The 2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge connects the gas past with the electric present

The 2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge connects the gas past with the electric present

The 2022 XC40 Recharge is an electric vehicle caught in the middle of a rapidly evolving electric vehicle market. Sharing a platform with the XC40 gas model, the small crossover is only a year old and has already been upgraded. This year, the range increases from 208 to 233 miles, and a surround-view camera system comes standard, as does wireless smartphone charging. Volvo has already announced A newer version of the XC40 Recharge, likely as a 2023 model.

Unlike the gas model, there is no lava orange interior trim, and the storage compartment under the driver’s seat is gone. After a week of testing in the cold and snow around Chicago, this new car that spearheads Volvo’s electric car plans is looking a bit dated. It’s not, especially compared to its gas-powered sibling, but newer electric vehicles like the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Hyundai Ioniq 5 are more refined.

Here’s what’s good and what could use improvement about the 2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge in the top Twin Ultimate trim.

Here: Volvo style

Minimalism works, especially indoors. The XC40 Recharge’s interior is very similar to the gas model, right down to the driveshaft tunnel that runs down the middle of the floor and a blind hole where the gas car’s ignition key enters. A 9.0-inch vertical touchscreen flanked by vertical air vents centers the dashboard without overwhelming it, and the only buttons are the front and rear defrosters, hazards, adjustment knob, and volume dial. It’s the cleanest dash ever, highlighted by Volvo’s aluminum-studded inlays.

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Miss: feels dated

The digital instrument cluster is simpler but more limited than other new cars, electric or otherwise. The digital speedometer and power gauge can be sidelined for an excellent display for Google Maps or navigation, or they can be blank and the gauges are larger. The information age has bypassed this group. Press the right steering wheel button and the trip meter will temporarily appear. The top and bottom menu bars display charging status and driver assistance features, but the information seems to be missing compared to newer EVs.

Controls for drive modes or regenerative braking are hidden in the touchscreen menus, giving the cockpit that cleanliness. The only drive mode option adjusts the weight of the steering, and the choice of regenerative braking is either a one-pedal drive mode or a normal mode that simulates sliding to a stop like a gas car.

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Hit and Miss: Simple but could have more space

The upside is that the XC40 Recharge is easy to operate, and the main controls work the same way as on a gas-powered XC40. Get used to speaking to Google Assistant for most car functions, and there’s virtually no need to fiddle with the limited array or buried touchscreen options. Head, leg, shoulder and cargo room are the same as in the gas model, which means it doesn’t benefit from the more spacious floor plan of a dedicated EV platform. For Volvo enthusiasts considering switching to electric vehicles, the XC40 Recharge offers a relatively smooth transition. Just remember to press the unlock button on the charging gateway when you disconnect it.

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Hit and Miss: No starters, no worries

There is no ignition switch, or off button. Get in, buckle up, switch the controller lever to R or D and go. It’s great when you’re late. To park, press the P button and exit. It’s simple, but disturbing. The XC40 Recharge isn’t the only electric car to do this, but after a week of testing it, I was still unsteady enough to repeatedly press the lock button on the remote while walking away from it.

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Hit and miss: performance

Every XC40 Recharge comes with dual-motor and all-wheel drive. Power is rated at 402 hp and 486 lb-ft of torque, specs that far exceed the base gas model XC40 T5 (248 hp and 258 lb-ft). It jumps the line and zips through traffic quickly enough to hit 60 mph in the mid-four-second range, but at 4,760 pounds it doesn’t tear as much as the specs suggest. With the battery on the floor between the axles and ground clearance at 6.9 inches (the XC40 T5 sits at 8.3 inches), the XC40 Recharge has a lower center of gravity and remains relatively stable. However, other electric crossovers like the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Hyundai Ioniq 5 handle better and lack the XC40 Recharge’s chassis.

Miss: Ineffective

The 2022 XC40 Recharge’s increased range doesn’t make up for the lower efficiency rating of all-wheel-drive electric crossovers. It uses 39 kilowatt-hours per 100 miles, according to the EPA. The most efficient electric SUV, the Tesla Model 3, uses 26 kilowatt-hours per 100 miles; The Model Y AWD uses 28 kWh; The most efficient all-wheel drive variants of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Ford Mustang Mach-E get 34 kWh. The inefficiency is noticeable in cold weather situations and for drivers who log mostly highway miles, as I did in my week with the XC40.

Efficiency isn’t a deal breaker because the XC40 Recharge’s charm outweighs the criticism. But the less expensive electric crossovers launched last year are looking more refreshed.


2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge Twin Ultimate

Base price: $52,795, including $1,095 destination

Price as tested: $60,090

payment system: 78 kWh lithium-ion battery with dual-motor all-wheel drive, 402 hp and 486 lb-ft

EPA fuel economy: Range: 223 miles, 85 mpg

Strikes: Volvo style, good EV transmission, good performance

make mistake: Seems dated and relatively ineffective

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