Volvo XC40 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid Review

Volvo charges forward with a plugin-hybrid XC40

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Volvo continues to surge forward with its electrification program; what you see here is one piece of the puzzle. 

This Volvo XC40 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid builds upon the fantastic XC40, with its terrific interior, exterior styling and ride. However, the PHEV model goes a step further and adds an electric motor capable of carrying you 40kms without the use of any liquified dead dinosaurs.

We really liked the combustion-engine-only XC40 when we drove it earlier in the year, so how does this plug-in hybrid compare considering you do pay a premium for the Recharge version?

What’s it like inside?

The interior of the XC40 Recharge varies little from the petrol-powered version the Recharge is built upon. 

You get brushed aluminium inserts along the dash and doors and the same nine-inch, vertical touchscreen infotainment system that comes loaded with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, along with some slightly different functionality that we will touch on later.

A “Lifestyle Pack” was optioned on our test vehicle for $3,000 – this adds a panoramic sunroof, tinted rear windows and a Harman Kardon sound system.

You’ll sit on the same comfortable electric adjustable seats too, with a memory function for the driver. Also fitted was the $900 “Comfort Pack”, which adds heated front and rear seats as well as a heated steering wheel. Definitely a useful addition to consider for those cold winter months.

Looking forwards, nestled behind the simple uncluttered steering wheel, is a 12.3-inch digital driver display. Here, you can access your trip computer, view directions from the satellite navigation and see lane configurations of upcoming intersections – regardless of whether you’re being directed by the satellite navigation or not. Drivers have the ability to customise the look of the dials themselves.

Boot capacity also remains unchanged, with the same 460 litres on offer. This sits behind some competitors like the Audi Q3 and BMW X1 but has more space on offer than the Mercedes-Benz GLA.

With the interior and boot space relatively uncompromised, you might be asking “where did they put the battery?” 

The engineers have managed to neatly package the battery underneath the centre tunnel, meaning no space is lost due to the extra technology, battery and cabling.

There’s plenty of little storage spaces and thoughtful touches throughout the cabin. Bag hooks, for instance, make quick impromptu shopping runs that much more convenient.

Among the more interesting features within the nine-inch command system is ambient lighting, which can be changed manually or can be selected to automatically adjust based on the temperature. There was also a setting to keep the cabin cooler on hot days when you are not in the vehicle.

If selected, the vehicle will monitor the cabin temperature and close the shade cloth across the panoramic sunroof, blocking out the sun. A great feature for summer in Australia.

You won’t run into any problems in the back either, with a good amount of leg and headroom for your average-size adults.

All-in-all, we like the interior of the XC40 Recharge.

What’s it like to drive?

The XC40 and XC40 Recharge Plug-in hybrid don’t pretend to be anything they are not. You can see that from their styling. 

They aren’t sporty – they are sensible, comfortable daily drivers. 

As you motor around town, the XC40 Recharge cruises over imperfections in the road surface without trouble. Heading through corners, this soft ride doesn’t translate into excessive body roll, which is often associated with these compact SUVs. 

In terms of handling, it is perfect for town driving.

Sweetening the deal, there are crisp reversing cameras and the vehicle comes equipped with an automatic parking functionality, so if you are living or commuting around the city and aren’t all that confident parking, your Volvo will do it for you.

You’ll be glad for the parking assistance, as the large C-pillars on the XC40 negatively impact over-the-shoulder visibility.

Moving on to the powertrain, the XC40 Recharge is powered by a 1.5-litre, three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, which is capable of producing 132kW and 265Nm unassisted.

It works alongside a 10.7kWh lithium-ion battery that powers an electric motor. The motor is capable of producing 60kW and 160Nm and able to travel 40kms without the need for petrol when fully charged. 

Drive is sent to the front wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that you’ll barely notice shift when you are driving around on fossil fuels.

You can throw the vehicle into a regenerative braking mode too, which slows the vehicle while you are not on the throttle, allowing the XC40 PHEV to recharge its battery and extend its electric range with normally wasted energy.

If you tap into the infotainment system, swiping to the left, there is also a “charge” option which basically uses the petrol engine to top-up the battery. 

Using these two features, you can regenerate a decent amount of range. We managed to restore roughly 18kms on a 45km highway trip – handy if you aren’t going to have charging access at your destination.

How safe is the Volvo XC40 Recharge PHEV?

It’s a Volvo. I think that says it all. Along with the frontal airbags and side-impact protection system (SIPS), which includes airbags in the front seats, curtain airbags and whiplash protection, you will also get the following as standard:

  • Pedestrian, vehicle, large animals and cyclist detection
  • Intersection collision and oncoming mitigation with brake support
  • Lane keep assist
  • Driver alert
  • Adjustable speed limiter function
  • Blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert (CTA)
  • Front and rear collision warning with mitigation support
  • Hill descent control
  • Front and rear park assist
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Autonomous emergency braking
  • Volvo pilot

They really don’t come much safer than Volvos.

The verdict

The XC40 and XC40 recharge plug-in hybrid are both impressive vehicles and worth considering if you are in the market for a small SUV.

If your daily commute is less than 40kms, the PHEV looks like a good option. With that being said, it is worth doing the sums and consider if the emission-free driving is worth the $8,000 premium you’ll pay.

Whichever one you pick, you’ll be left satisfied.

Compare some options to finance a Volvo XC40 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid

$
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comparison Rate (p.a.) Monthly Repayment View Details CTA
Loans.com.au - New and Dealer Used Car Loan
From
4.67%
(fixed)
5.22%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.67% p.a. based on your risk profile
Finance a new car and benefit from features such as fast approval, no ongoing fees and an optional balloon payment. Settle the loan before 30 November 2021 and enter the draw to win a $1,000 fuel gift voucher. T&Cs apply.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.67% p.a. based on your risk profile
Finance a new car and benefit from features such as fast approval, no ongoing fees and an optional balloon payment. Settle the loan before 30 November 2021 and enter the draw to win a $1,000 fuel gift voucher. T&Cs apply.
Plenti Car Loan
From
4.89%
(fixed)
5.44%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.89% p.a.
Borrow up to $100,000 with a Plenti Car Loan and benefit from no early repayment or exit fees.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.89% p.a.
Borrow up to $100,000 with a Plenti Car Loan and benefit from no early repayment or exit fees.
Wisr Secured Car Loan
From
4.74%
(fixed)
5.01%
You'll receive a personalised interest rate from 4.74% p.a. to 16.01% p.a. based on your risk profile
A flexible car loan from $5,000 - $63,000 with personalised rates and rewards for strong credit customers.

⭐Special Offer: Wisr's standard establishment fee $605 will be reduced to $195 for applications submitted through Finder. T&Cs apply.
You'll receive a personalised interest rate from 4.74% p.a. to 16.01% p.a. based on your risk profile
A flexible car loan from $5,000 - $63,000 with personalised rates and rewards for strong credit customers.

⭐Special Offer: Wisr's standard establishment fee $605 will be reduced to $195 for applications submitted through Finder. T&Cs apply.
Credit Concierge Car Loan
From
3.35%
(fixed)
4.41%
You'll receive a fixed rate of 3.35% p.a. with a comparison rate of 4.41% p.a.
Get access to over 20 providers to fund a new or used car.
You'll receive a fixed rate of 3.35% p.a. with a comparison rate of 4.41% p.a.
Get access to over 20 providers to fund a new or used car.
Stratton Finance New Car Loan
From
3.85%
(fixed)
4.05%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 3.85% p.a. depending on the lender you are approved with
Apply for up to $250,000 and use cash or trade in a vehicle to use as a deposit. Optional balloon payment available.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 3.85% p.a. depending on the lender you are approved with
Apply for up to $250,000 and use cash or trade in a vehicle to use as a deposit. Optional balloon payment available.
IMB New Car Loan
4.99%
(fixed)
5.34%
You'll receive a fixed rate of 4.99% p.a.
A low minimum borrowing amount of $2,000 that you can use to purchase a new car or one that's up to two years old.
You'll receive a fixed rate of 4.99% p.a.
A low minimum borrowing amount of $2,000 that you can use to purchase a new car or one that's up to two years old.
RACV New Car Loans
From
4.99%
(fixed)
5.69%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.99% p.a.
A larger loan of $5,000 or more to help you buy a new or used car. 5-hour pre approval available and no ongoing fees.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.99% p.a.
A larger loan of $5,000 or more to help you buy a new or used car. 5-hour pre approval available and no ongoing fees.
NRMA New Car Loan
From
4.99%
(fixed)
5.69%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.99% p.a.
Purchase a new or used car up to 3 years old and benefit from a fixed rate and no monthly fees. Pre-approval available within 5 business hours.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.99% p.a.
Purchase a new or used car up to 3 years old and benefit from a fixed rate and no monthly fees. Pre-approval available within 5 business hours.
CarClarity Car Loan
From
3.35%
(fixed)
4.95%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 3.35% p.a.
Get access to more than 30 lenders to finance a new or used car for personal or corporate use. Borrow up to $250,000 with terms from 1 to 7 years.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 3.35% p.a.
Get access to more than 30 lenders to finance a new or used car for personal or corporate use. Borrow up to $250,000 with terms from 1 to 7 years.
Heritage Bank Car Loan
4.89%
(fixed)
5.53%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.89% p.a.
Finance a new or used car up to 5 years old. Large maximum borrowing amount up to $100,000 and terms up to 7 years.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.89% p.a.
Finance a new or used car up to 5 years old. Large maximum borrowing amount up to $100,000 and terms up to 7 years.
NAB Personal Loan Unsecured Fixed
From
6.99%
(fixed)
7.91%
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 18.99% p.a. ( 7.91% p.a. to 19.83% p.a. comparison rate) based on your risk profile
Borrow from $5,000 to $55,000, with 1 to 7 year loan terms available. This loan comes with no fees for extra repayments and no early exit fees.
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 18.99% p.a. ( 7.91% p.a. to 19.83% p.a. comparison rate) based on your risk profile
Borrow from $5,000 to $55,000, with 1 to 7 year loan terms available. This loan comes with no fees for extra repayments and no early exit fees.
RACQ Bank Car Loan Special
5.49%
(fixed)
6.16%
You'll receive a fixed rate of 5.49% p.a.
Borrow up to $60,000 for a new or used car and get a range of membership benefits.
You'll receive a fixed rate of 5.49% p.a.
Borrow up to $60,000 for a new or used car and get a range of membership benefits.
OurMoneyMarket Car Loan
From
5.35%
(fixed)
5.65%
You'll receive a fixed interest rate from 5.35% p.a. to 14.99% p.a. based on your risk profile.
Borrow between $2,001 and $75,000 to finance a new or used car up to 10 years.
You'll receive a fixed interest rate from 5.35% p.a. to 14.99% p.a. based on your risk profile.
Borrow between $2,001 and $75,000 to finance a new or used car up to 10 years.
SocietyOne Car Loan
From
5.95%
(fixed)
5.95%
You'll receive a fixed rate between 5.95% p.a. and 17.49% p.a. based on your risk profile
A loan from $5,000 to use for a range of purposes. Benefit from no ongoing fees and no early repayment fee.
You'll receive a fixed rate between 5.95% p.a. and 17.49% p.a. based on your risk profile
A loan from $5,000 to use for a range of purposes. Benefit from no ongoing fees and no early repayment fee.
Driva Car Loan
From
2.85%
(fixed)
4.39%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 2.85% p.a.
Borrow up to $250,000 with loan terms from 1 to 7 years. Get access to a range of lenders.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 2.85% p.a.
Borrow up to $250,000 with loan terms from 1 to 7 years. Get access to a range of lenders.
NRMA Used Car Loan
From
6.24%
(fixed)
6.94%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 6.24% p.a.
Finance a used car with NRMA and benefit from a fixed rate term and no monthly fees. Pre-approval available within 5 business hours.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 6.24% p.a.
Finance a used car with NRMA and benefit from a fixed rate term and no monthly fees. Pre-approval available within 5 business hours.
Symple Loans Personal Loan
From
5.75%
(variable)
6.47%
You'll receive a personalised interest rate from 5.75% p.a. to 25.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Borrow up to $50,000 to pay for what you need.
You'll receive a personalised interest rate from 5.75% p.a. to 25.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Borrow up to $50,000 to pay for what you need.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Compare car insurance side-by-side and get quotes

Name Product Roadside Assistance Accidental Damage Storm Choice of Repairer Agreed or Market Value
Coles Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: With Coles comprehensive car insurance, you could earn double flybuys points at Coles supermarkets and you can get $10 off your Coles grocery bill every time you redeem 2,000 Flybuys points. Also, get up to $200 for damaged or stolen groceries.

⭐ Current offer: Get 10% off your first year's premium when you take out a policy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Coles customers and Flybuys collectors.
Australia Post Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Australia Post car insurance offers comprehensive cover for things like theft, fire, new for old replacement and emergency accommodation and transport. Cover also extends to anyone who uses your car, not just you.

⭐ Current offer: Get $75 online discount + $100 gift card when you purchase by 11 July 2021. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: If multiple people use the one car and you don’t want to worry about listing all drivers.
Virgin Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Finalists for the 2019 Finder Awards for Best Value Car Insurance, Virgin Comprehensive provides a good level of cover for a decent price.

⭐ Current offer: Get 15% off on your first year’s premium when you purchase a new eligible comprehensive car insurance online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: People who'd like to manage their policy online 24/7.
Budget Direct Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Awarded the 2019 Finder Award for the Best Value Car Insurance, this policy offers solid coverage at a low cost. Budget Direct's claims service has received a 4.2/5 based on nearly 5,000 customer reviews.

⭐ Current offer: Get 15% discount on first year's premium when you take out a policy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: People who want a comprehensive policy without breaking the bank.
Bingle Comprehensive
Market
Finder's summary:Bingle consistently comes up as one of the cheaper insurers out there. It only covers the basics. You don't get to choose your own repairer, you're not covered for personal items in the car and unless you add it as an option, you won't get a hire car if your car is stolen. But this keeps its premiums low.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a low-cost option that covers them for the basics.
Qantas Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: You'll be able to choose how comprehensive you want your cover to be with optional extras like choice of repairer and the option of agreed or market value.

⭐ Current offer: Earn Qantas Points for joining and paying your premium. Sign up today and earn up to 20,000 Qantas Points (points awarded will be based on your premium). T&Cs and eligibility apply.

Who it might be good for: People who'd like to earn Qantas Points.
Stella Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Stella’s a female-focused insurer. It'll cover you if your car is damaged as a result of domestic violence. It offers higher cover for baby gear than most, with up to $2,000 cover for prams, strollers and child seats.

⭐ Current offer: Get $50 cash back when you purchase online until 30 June 2021 using the code STELLA50. T&C apply.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a female-centred car insurance policy (it will cover men too).
Poncho Comprehensive
Agreed
Finder's summary: Poncho works like a monthly subscription – you pay monthly and can cancel and leave at any time. You can also list multiple cars and drivers under one policy, making it ideal for families and groups living together under one household.

Who it might be good for: People who want their car insurance month to month.
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