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Volvo XC40 Recharge T5 Plug-in Hybrid

The independent definitive Volvo XC40 Recharge T5 Plug-in Hybrid video review
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    By Jonathan Crouch

    Volvo's XC40 Recharge Plug-in hybrid is a pricey but very complete product, thinks Jonathan Crouch reports.

    Ten Second Reviewword count: 84

    We've known for some time that future Volvo products will all be electrified. Going forward, the only decision buyers of the brand will really have to make is whether they want to plug their cars in or not. Those who want to attach to the mains will be opting for one of the company's range of 'Recharge' models - either a plug-in hybrid of a full-electric variant. This was the first of the 'Recharge' models to be launched, the XC40 Recharge T5 Plug-in hybrid.

    Backgroundword count: 131

    The XC40 compact SUV was the last of Volvo's models to get electrification, but it was also the first of the company's cars to get a full-EV electric version, the XC40 P8 Recharge. But if you can't quite face the thought of going for an all-out EV (or that top variant's price of well over £50,000), then this Recharge T5 Plug-in hybrid derivative might be more palatable. At well over £40,000, it's still hardly inexpensive, but it can offer up to 27 miles of all-electric driving before needing to revert to its 178bhp three cylinder 1.5-litre petrol engine. Compromises over the ordinary XC40 model are as few as the visual changes made and there are plenty of driving mode options to ensure that you can maximise the innovative powertrain's impressive efficiency.

    Driving Experienceword count: 388

    With this Recharge T5 Plug-in hybrid FWD model, the hybrid system's electric motor drives only the front wheels and works via 7-speed dual-clutch auto gearbox. That motor draws its power from a 10.7kWh lithium-ion battery situated in the car's central drivetrain tunnel and will take over from the associated 1.5-litre three cylinder petrol engine to power this Volvo exclusively when you run it in this PHEV variant's provided full-electric 'Pure' driving mode. Most of the time though, you're going to be using this XC40 in its normal 'Hybrid' drive setting, in which the electric motor and the three cylinder engine cut seamlessly in and out, as required. The electrified modes have a specific right hand driving gauge in the instrument binnacle that replaces the rev counter. And a selectable 'Driver Performance' screen on the centre-dash screen can tell you at any given time what's being powered by what. Should you need to press on, there's a sporty 'Power' mode, use of which reminds you that there are plenty of braked horses on offer here, in the case of this T5 PHEV variant 180hp from the 1.5-litre engine and a further 82hp from the electric motor. There's also an alternative T4 Plug-in hybrid derivative which uses the same powertrain but with a slightly de-tuned 129hp version of the 1.5-litre petrol engine. Pushing down past the throttle's kickdown point always brings the petrol engine into play - which you'll obviously need to do if you want to replicate the quoted performance figures; in the case of this T5 PHEV variant, these see 62mph reached in 7.3s, 1.2s quicker than the T4 PHEV version. Both derivatives, like all modern Volvos, top out at 112mph. With this Plug-in model, as with ordinary XC40 variants, ride quality is segment-leading and refinement is difficult to beat in the class too. The brake recuperation system can make it difficult to smoothly bring the car to a standstill though. And you certainly feel this plug-in variant's extra weight (it tips the scales at over 1,800kgs) when pushing on through the bends. Unlike the full-electric P8 variant of this model, this version doesn't have an AWD drivetrain, but Volvo nevertheless, rather ambitiously, provides an 'Offroad' option amongst your various driving mode choices. Unless you find yourself in a muddy carpark, it's probably best to ignore that one.

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    Pictures (high res disabled)

    Statistics (subset of data only)

    Min

    Max

    Price:

    £40,905.00

    £42,305.00

    CO2 (g/km):

    47

    49

    Max Speed (mph):

    127

    0-62 mph (s):

    7.3

    Combined mpg:

    139.4

    Length (mm):

    4425

    Width (mm):

    1863

    Height (mm):

    1658

    Boot capacity min (litres):

    460

    Scoring (subset of scores)

    Category: Hybrid, Plug-in, Electric & Hydrogen

    Performance
    70%
    Handling
    70%
    Comfort
    70%
    Space
    80%
    Styling, Build, Value, Equipment, Depreciation, Handling, Insurance and Total scores are available with our full data feed.

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