information System with Steer Assist, Cross Traffic Alert with Autobrake and
Rear Collision Mitigation) plus auto-dimming door mirrors for £600; Apple CarPlay
and Android Auto with USB Hub adds £300; and WiFi smartphone charging is another
grown-ups can travel very socially indeed in the rear cabin; three is also a
can-do thanks to generous headroom and, although technically a compact SUV,
there's no stinting on the passenger room which is spacious and very conducive
to stress-free long trips. Views out are fine courtesy of higher rear seating
and generous side glazing. Back seat passengers also get their own air vents,
a wide padded central armrest with built-in cupholders, deep bottle-holding
bins, useful oddment trays, seatback net pouches, and a USB port.
rolling on big 19-inch wheels your passengers will appreciate the smooth, quiet
ride over the UK's pockmarked blacktop. On motorways progress is sweet and settled
so passengers can lean back and chill; more challenging B-roads are taken with
a pleasant fluency. And it helps too that the electric-only running is notably
refined, as also is the switching between or combining of the hybrid's two power
feeds. Better still, if you do need to get a spurt on this compact SUV won't
upset your passengers.
a compact SUV
the XC40s tailgate hides
a surprisingly large
litres is more
than an ample
sufficiency for the young
(likely including two
children and a dog)
and empty-nesters who
will probably buy one.
Making life even easier
is a powered tailgate
for effortless hands-free
opening and closing...
you want to just go with the flow the Recharge serves up very amiable driving.
But while hybrid buyers are not normally given to driving as though their hair's
on fire that's not to say that even the most laid-back people don't need to
press on occasionally. When you get the call you'll find that the XC40 is more
than happy to accommodate you.
With the plug-in system's hybrid batteries adding 'ballast' and the stiffer-springing
that comes with the R-Design spec, the Recharge feels reassuringly planted,
handling neatly and feeling confidently well-balanced; the steering is responsive
(it gets some extra weighting in Power mode).
Nice also to have a choice of driving mode settings to suit every set of driving
conditions and moods choose between Hybrid (everday use), Power (sporty
driving), Pure (prioritises electric-only operation), Off Road (rough road use;
Hill Descent Control is activated), and Individual (lets you tailor each element
to your liking).
you need to kill your speed you'll find the brakes bring you to a standstill
without any drama. However, like all hybrids the XC40 Recharge's brakes are
of the regenerative kind and will, on first acquaintance, feel different to
those you're used to on a non-plug-in, especially during light pedal applications.
It's absolutely not a problem but worth mentioning and, needless to say, a few
days behind the wheel and you'll be using them without even noticing.
For a compact SUV the XC40's tailgate hides a surprisingly large boot
460 litres is more than an ample sufficiency for the young professionals, families
(likely those including two children and a dog!) and empty-nesters who will
probably buy one. Making life even easier is a powered tailgate for effortless
hands-free opening and closing.
Longer and larger cargo, including flatpacks, can be transported by folding
down the 60:40-split rear seatbacks they create a genuinely level and
seamless floor in a loadbay that will swallow 1,336 litres. Appreciated too
is the ski-hatch and sturdy cargo compartment load protection net. Finally,
if you have a need to tow then the Recharge will pull a braked 1,800kg. So,
not only is driving solo satisfying but the XC40 is also perfectly obliging
for family trips as well as carrying all the gear you'll want to take on an
active weekend break.
The sculpted, ruggedly hip looks combined with a contemporary premium cabin,
plenty of space and safety kit and a notably easy plug-in petrol-electric powertrain
make the XC40 Recharge the perfect family-friendly SUV. Assuming the Swedish
carmaker's mission statement was to make it the ideal 'changeover' car until
all-electric cars rule, then it has succeeded. Mission accomplished! ~ MotorBar
Volvo XC40 Recharge Plug-In T5 R-Design
Maximum speed: 112mph | 0-62mph: 7.3 seconds | Test Average: 42.3mpg
Power: 257bhp | Torque: 313lb ft | CO2: 48g/km