As more EVs debut, many existing models have gotten the electric treatment. The Volvo XC40’s electric twin is the XC40 Recharge, freshly released as a 2021 model. The XC40 was already a premium compact SUV, earning a Consumer Reports recommendation and IIHS Top Safety Pick+ honors.
The Volvo XC40 Recharge looks like it’s also getting recognition. Among rivals like the Tesla Model 3 and Audi e-tron, the XC40 is one of the best electric cars of the year, according to Good Housekeeping. Still, the XC40 Recharge still has a quirk you might find weird at first.
The perks of the 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge
The XC40 Recharge swaps out the gas engine for two electric motors making 402 hp. It also comes with full-time all-wheel drive and 208 miles of range on a full charge. Several comparatively sized electric SUVs offer more range, including the Ford Mustang Mach-E, with a maximum of 305 miles.
But Volvo claims the XC40 Recharge doesn’t skimp on performance, with a 4.7-second 0-to-60-mph time. The Recharge impressed MotorTrend‘s test drivers with smooth passing power on the highway and a controlled ride overall. The one-pedal driving also feels satisfying, though testers said driving in “Normal” mode is more efficient.
It also has some exterior styling differences that set it apart from the gas-powered Volvo XC40. The Sage Green paint color and different wheel designs are reserved for the electric model. However, the interior remains unchanged, adorned with stylish accents and unique vertical air vents.
And like the gas-operated model, the Volvo XC40 Recharge can accommodate five riders in two spacious rows. Drivers get a lofty seating position, though the thick roof pillars can hinder visibility. The standard leather seats offer generous support, but the ones in the second row sit lower to the ground.
Good Housekeeping‘s favorite thing about the Volvo XC40 is its built-in Google assistance technology. Simply say, “Hey, Google,” and ask it to adjust climate or audio controls. You can also ask it to plan your driving route or download new apps from the Google Play store.
The XC40 Recharge’s drawbacks
First-time Volvo XC40 Recharge drivers might be caught off-guard looking for the vehicle’s stop/start button. To get going, all you have to do is climb in and shift into gear. Volvo opted to place a sensor in the driver’s seat instead of a button, possibly to make the interior more minimalist.
Also, Good Housekeeping wasn’t impressed with the XC40 Recharge’s limited cargo capacity, but the fault doesn’t lie with the added battery pack. Even the gas-powered XC40 provides only around 21 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 47 cubic feet overall.
Fortunately, both XC40 models come with plenty of useful interior storage pockets. And the XC40 Recharge comes with a frunk under the hood for carrying small items.
What makes this EV good enough to stand among the best electric cars of 2021?
Good Housekeeping says it picks winners primarily for their ride quality and efficiency. Next, it judges the overall comfort of the vehicle for riders of all heights. GH engineers even assess the ease of installing child seats and how well each rider can control the infotainment system.
Electric vehicles have a few extra standards to meet, including the battery’s overall range and charging speed. GH also compares the price of the EV to its gas-operated counterpart or the closest sibling.
Good Housekeeping also consults with the automotive experts at Car and Driver. The Volvo XC40 Recharge also wins C/D’s praise with an 8/10 score.