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Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric (2020 - 2023)

DOES YOUR EV LIFE BEGIN AT FORTY? (some text hidden) --NONE--

By Jonathan Crouch

Introductionword count: 68

The XC40 Recharge Pure Electric crossover is pretty much everything you'd expect a Volvo full-EV model to be. This fashionable battery-powered compact premium SUV offers a choice of single motor and twin motor drivetrains, the latter with a prodigious output of 408hp. The drawback is premium pricing but otherwise, a lot of boxes seem to have been ticked here. Let's check this car out as a used buy.

Modelsword count: 3

5dr SUV (EV)

Historyword count: 194

Electrification is the biggest change the motor industry has seen in decades. Which for Volvo back in 2020, made the introduction of its very first full-EV, the XC40 P8 (later re-badged the 'Recharge Pure Electric') one of the most significant milestones in this Swedish brand's history. The XC40 sits on the same CMA platform used for the fully-electric Polestar 2 model, so it was pretty straightforward to create a milkfloat mobility version of this little SUV. Mind you, with 408hp on tap from the Twin Motor version that was first put on sale, this car was a long way from milkfloat mobility. In 2021, a front-driven smaller-battery 69kWh Recharge Pure Electric model joined the range. And in 2022, Volvo introduced a sleeker C40 Recharge body shape too. In Spring 2023, the XC40 Recharge Pure Electric got some really far-reaching changes; a switch from front to rear-wheel drive for the base 'Single Motor' version; and different front and rear e-motors for the 'Twin Motor' version. Plus faster charging times and higher EV driving range figures across the line-up. It's the earlier 2020 to early-2023-era models though, that we examine here from a used buyer's perspective.

What You Getword count: 596

The main visual difference marking out this Recharge Pure Electric XC40 model is its blanked-off front grille, which is rarely a great adornment for an EV - and isn't here. Otherwise, there's the XC40's usual 'robot-inspired' styling, plus piercing 'Thor's Hammer' LED headlights and a clamshell bonnet. From the side, this battery-powered remit of this Pure Electric variant is difficult to spot; there's a 'Recharge' badge on the sharply angled rear C-pillar but that's about it. Even the charging flap looks exactly like a fuel filler cap. Otherwise, this BEV XC40 variant has all the hallmarks of a well equipped XC40 including a contrast-coloured 'Black Stone' roof, High Gloss Black integrated roof rails and big wheels, usually 19-inches in size but 20-inchers on the top version of the 'Twin Motor' model. You might do better identifying this Volvo's Zero Emissions BEV status at the rear; there's an identifying badge and of course, tail pipes are absent. Like any other XC40, this one rides on the brand's 'Compact Modular Architecture' platform, which is why it rolled down the same Ghent factory production line as its combustion-fuelled range stablemates. At the wheel, you get the usual cool Scandinavian vibe that helped to make the XC40 one of the best selling premium-badged compact SUVs of its kind. Which means digital dials, a dose of Swedish minimalism and door bins bigger than any you'll have ever seen (because the lower door cards don't have to accommodate big audio speakers). The two screens do of course incorporate specific EV features. The 12.3-inch 'Progressive Driver Display' you view through the 3-spoke wheel has a speed meter on the left and a drive meter on the right, the latter showing you whether you're using battery charge or regenerating it. And the 9-inch Centre Console Portrait Touch Screen can show a location map with marked charging points, along with charging and 'Driving' sections, the latter allowing you to select a 'One Pedal Drive' option that maximises the effect of regenerative braking. The central monitor also showcases Volvo's Android infotainment set-up which includes worldwide navigation to Google Maps, advanced voice recognition by Google Assistant and access to the Google Play Store for a range of in-car apps. The rear of the cabin is exactly as it would be in any other XC40 and headroom remains generous, even though the system battery pack is sitting right below your feet. Even the top model's panoramic glass roof shouldn't compromise head space too much unless you're exceptionally lanky. We're not so keen on the way that the angled style of the rear C-pillar might create something of a claustrophobic feel in the back for younger folk; if you've children, take them along on the test drive to make sure they'll be happy there. The central positioning of that battery pack means that boot space isn't compromised either. The standard powered tailgate rises to reveal 452-litres of it. There are some really nice convenience touches in the cargo area, principally a neat divider, which can rise and divide the space laterally to stop your shopping from sliding around. The hinges of this divider even stand proud of its top edge, giving you hooks from which you can hang shopping bags. Fold the rear bench forward and up to 1,328-litres of total capacity is revealed if you load to the roof. That's only 67-litres less than you'd get in Volvo's larger XC60. Because no engine is needed beneath the clamshell bonnet, Volvo used the space to create a 'frunk', a 31-litre space that's perfect for the two provided charge leads.

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Category: Hybrid, Plug-in, Electric & Hydrogen

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This is an excerpt from our full review.
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