2021 Volvo Compact XC40 Recharge T4 SUV

SUVs have multiple personalities. Some are made with the outdoors in mind. These are vehicles for rough terrain, not bothered by a few bumps and scratches and if anything it adds some authenticity. Then there is the growing number of SUVs imagined solely as urban and suburban commuters. Volvo’s latest XC40 fits perfectly into this growing car class. The compact proportions, but the roomy interior are perfect for your school, your errands and a weekend in the countryside.

The model sent to me for testing is the latest XC40 Recharge T4, the second plug-in gasoline-electric hybrid version of the Swedish brand’s compact SUV. The car is powered by a 129-horsepower 1.5-liter 3-cylinder gasoline engine paired with Volvo’s latest 10.7 kW plug-in hybrid battery and an 82-horsepower electric motor that can travel up to 27 miles on battery power. . Meanwhile, official WLTP data records CO2 emissions of just 47 g / km and fuel economy of up to 134.5 mpg. Plus, the seven-speed automatic transmission makes driving the XC40 T4 easy, smooth and refined. In short, we feel effortless.

The XC40 is the smallest member of a family of three SUVs comprising the XC90 and XC60. They all have a distinct expression with their powerful taillight graphics and a sure angularity of the overall shape that helps them look solid, sturdy and secure. On the XC40, the high ground clearance, large wheels and classic SUV proportions give it a powerful stance that works well because at 4,425mm long and 1,910mm wide it’s not necessarily a big car. .

The interior is a comfortable space to occupy as driver and passenger. On this model, the leather-wrapped seats are set high and are roomy enough for an average-sized adult, without being too wide to overwhelm someone of my smaller proportions. The styling is simple and clean and uncluttered in that familiar Scandinavian fashion and I like that it retains a sense of privacy despite being an SUV.

Storage solutions are also inventive, with every corner put to good use for compartments that can hide phones and keys and hold cups and snacks. There is a removable waste bin in the center console, a small folding hook in the glove compartment and special slots for credit and service cards. Trunk space is sufficient at 460 liters with the rear seats in place, while increasing to 1,336 with them lowered.

Safety has always been the Volvo brand promise, and the XC40 is packed with many advanced technologies. Driver assistance functions include Volvo’s Pilot Assist system, the latest generation of City Safety, standard on all models, which combines automatic braking and collision avoidance systems to cover a range of emergency scenarios. potential accidents and help keep you safe. It detects pedestrians, cyclists and animals, and the 360 ​​° camera helps drivers maneuver their cars in tight parking spaces.

There was a time, not so long ago, when SUVs (in Europe at least) had a bad reputation. They have been demonized to clutter the often narrow urban roads and pollute the air. Volvo, among other automakers, has succeeded in firmly reversing this perception through its electrification program. The XC40 is already offered as a fully electric Recharge (an impressive car I drove in March). And while I’m not a fan of the SUV as a form of vehicle, the clean power combined with Volvo’s long-standing promise of safety makes a compelling case for these cars.

I spent my week with this XC40 with my sister and her young family. We drove the car in and around London and took a trip to the seaside. We filled the trunk with our suitcases, picnic gear, folding chairs, beach toys and more. The children sat high in the back seats and did not suffer as much from the usual motion sickness. The high ground clearance and large wheels were ideal for country trips, but the compact proportions helped navigate city traffic and through small villages. Against this background (and with the added bonus of hybrid technology), the XC40 is ideal for a young family – just as happy for everyday and functional use as a weekend car. It’s a safe, comfortable and genuine all-rounder.

To see the Purely electric charging of the Volvo XC40 on the road, learn about Volvo’s plan to become a carbon neutral company here; see which sister brand The polar star predicted in the electric age.

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