The individuals of Sweden don’t brag. They actually have a phrase for not-bragging: Jantelagen. So you could not have heard about Volvo’s all-electric compact SUV, the XC40 Recharge. Certain, 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 still be attempting to unpack Volkswagen’s try and market its personal compact SUV, the ID.4, as the brand new Beetle. Within 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 language automaker Geely. The corporate is pushing onerous for electrification from all its manufacturers.
This electrical model of Volvo’s small SUV met the expectations I had after I climbed behind the wheel. There have been additionally some surprises blended in, in addition to some small disappointments. However the XC40 Recharge is price contemplating in case you’re looking for a smallish SUV and your price range has the room to assume European ideas. It is also fairly stylish. It manages to impress with out calling an excessive amount of consideration to itself, which, after all, may be very Swedish.
The Want for Swede
The XC40 Recharge doesn’t appear to be one thing that may high the facility output of a Ford Mustang. However it could, with over 400 horsepower—402 to be exact—and 486 pound-feet of torque. Certain, its stately SUV seems sign that it’s prepared to select the children up from soccer follow or violin classes, then perhaps software round city earlier than delivering muffins to the group theatre. However it additionally has the facility 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 worthwhile to get out of a sticky scenario and dashing up rapidly is preferable to braking. Energy like that may be enjoyable too. I discovered myself stabbing the accelerator simply to revel within the sheer ridiculousness of all that pressure snapping my skull again into the headrest.
After horrifying your passengers with shock launches off the road, you’ll be able to soothe their nerves by bringing the little SUV to a cease, which the XC40 does deftly. The added heft of a giant battery pack signifies that electrical automobiles are harder to decelerate than their gas-powered counterparts. However 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, but it surely additionally possesses what I think about the perfect “one-pedal driving” expertise on the highway in the present day. This can be a function that, when enabled within the automobile settings part of the infotainment system, brings a automobile to a gradual cease when the driving force takes their foot off the accelerator. It’s a bit like having the brake pedal routinely depressed frivolously by the automobile every time your foot backs off the accelerator. Most of the different EVs I’ve pushed require me to coach myself for a number of days as I determine the proper speed-to-distance ratio to make the automobile cease the place I need it to. Volvo’s system, nevertheless, is far more intuitive. After a number of stoplights, I used to be one-pedaling like a professional.
Dealing with the Highway
I took the Volvo on a spirited drive by 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, but it surely wouldn’t outrun a sports activities sedan or most hatchbacks within the corners. The way 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 highway extra rapidly so the tires can acquire extra traction. The drivetrain right here comes customary as an all-wheel-drive setup, which actually helps it maintain tightly to the asphalt whereas having fun with some back-roads enjoyable.