Why the XC40 Recharge is going to be your next daily driver
In this blog, we want to tell you why the new Volvo XC40 Recharge was voted the best daily driver of 2021. We drove the XC40 nearly 2000 km for two weeks over the course of 40 hours. Here are the details.
The XC40 is Volvo's smallest car in its "XC" range. Even though this is an SUV, the XC40 is the smallest car Volvo currently produces and it's aimed towards casual drivers that want a high driving position and stylish, Swedish looks. For 2021, Volvo is offering the XC40 as a fully electric vehicle and we think this is the only way the XC40 makes sense. Yes, the XC40 sits on a combustion-engine prioritized platform, but especially in the P8 trim, the XC40 Recharge is the one you should go for. The P8 gets dual motors producing a whopping 408 horsepower and 660 nm of torque. This AWD drivetrain is also being used in the Polestar 2 and the upcoming Volvo C40 Recharge. There is also a FWD P6 model with much less power, but realistically you want AWD and an insane 0 - 100 km/h time of 4.8 seconds. Although the P6 is only being offered for the 2022 model. Prior to 2022, the only option was the bonkers P8. But let's get real, 408 horsepower isn't necessarily the figure that makes the XC40 Recharge a good daily driver.
Volvo has decided that its smallest car will be an SUV, which is primarily a good thing. Frankly, SUVs are the type of cars that people want. A high driving position, ground clearance, and a lot of space. The XC40 is no different. Even if the XC40 gets the "XC" badge (which stands for cross-country), its purpose is not offroading. The automobile industry has figured out that people don't want SUVs for offroading by now. But the XC40 still gets an offroading mode with hill-descent control. It's questionable if you're ever going to need this, but why not? We went on gravel roads with the XC40 and it's no problem at all. So it's reassuring to know that your car can do a little bit of offroading.
It's in cities and towns where the XC40 gets into its preferred territory, especially as an EV. Unlike some other EV brands (we're looking at you Audi e-tron) the XC40 Recharge allows one-pedal driving. This means that the car recuperates energy and brakes the car, without using its brakes. The breaking really comes in handy when you drive around town. You hardly ever use the brake pedal, because the regenerative braking is so severe. It is something to get used to in the beginning but you'll be thankful for it. You can also brake the car to a full stop, without touching the brake and the car will hold itself for you. So it's possible to drive around town without ever having to touch the brake.
Eventually, you'll finally be out of town and on the open road. Volvo (by a long shot) has the best self-driving capabilities we've tested yet. Audi comes very close, but Volvo's system is less invasive. We agree that these systems should only be used on the motorway and country roads and by no means in town. These systems are still assistants and they should be used this way. Volvo's pilot assist keeps you in lane, unlike the ping-pong system that Jaguar-LandRover uses. You can take your hands off the wheel for a couple of seconds to take a drink of water and it'll keep its course, even through some tighter bends. It's not as independent as Tesla's autopilot system though.
Now let's get to the EV part. We have talked about the powertrain, but how does it perform in your commute? You'll definitely be the fastest one off the line at a stoplight. But the EV drivetrain is just immensely comfortable. The motors don't make any weird noises and it's just a pleasant way of travel. One less good thing was the consumption. Throughout 2000 km, we got a consumption of a dreary 23.0 kWh/100km. Coupled with the XC40's 75 kWh battery, our calculated range is just under 330km. This is the car's "real range", which includes all aspects of driving. Cities, towns, windy roads, motorways, bad and good weather and rain. You can say that 330km is more than enough for your daily commute. But this figure still isn't enough to convince somebody to buy an EV, because they're still too afraid of a lack of range on longer journeys. EV driving nowadays just takes a little bit of planning and luckily the XC40 can charge up to speeds of 151kW DC. The comfort itself is enough to convince us to have an XC40 Recharge as a daily driver.
Our last point that makes the XC40 the ultimate daily driver is the interior. All XC40 Recharge receive Volvo's latest Android-based infotainment. Hands down, one of the best systems in the industry. Volvo has thought of incorporating the device we use the most into a car; our phones. The layout is like on your phone and you can connect to Google Maps and Spotify. There's even an app store to download apps from. With this system being connected to the internet 24/7, you'll get over-the-air updates for your car and infotainment. In front of you, there's a fully digital display that can show your usual stuff like consumption and maps. It would be nice to have more customizability in this display because it looks very good. This might come in a future update.
The interior itself is very Volvo. Premium and vegan materials as standard and a Harman & Kardon stereo to die for. You also get an electronic sunroof to catch some fresh air.
So that's it. All the reasons why we think the XC40 Recharge is one of the best daily drivers of 2021. If you're not convinced yet, go drive one.