11:00 PM | August 24 2020
Motoring experts plug into the XC40 Recharge Hybrid
The new plug-in hybrid version of the XC40 compact luxury SUV has received strong reviews from Australia’s motoring media.
Australian motoring experts have been plugging into the most affordable petrol-electric model yet from Volvo Cars, the XC40 Recharge Plug-In Hybrid.
The consensus is that the hybrid makes another great addition to a range that has established the Volvo XC40 as a highly popular compact luxury SUV.
Car review websites including Carsguide, Carsales and CarExpert have all scored the XC40 Recharge Plug-In Hybrid highly, and, here, I Roll looks at their expert assessments in more detail.
The experts were unanimous in their praise of the Recharge Plug-In Hybrid’s drivetrain that makes it distinctive in a range of XC40s otherwise powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine.
The Recharge Plug-In Hybrid combines a 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine and an electric motor. The vehicle can run on electric power alone at variable speeds, with a range of up to 46km.
“Let’s talk about how it drives because that’s what everyone’s curious about, and to be honest it’s dreamy,” wrote Carsguide. “It’s silent when it’s running on electric, which is one of my favourite things about it, and it’s quick off the mark. And it has good power at high speeds – it uses its petrol engine for that.”
CarExpert was equally impressed with the performance of the twin motors.
“Unlike some plug-in hybrids, that threshold [for petrol engine intervention] is quite high, so the car will accelerate with the flow of traffic [using its electric motor] without needing to hand over to the internal combustion engine.
“The transition between electric and hybrid mode is fairly seamless. The three-cylinder engine under the bonnet has a fun rasp and it can be heard if you bury the throttle, but outside of that it remains quiet and doesn’t intrude into the cabin as it moves between modes.”
WhichCar appreciated both the hybrid’s performance and its efficiency.
“Real-world performance is better than the on-paper numbers suggest… Slotting into gaps in traffic is a cinch thanks to the electric motor’s instant shove. Without topping up the battery we recorded [fuel consumption that] was a healthy 30 per cent improvement on the T5 [R-Design] long-termer Wheels magazine ran last year in the same location and conditions.”
“What shines most about the Volvo XC40 T5 PHEV on the road is that it doesn’t scream science experiment,” said Carsales.
“The electric motor and petrol engine co-habitat harmoniously, both plying their inputs and working within their respective scope – which is heavily dependent upon which of the four driving modes you select.”
The drive modes include Hybrid, Pure, Power and Off-road.
Hybrid, the vehicle’s default mode, uses the electric and petrol motors either individually or in parallel to provide the optimum balance of performance, fuel efficiency and comfort.
Pure mode instructs the Recharge Plug-In Hybrid to drive using the electric motor only for zero-emissions motoring.
Power mode combines petrol and electricity for maximum performance.
An additional Hold function allows the driver to preserve battery power so the electric motor can be used in optimum circumstances, such as urban commuting.
The expert reviewers all noted how the hybrid system doesn’t compromise the XC40’s generous interior space, thanks to the advanced battery pack being compact in size and positioned in a low and central position.
“Slipping into the driver’s chair, the XC40 PHEV feels much like any other Volvo,” said Carsales. “Believe us, that’s a good thing. The cabin is a well-resolved combination of aesthetically-appealing Scandi design, modern technology and incidental storage. Above all else, though, the XC40’s cabin is comfortable and, in the presence of other compact SUVs, generously proportioned.”
CarExpert said the XC40’s interior continued to stand out in its segment.
“You’ll struggle to find another compact SUV that feels this solid and well built inside. We were surprised by the quality of fit and finish, and the thought put into materials throughout the cabin.”
In summary, Carsguide said it enjoyed its time with the Volvo XC40 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid.
“[We] think it’s a fab introduction to an electric motor. You can travel close to home petrol-free as long as you plug in every night and still have a petrol engine when you need it for road trips. There’s enough space for a family of four, it looks stylish and has the latest in safety and technology.”
“The technology clearly works – and best of all, it does so without changing Volvo’s successful compact SUV blueprint,” concluded Carsales.
And the last (but certainly not least) words from WhichCar…
“This plug-in hybrid is a welcome addition to the XC40 range… It could slash your fuel bill altogether if you use it only for short journeys (around 40km) and keep it plugged in regularly.
“Powertrain performance is stronger than the on-paper numbers suggest, too, and the rest of the package is typical XC40 (which is to say, class leading) with a roomy cabin, a big boot and well-sorted dynamics.”
For more information on the Volvo XC40 Recharge Plug-In Hybrid, talk to your nearest Volvo dealership.
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