2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge Review

If you are familiar with the naming of Volvo’s current lineup, the Recharge trim refers to the brand’s lineup of plug-in electric hybrid (PHEV) and electric vehicles (EV). Volvo’s commitment to make half of its lineup fully electric by 2025 is ambitious. And that effort starts with the sub-compact luxury SUV, the 2022 XC40 Recharge. The petrol-powered XC40 receives great reviews from consumers and automotive journalists, does the pure EV version measure up?

Thanks to Volvo Canada, I had the chance to test drive the 2022 XC40 Recharge for one week to find out. Below is my unbiased review.

Except for the closed front grille and somewhat hidden Recharge badges, the XC40 Recharge looks exactly like its gasoline powered siblings. It is a good thing as the XC40 already enjoys a handsome yet slightly more youthful vibe. The Volvo Iron Mark logo in the center of the front grille has a slightly more futuristic shape for the EV. It also cleverly hides the front facing camera. Volvo’s iconic Thor’s hammer headlights are as elegant as ever, but the main LED lamps shut off as soon as you put the car in Park. It doesn’t affect the driving experience one bit, but makes photographing those handsome headlights a challenge. 

On the side, XC40 Recharge looks sporty and agile thanks to the short overhangs and the beefy wheel arches. This rear wheel arch looks particularly prominent thanks to the raised greenlight and slightly wider rear wheels. The added battery packs at the bottom gives this EV less ground clearance, but also makes it look surefooted. 

You won’t find exhaust ports at the rear of the car. Instead, clean lines and the signature Volvo tail lamps gives the XC40 Recharge that distinctive minimalist look. In a market where many EVs try too hard to look different from their petrol-powered counterparts, the unassuming yet beautifully sculptured exterior of the XC40 Recharge is actually my favorite. 

The interior of the XC40 Recharge remains the familiar Scandinavian design that is premium and functional. You won’t find a Start button in this car. Simply put the gear in drive and the car is ready to go. This is a wonderful concept for an EV but actually took some getting used to for the first few days of my test drive. 

The front seats are heated and power adjustable. They are wrapped in environmentally friendly materials that feel premium to the touch. The same material can be found covering the steering wheel. In order to get the optional steering wheel heater, you will need to pay an additional $100. It is a must have upgrade for Canadian winters. 

The rear seats offer a surprising amount of legroom. It is one of the best in the sub-compact SUV category thanks to the stretched wheelbase. Rear headroom is also decent. A large panoramic sunroof compensates for the somewhat limited rear glasshouse. 

The 2022 XC40 Recharge is equipped with the upgraded Android-based infotainment system. It is noticeably quicker and more straightforward to operate than the old Sensus system. However, it still takes too many steps to access some essential functions. They include the seat and cabin climate controls, camera views, and drive mode selects. These functions would really benefit from dedicated physical switchgears. 

The 9.1” tablet style portrait screen behaves exactly like a smartphone. Swiping left and right reveals additional menus, and there is a dedicated home button at the bottom of the screen. Saying “Hey Google” activates the virtual assistance of the Android Auto system. I actually had to disable the voice activation of the car because the command triggers both my phone and the car’s virtual assistance at the same time. 

The standard 12.3 digital instrument cluster is gorgeous. The entire screen can be utilized to display vehicle status and navigational information at the same time. 

Safety and Driver Assistance
The XC40 Recharge, being a pure EV, presents some unique challenges for Volvo engineers. First, there is no combustion engine in the front bay to absorb impact energy. Therefore, the front structure of the XC40 Recharge was completely redesigned and reinforced to maintain good crash resistance. Second, in order to protect the integrity of the Lithium Ion battery pack in case of a crash, an extruded aluminum battery cage is put in place to offer a layer of crumple zones around the batteries. 

As with all Volvos we have test driven, the XC40 Recharge is packed with advanced safety features. The all-new Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) sensor platform uses inputs from cameras, radar, and ultrasonic sensors to avoid potential driving hazards. 

The 2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge is not yet rated by either the NHTSA or IIHS at the time of writing, but its gasoline powered sibling receives a Top Safety Pick+ rating from IIHS and a 5 Star crash rating from NHTSA. 

The XC40 Recharge is powered by two electric motors: one for the front wheels and one for the rear. Which means, the XC40 is by nature, All-Wheel Drive. The two motors have a combined max power of 402 hp at 13,900 rpm, and combined max torque of 486 lb-ft at 0 rpm. This means, the XC40 Recharge is fast right off the line. 0-100km/hr happens in 4.9 seconds, but you really have to step your foot on the accelerator to enjoy that massive torque. The throttle response is tuned to match that of a gasoline-powered car. It feels very natural and requires no driving adjustments. There is a Regenerative braking mode that allows for one-pedal driving, but the amount of regenerative braking is not adjustable. 

Now let's talk about the all-important range. The XC40 Recharge stores its energy in a 75.0 kwh battery pack, which provides a max range of 359km. It is better than the likes of Audi e-tron and Jaguar I-Pace, but handily beaten by the Tesla model Y. Of course, for 80% of us who drive no longer than 50km per day, this is not an issue. But for people who frequently go on longer trips, the max range becomes important. It is also worth noting that the range of an EV drop significantly in cold climates. 

The Recharge has a 11-kW charger onboard. It accepts both 220VAC and 100VAC, but the latter will take significantly longer to achieve a full charge. With a fast-charging DC station up to 150 kW, the battery of the Recharge can go from 0 to 80 per cent in approximately 40 minutes.

With a heavy battery placed close to the ground, the XC40 Recharge handles well in corners. It is a heavier car, so some body roll can be felt. Nevertheless, the Recharge feels sporty and is fun to drive around town. The steering is effortless, but can be adjusted to heavy settings for more road feedback. 

Cargo Space & Storage
There is 452L of cargo space behind the second row seats and 1328L of cargo space with the seats folded. This is a perfect car for grocery runs and weekend trips. There is also a front trunk that provides 21L of additional storage space. I find it to be a great place to store the charging cable. 

In cabin storage options are above average. They include a decently sized glove compartment, a large center console storage compartment with a detachable garbage bin, a wireless charging pad for smartphones, and long side door pockets for front passengers. Rear door pockets are smaller, but there are two additional cup holders in the folding armrest, mesh pockets behind the front seat backs, and additional storage trays beside the rear seats. 

The 2022 XC40 Recharge is one of my favorite EVs. It offers a handsome exterior, a uniquely Scandinavian premium interior, great performance, and a decent range. While it may not beat the Tesla Model Y in the range department, the fit and finish of the XC40 Recharge is streets ahead. Of course, as with most luxury EVs, the high sticker price will be a barrier to entry for most consumers. But with the skyhigh gas price, long term savings might make the purchasing decision easier. 

Test Vehicle
2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge

$59,950 CAD base. $74,300 CAD as tested

Glacier Silver


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