|Positives: Styling is distinct among crossovers, tremendous power, attractive interior is truly unique.
|Negatives: Feels overly heavy, improved infotainment OS still needs work, range is less than impressive, pricey.
|Bottom Line: If you want a premium crossover EV that looks unique, the XC40 Recharge is an excellent choice. It may not have the range of some competitors, but it's very quick and stunning to look at. Just don't hammer it in the turns.
Make no mistake, this thing is quick thanks to its immediate torque from two electric motors. But it's only straight-line thrills because the XC40 Recharge is a heavy beast of an EV, weighing in at 4,741 pounds. The weight is palpable, and it hampers the driving experience. It's about the same weight as the Audi Q4 e-tron and the Genesis GV60, but it just feels overly so.
Ride Quality: The ride is pretty accommodating over rough surfaces but not mushy. The car feels solid and composed.
Acceleration: The two electric motors make this thing move. It gets to 60 mph from a dead stop in 4.7 seconds.
Braking: The brakes provide for excellent one-pedal driving. There's not much feel to them, but they are strong.
Steering: The XC40 Recharge's steering is responsive and precise but pretty much lacks any feedback. There is effort, but it feels artificial like many EVs these days.
Handling: The body roll is controlled, but the XC40 Recharge definitely feels very heavy in the turns.
Now that Volvo eliminated the Sensus OS for a Google Android-based system, it's definitely more responsive and a bit easier to use. That said, we still find navigating the menus frustrating and not especially intuitive. Furthermore, having most of the functions relegated to the screen is frustrating.
Infotainment System: The large portrait screen is easy to read, but we found the home screen very limiting, making it tough to find the functions we wanted to access.
Controls: The home button is too small to operate quickly. The steering wheel buttons are large and easy to use but also too easy to actuate on accident when steering. We found ourselves advancing music unintentionally when we were trying to execute a turn. The vents in the dash are some of the best around.
Pretty much every vehicle in the Volvo stable is a looker. Although the XC40 is probably the least attractive, it's still quite handsome. In Recharge trim, it actually looks pretty cool even with the solid grille. The fact that it doesn't have dumpy aero wheels makes it even better looking than it otherwise would be.
Front: The solid grille retains the signature Volvo shape without the slats for ventilation.
Rear: The back end looks the same as the gas-powered XC40, which is to say it looks well-sorted and attractive. Volvo keeps things sleek and simple, and that's the way we like it.
Profile: The dark floating roof looks great, as do the body-colored door handles and the black trim. The double-spoke wheels are welcomed in a world where aero wheels on EVs tend to ruin things.
Cabin: Volvo makes some of the nicest interiors in the auto industry. The XC40 Recharge is no different with clean lines, an airy environment, and some great styling details like thin HVAC vents, textured metal trim, and stunning seats.
The XC40 is a very roomy and comfortable vehicle for its size, and we found ourselves really enjoying the interior both in front and rear. Volvo makes some of the best interiors in the industry, and the XC40 Recharge doesn't disappoint.
Front Seats: We loved the seats with their near-perfect cushioning and bolstering. The suede inserts are soft and grippy.
Rear Seats: The seats in back are great. Even the middle position is comfortable since the cushion and seatback don't protrude too much.
NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The XC40 Recharge is well-built and exhibits no errant noises in the cabin. It's also quiet at highway speeds with some minor tire noise.
Visibility: With the exception of the rear side view's thick C-pillars, the overall view is very good from the driver's seat.
Climate: Volvo's climate system is excellent. Heat fires up quickly, and there's plenty of airflow. This is a great vehicle for cold Chicago winters. AC is also very cold.
Vehicles don't get much safer than this. The XC40 Recharge got the highest marks in crash testing, and the list of standard safety technology is as long as your arm. It's a vehicle that should be at the top of families' lists when it comes to peace of mind on the road.
IIHS Rating: The XC40 Recharge model was specifically tested and earned the highest score, Top Safety Pick+, nailing every category.
NHTSA Rating: The gas-powered XC40 T5 earned 5 stars from the federal government in safety tests.
Standard Tech: The list is truly expansive and includes Blind Spot Information System w/ Steer Assist and Cross Traffic Alert w/ Autobrake, Collision Avoidance: Low/High Speed Collision Mitigation, Detects Vehicle/Pedestrian/Cyclist; Driver Alert Control, Automatic Braking After Collision, Run-Off Road Mitigation, and Lane Departure Warning. There's also standard Adaptive Cruise Control.
Optional Tech: None.
As handsome as the XC40's cabin is, there's not a whole lot in the way of small item storage. The cargo area is flat and easy to load, but it's not exactly capacious. Many competitors fare better, such as the Toyota RAV4 Prime. It does, however, have similar numbers to the Audi Q4 e-tron and the Genesis GV60.
Storage Space: We like the center open cubby and the armrest. Door pockets are decent. There's really nothing located in the dash that provides accessible small item storage.
Cargo Room: The Recharge has less than average figures here: 21.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind its rear seats and 57.5 cubic feet with the second-row seats folded down.
As with any EV, efficiency is really impressive. The XC40 Recharge might not have superb range, but it does provide way better than average efficiency when compared to gas or even hybrid vehicles. We pushed our tester pretty hard so our combined numbers didn't quite make it to the EPAs 85 mpg combined for this vehicle.
Observed: 68 mpg.
Distance Driven: 180 miles.
Our Twin Ultimate trim is the tops for this model, and it comes standard with a premium Harman Kardon system that's superb. Combined with great audio adjustability and sound modes, it really sings. We loved cranking it and didn't experience any distortion. Bass was strong, and clarity was top-notch.