The clogged grille, lack of exhaust heads, and two new wheel designs are the only things that visually distinguish the Recharge from the regular XC40. This is fine by me. The XC40 is by far the best crossover in its class, especially in the exclusive Sage Green Recharge model. The only no-cost color option is black, metallic paints like Thunder Gray for my car cost $695. Under the hood is a box with a plastic cover, but it is very small and can only fit a small backpack or car charging cables.
The Recharge has the same all-black interior as the XC40’s regular R-Design trim, except there’s no start button—just put the key in and it starts automatically, then put the gear selector on and you’re off. The upholstery is a great mix of real nappa leather and suede with white stitching and piping, and Volvo’s seats are still some of the best in the business. I hope Recharge gets at least unique pieces or a different color scheme available, like cool backlit decoration and Leather free upholstery From a C40 recharge. Unfortunately, Volvo has ditched the Lava Orange carpets available for the 2021 model year.
While the XC40 Recharge is familiar to look at and sit in, the driving experience is much improved compared to the gas-powered models. It uses the same pair of electric motors as the Polestar 2, which pump out a total of 402 horsepower and 486 pound-feet of torque, slightly less than the Polestar. Volvo quotes a 0-60 mph time of 4.7 seconds, roughly 1.5 seconds faster than the 252-horsepower XC40 T5 AWD. Acceleration doesn’t come without drama, just addictive instant torque and plenty of stability. The XC40’s turbocharged four-cylinder powertrains can be rough, noisy and jerky, but the recharging doesn’t have any of those downsides—it’s quiet, smooth, and compact, around town and on the highway.
What makes the experience even better is Recharge’s one-pedal driving mode, which is achieved through excellent regenerative braking. This can be turned off completely, but I don’t know why you would do it; Once you use one-pedal driving, it’s hard to go back. The Recharge ride can be steady with the available 20-inch wheels, although they aren’t stiff or uncomfortable. Thanks to the placement of the battery pack, the Recharge has a lower center of gravity than the regular XC40, and it deflects with significantly lower body coils. Steering is quick and direct, and the touchscreen toggle switch makes it heavier. It’s not a performance car, but the XC40 Recharge is a lot of fun on a twisty road.
Where the XC40 Recharge falls short is its driving range. With the 78 kWh battery pack, the EPA rates the recharge at 223 miles, which is slightly lower than other electric crossovers like the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Tesla Model Y. But that’s a boost on the 2021 Model 208. – mileage rating, although a new over-the-air software update applies the improved range to last year’s recharge as well. The XC40 range is easily attainable—and even beatable—without changing my driving style. On a 150kW fast charger that can charge from 0 to 80% in 33 minutes, Volvo has partnered with ChargePoint to give owners easier access to more than 100,000 chargers in the US.
Reducing range anxiety is Recharge’s premium infotainment system. Its Android Automotive operating system is very similar to that found in Polestar, and it is now also found in other Volvos cars such as 2022 XC60 The V90 Cross Country. The original navigation is Google Maps, which is my favorite way to get around anyway, and it looks great on the XC40’s 9-inch touchscreen. I wish a satellite view was available, although Volvo says that may come through a future update. Entering a destination gives you an estimated cost for the end of the trip, and if a charge is needed on the way, you will be redirected to the available charging stations. This takes away a lot of the stress of planning electric vehicle trips, especially if you’re the type of person who uses commuting all the time. The standard 12-inch digital scale set can display the entire width of Google Maps, and the rest of the screen is nice and simple.
For 2022, the XC40 gets a new Range Assistant app (also available for 2021 models as an over-the-air update) which provides an actual estimated range reading, which is a nice plus because the Recharge doesn’t actually show the range in the gauges, at least not until it gets around 25% of battery life, and even then it only changes in 5-mile increments. Instead, the gauge cluster displays the current battery percentage. The Range app also displays total consumption and metrics for exactly what is consuming the most energy between speed, driving style and climate controls. The range optimizer function adjusts some climate settings to improve efficiency as well.
The rest of Android is great, too. It’s much simpler, more responsive, and less cluttered than the older Sensus setup on the XC40. I’m a strong iPhone user, and although Recharge lacks Apple CarPlay, I don’t find myself missing it. Logging into my Google account via QR code system is very easy, and I can download media apps like Spotify through Google Play Store. With a Bluetooth connection, Recharge can read and send text messages, and the Siri-like Google Assistant works great.
Since it relies on more advanced trim than the XC40 to start, the recharge comes with a bunch of good things. Standard features include 19-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, LED active cornering headlights, heated front seats, a 12-inch digital instrument cluster, auto-dimming mirrors, and rain-sensing wipers. Also standard are a 360-degree camera, blind-spot monitoring system, front and rear parking sensors, lane-keep assist, road sign recognition, automatic emergency braking, and rear cross-traffic alert.
My test car has the $2,850 Ultimate package, which is a must. This gives you headlight washers, a wireless smartphone charger, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, heated wiper blades, 20″ wheels, a heat pump that helps maintain power and range, a bangin’ 13-speaker Harman Kardon audio system and Pilot driver assistance system The outstanding Assist from Volvo that combines adaptive cruise control with steering assistance. 20-inch wheels are available for $800 if you don’t use the Ultimate package, as is the $1,100 Climate package that adds heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, heat pump, and headlight washers.
XC40 shipping starts at $56,395, including a $1,095 destination fee and before any potential incentives or tax credits. That’s about $14,000 more than the entry price of the XC40 T5 AWD R-Design, and I think the recharge is definitely worth the price increase. My fully charged recharge comes to $59,940. While it might seem a lot of dents for a compact crossover, it’s not much more expensive than the base Tesla Model Y, and Volvo feels like a complete car despite its range and performance deficit.
As much as I love the XC40, I prefer the new model C40 . charging, which costs about the same but has a cooler design. And I don’t think I’d own either on the Polestar 2 twin-engine, which is now a few thousand dollars cheaper to start thanks to the modified option packages. The Polestar is a little better to drive and has a more unique design, and I think it’s more exciting overall. But the XC40 Recharge still has plenty of oomph, and you can’t go wrong with either. Stylish, cool to drive and exotic enough, the XC40 Recharge is everything I love about Volvo with a great electric powertrain.