The individuals of Sweden don’t brag. They even have a phrase for not-bragging: Jantelagen. So you might not have heard about Volvo’s all-electric compact SUV, the XC40 Recharge. Sure, you’ve been bombarded with the tweets of Elon and his followers concerning the Tesla Model Y. You’ve additionally little doubt heard about Ford’s spectacular however incorrectly named electrical sport utility automobile, the Mustang Mach-E. You should be attempting to unpack Volkswagen’s try and market its personal compact SUV, the ID.4, as the brand new Beetle. In the midst of all that SU-EV hubbub, Volvo has quietly launched a dignified however understated family-friendly mannequin of its personal.
The XC40 Recharge (beginning at $55,300) is constructed on the identical small SUV platform as its gas-powered fraternal twin, the XC40. It additionally shares bones with the Polestar2, the electrified fruit of the startup Polestar, which, like Volvo, is owned by Chinese automaker Geely. The firm is pushing onerous for electrification from all its manufacturers.
This electrical model of Volvo’s small SUV met the expectations I had once I climbed behind the wheel. There have been additionally some surprises combined in, in addition to some small disappointments. But the XC40 Recharge is price contemplating if you happen to’re purchasing for a smallish SUV and your finances has the room to assume European ideas. It’s additionally fairly elegant. It manages to impress with out calling an excessive amount of consideration to itself, which, after all, may be very Swedish.
The Need for Swede
The XC40 Recharge doesn’t seem like one thing that may prime the ability output of a Ford Mustang. But it could, with over 400 horsepower—402 to be exact—and 486 pound-feet of torque. Sure, its stately SUV seems to be sign that it’s prepared to choose the youngsters up from soccer observe or violin classes, then possibly software round city earlier than delivering muffins to the neighborhood theatre. But it additionally has the ability to do these issues in a short time. The Swedish EV has a 0 to 60 time of 4.7 seconds, which is faster than the entry-level Mustang. That burst of pace is very welcome when merging onto the freeway, or in these cases when it’s essential get out of a sticky scenario and rushing up rapidly is preferable to braking. Power like that may be enjoyable too. I discovered myself stabbing the accelerator simply to revel within the sheer ridiculousness of all that power snapping my skull again into the headrest.
After scary your passengers with shock launches off the road, you possibly can soothe their nerves by bringing the little SUV to a cease, which the XC40 does deftly. The added heft of a massive battery pack implies that electrical automobiles are harder to decelerate than their gas-powered counterparts. But that really works to their benefit, as electrical automobiles use regenerative braking; the act of utilizing the electrical motors to gradual the automobile down additionally generates a small quantity of energy that will get despatched again to the battery pack.
The XC40 Recharge not solely has nice braking energy, however it additionally possesses what I think about the perfect “one-pedal driving” expertise on the street in the present day. This is a function that, when enabled within the automobile settings part of the infotainment system, brings a automotive to a gradual cease when the driving force takes their foot off the accelerator. It’s a bit like having the brake pedal robotically depressed frivolously by the automobile at any time when your foot backs off the accelerator. Many of the opposite EVs I’ve pushed require me to coach myself for a few days as I work out the proper speed-to-distance ratio to make the automotive cease the place I need it to. Volvo’s system, nevertheless, is way more intuitive. After a few stoplights, I used to be one-pedaling like a professional.
Handling the Road
I took the Volvo on a spirited drive by way of a mountain go close to the Calaveras Reservoir east of San Jose, California. Its dealing with of hairpin turns as a tall automobile was commendable, however it wouldn’t outrun a sports activities sedan or most hatchbacks within the corners. How it achieves these cornering gymnastics is its low middle of gravity (due to the battery pack) and tighter-than-usual suspension setup for a luxurious SUV. A stiffer suspension leads to the wheels rebounding to the street extra rapidly so the tires can achieve extra traction. The drivetrain right here comes normal as an all-wheel-drive setup, which definitely helps it maintain tightly to the asphalt whereas having fun with some back-roads enjoyable.