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Car review: Volvo XC40 Recharge is a nondescript electric vehicle with power for effortless drives

Car review: Volvo XC40 Recharge is a nondescript electric vehicle with power for effortless drives
PHOTO: Low Fai Ming
What we like What we dislike
Rapid turn of pace Unsettled ride over bad roads
Well-built cabin  
Nondescript exterior design  
Strong value when compared against electric rivals  

This, is the XC40 Recharge Pure Electric. It is Volvo's first all-electric car, and it comes with 402bhp, 660Nm of torque, and a 78kWh battery.

If those numbers sound familiar, you can rest assured you're not having a bout of deja vu, for they are indeed shared with the dual motor Polestar 2 we tested just a few weeks back.

Opt for this electric crossover instead of the fastback and you'll get an additional 47 litres of space in the boot, although it is also asking for a $10,000 premium (as of Jan 27, 2022), alongside a slightly blunted official energy consumption (at 5.2km/kWh for the Polestar 2 against the XC40's 4.0km/kWh).

402bhp and 660Nm means the Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric will easily leave rivals trailing far behind. PHOTO: Low Fai Ming 

So, should you still opt to get the crossover?

By the numbers

Well, if you're one to suffer from range anxiety in an electric vehicle, you can rest easy in the knowledge that the range of this Volvo XC40 Recharge will not leave you wanting.

Over three days with the car, I managed an average energy consumption of 4.3km/kWh. And at that rate, you should be good for a range of up to 323km.

So, while it isn't the most efficient electric vehicle out there even when compared against its crossover rivals that all should have an equally difficult time punching through the air, the Volvo XC40 Recharge compensates with a slightly larger battery, allowing it to return a real-world total range that should surpass that of the Lexus UX 300e, and land it within striking distance of the range of the Mercedes-Benz EQA.

The cabin of the car feels well-built everywhere you care to touch. PHOTO: Low Fai Ming 

Then there is the issue of performance. With 402bhp on tap, the aforementioned crossover rivals to the XC40 Recharge can't possibly hope to keep up with its sheer pace.

Add to that the fact that the Volvo is the most affordable of the trio here, and has the largest boot, it looks like a home run for this electric XC40.

On the go

To sit and drive in, however, this Volvo XC40 Recharge is less accomplished.

The electric crossover does a decent job of rounding over sharp edges, but the ride can feel busy whenever you're driving over broken roads, transmitting a good share of road imperfections into vertical body movement.

There's also quite a fair bit of boominess that echoes through the cabin as the suspension does its work, and a fair amount of dive under braking, accompanied with body roll in the corners.

Embedded Spotify and Google Assistant is just the start of features destined for the new infotainment system. PHOTO: Low Fai Ming 

More eager drives will also bemoan the lack of a choice of driving modes, or the option to adjust the level of regenerative braking.

Look past these faults and you'll notice other great points about this car.

All-wheel drive means there's always plenty of grip to be had, and the build quality in the cabin is astonishing, even if surface materials and the dashboard design don't quite match the Mercedes EQA for sheer tactility or deliver quite the same wow factor.

The new Android-powered infotainment system is also quick to respond to inputs and the inclusion of Google Assistant makes navigation and looking for restaurants when already on the road very easy, pairing with a steering that is a touch on the light side to make city driving a sheer breeze.

452-litre boot is sizeable compared to rivals in the segment. PHOTO: Low Fai Ming 

Expect the infotainment system to get improved with the inclusion of more features including a dedicated web browser and video playback via YouTube in the near future.

Space for all passengers is also decent, with rear knee room in particular easily beating many rivals in the segment, whether powered by electricity or otherwise.

A safe option

Conservatively styled both inside and out, the Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric is a sensible option for those looking for a nondescript electric vehicle that has the power for effortless drives all the way up to highways speeds.

I just cannot help but feel that that excellent 420bhp electric drivetrain will be better paired with the futuristic fastback body of the Polestar 2.

This article was first published in sgCarMart

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