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Volvo XC40

volvo xc40 recharge review 2024 01 cornering front
volvo xc40 recharge review 2024 01 cornering front

The Volvo XC40 has been a transformative car for its creator. Even as it closes in on replacement, this compact SUV remained Volvo Cars’ second biggest-selling global model in 2023, only being outperformed by the mid-sized Volvo XC60.

With the arrival of the Volvo EX30 alongside it, Volvo is renewing its assault on the more affordable end of the European car market; but it was the XC40 that first proved the potential of a compact Volvo to win fans and find homes when it appeared in 2017 - and it still is.

Volvo’s timing with the introduction of the car, as Europe’s compact SUV market boomed, was undoubtedly good - but the car’s design was Gothenburg’s true ‘eureka’ moment. Although the company’s history with smaller models is quite long and chequered, never before had it tried to maximise how much brand-typical visual toughness and solidity it could transfer onto a smaller and more affordable car. As it did so, it unlocked a significant amount of untapped sales potential.

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And, like most cars who find commercial success, the XC40 has been through quite a lot of development and change within its first model generation. Having launched exclusively with conventional petrol and diesel combustion engines (and scooped the European Car of the Year title for 2018), it was offered with a petrol-electric plug-in hybrid powertrain - the XC40 Twin Engine - in 2019.

Those PHEVs would later go on to become re-named XC40 Recharge; and that nomenclature strategy would become a little confusing when Volvo added all-electric models into the XC40 range under the same banner. In recent years, however, the XC40 lineup has been rationalised. Having removed the original diesel-engined models from UK pricelists in 2020, Volvo discontinued its plug-in hybrids as part of the car’s most recent facelift in 2023.

So now, only mild hybrid petrol and fully electric ‘BEV’ Recharge versions of the XC40 survive. The latter came in for significant mechanical change for 2023, and so it was an XC40 Recharge single motor we opted to test here.

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