Electric propulsion is nothing new to Volvo, and the automaker has adopted the Recharge suffix for its plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and battery-powered models.
One such vehicle is the 2024 XC40 Recharge, which gets some tweaks and changes this year. The biggest news is the addition of a rear-wheel drive setup that offers more range than the existing all-wheel drive version that continues on.
The styling remains untouched for 2024, with a boxy design that somehow avoids looking rugged and tough. The wheels are pushed to the corners, and the available two-tone finishes add some flair to the understated crossover. From the outside, it looks smart, clean, and premium.
The interior emphasizes minimalism, while the sustainable, carpet-like material found on the door panels and the sides of the console is eye-catching. Front-seat occupants are treated to a topography-inspired pattern on the glovebox that’s illuminated in the dark.
Like many other modern premium crossovers, the XC40 Recharge offers plenty of crash avoidance systems, including surround-view parking cameras, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assistance, and automatic emergency braking. There’s also adaptive cruise control, though it tended to brake too late for comfort during this test.
Even the entry-level XC40 Recharge is well-equipped. The base Core trim includes wireless phone charging, dual-zone climate control, an air filtering system, and a humidity sensor. There’s also a standard 12-inch digital instrument cluster and a nine-inch touchscreen infotainment system, while an air purifier, panoramic sunroof, heat pump (useful for range optimization), 13-speaker stereo, and heated rear seats are offered higher in the lineup.
The digital displays were a consistent headache during this test. Most of the issues were the fault of the Google-based operating system that powers the interfaces, including a navigation system that didn’t function properly.
It doesn’t help that many climate controls are embedded in the infotainment system, either, requiring a few taps to make simple changes. While the screen is relatively responsive, it can on occasion feel slow and cumbersome.
One final complaint with the XC40 Recharge is the charging interface. While the connector is locked in place while plugged in to avoid being disconnected by others, unlocking the doors doesn’t release the cable. That means you have to get into the vehicle to release the cable, then step back out to unplug it.
Those usability concerns marred much of this test, though it’s a fairly practical crossover overall. There’s 452 L of storage behind the rear seats, which expands to 1,328 L when they’re folded. The seats fold flat, and there’s an embedded divider to help organize cargo. The XC40 also has a small frunk.
Passenger space is adequate for a crossover this size. The rear seats aren’t really adult-sized, but kids should fare OK back there. A rear-facing baby seat can be fitted, but the front passenger seat may have to be moved forward to an uncomfortable degree in order to accommodate it.
For those sitting in the front seats, there’s little to complain about comfort-wise. The XC40 feels spacious, and the seats are well-contoured for support. The cabin is also quiet and well-insulated, with few (if any) annoying rattles to report.
The big change this year is the availability of a rear-wheel-drive XC40 Recharge, which uses a single motor that delivers 248 hp. That’s a significant drop from the 402 hp made by the dual-motor version with all-wheel drive, but the single-motor setup doesn’t feel especially slow. It gets up to speed without much struggle, with a sensation similar to a gas-powered crossover like this.
Driving Feel: 8/10
The push from the rear of the vehicle helps balance the driving feel. The weight of the large 82-kWh battery is noticeable, especially under heavy braking, but ride quality is excellent, with the vehicle absorbing undulations on the road with poise.
Fuel Economy: 8/10
This single-motor model is rated for 472 km on a single charge, compared to 409 km for the all-wheel-drive version. That’s about 15 per cent more range, but this year’s model also allows for faster DC fast-charging, with speeds peaking at 200 kW rather than 150 kW. As a result, recharging from 10 to 80 per cent can take as little as 28 minutes in ideal conditions. On Level 2 chargers, expect about eight hours for a complete charge.
The heat pump found in mid and top-trim models also helps to improve the consistency of driving range in colder weather. This tester’s portable charge cable also had an interchangeable plug, allowing it to use a 48-amp outlet for faster charges at home.
Official range estimates proved accurate during this test. A range optimizer mode helped to limit top speed and climate settings to extend the driving range.
The starting price for the single-motor XC40 Recharge is $62,570 including freight. This tester was equipped with the $12,300 Ultimate package and was finished with a $900 paint job, pushing the as-tested price to $75,770 before tax. The all-wheel drive system is worth anywhere from $2,500 to $3,550, depending on trim.
The 2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge should appeal to more buyers thanks to its pair of powertrains to pick from. Do you want to spend less to go further, or spend more to go faster with more traction? Volvo now gives shoppers the choice, along with a premium electric experience.
|Single motor, 82 kWh battery
|2.0 / 2.5 / 2.2 L/100 km, 17.8 / 22.0 / 19.7 kWh/100 km cty/hwy/cmb; 472 km est. range
|452 / 1,328 L seats down
|2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge
|Price as Tested
$13,200 – Ultimate Package, $12,300; Vapour Grey paint, $900