Review Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge Pure Electric
The big SUV has taken its fair share of beatings in terms of social acceptance. Yet, despite this, they remain the weapon of choice for so many people, the vast majority of who will never show it more off-road than their own driveway. So why bother?
Well, as the owner of many SUV’s, it is easy to see their appeal. Higher driving position, immensely practical as a ‘do-it-all’ car, and for those occasions that the tarmac runs out on our family holidays, no fear that you will be left wondering why you bought that low-slung performance estate car.
Perhaps the best way to save face whilst saving the planet, is to plump for one of the many new fully-electric SUVs. BMW, Jaguar, Audi and Mercedes-Benz all have at least one in their premium arsenal, some have more. Well now we can add Volvo to the list as it ushers in a variant of it’s best-selling XC40 powered by volts.
The XC40 P8 Recharge Pure Electric Twin (phew!) shares its platform and electric drivetrain with the excellent Polestar 2 yet costs significantly more and isn’t quite as efficient. So, what’s the point? Well, for all the reasons mentioned above. You get a compact, luxurious SUV with its elevated driver’s seat, an open and boxy luggage area that will swallow everything IKEA can throw at it, and the ability (at least in this twin-motor version) to follow Julie Andrews as she climbs every mountain.
Of course, by sharing the Polestar’s motors, the car also shares its frankly preposterous 400hp power output, meaning this compact off-roader will hurl you to sixty miles per hour from rest in under 5 seconds. Even the twin-turbo, Porsche Macan S can’t live with that. But don’t be fooled by that ludicrous acceleration, because the little XC40 isn’t setting out in life to be a replacement for your sports car. Far from it. In fact, the car’s absolute mission appears to be one of comfort and isolation, because this is a supremely refined car. Only a tiny amount of suspension crashiness at low-speed ruins what is an almost perfect blend of comfort and suppleness. At higher speeds, the chassis simply soaks up those long undulations and redirects any uncomfortableness away from the occupants. It is also beautifully quiet inside.
The range is officially 257 miles according to WLTP figures, but it’s more likely to be 200-230 miles depending on conditions and driving style, which is a little disappointing for a 78kWh battery car. It will charge at speeds of up to 150kW, meaning an 80% charge can be had in around 40 minutes.
Yet the biggest hurdle you might find is how to buy one. The XC40 Recharge Pure Electric can only be bought on-line, and Volvo would prefer you not to buy one at all. It would rather you took out a subscription through its Care by Volvo scheme where you pay no deposit and monthly payment of £600-£700 per month for the specification we had. That is a lot of money, but then everything bar the electricity you put into it is included. If you were to add annual maintenance and fuel to the monthly payment of your Macan, it would probably be the same. If you insist on buying it, then the range currently starts at £50,000 and goes up to £57,000. Lower priced, front wheel drive versions will soon appear, as will the sportier-looking C40 SUV-Coupe bodystyle.
And so, in conclusion, we have the perfect blend of premium-badged luxury SUV that is practical, comfortable, fast and morally acceptable. Yes, it comes at a hefty price, but for many, given this car’s talents, it’s a price that is worth paying.