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The EV market is heating up, and consumers have many options among new EVs. One such option is the 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge electric crossover SUV. In fact, it’s one of the Swedish automaker’s first EVs. But unfortunately for Volvo, the Tesla Model Y is better in almost every way.

Car and Driver’s three weeks of testing for its 2021 EV of the Year award

A photo collage of a 2021 Tesla Model Y above a 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge electric crossover SUV
2021 Tesla Model Y and 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge | Zhe Ji/Getty Images and Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

It’s one thing for an automaker to say a car can do something; it’s another thing for that car to do those things in the real world. So Car and Driver tested 11 of the most popular EVs for three weeks to determine its 2021 EV of the Year. C/D’s testers put the EVs through the paces, including a 1,000-mile rally and a 75-mph highway fuel-economy test.

Car and Driver tested other aspects of the EVs, too, and then voted. Despite facing stiff competition from the Tesla Model 3, Audi e-tron, and Porsche Taycan 4S, among many other EVs, the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E won the day.

However, not every consumer wants a Mach-E, so there are plenty of other good options on the list, including the Tesla Model Y and Volvo XC40 Recharge. That said, it’s clear from C/D’s reviews that the Model Y is better than the XC40 Recharge.

Volvo XC40 Recharge and Tesla Model Y comparison

The Volvo XC40 Recharge is the all-electric version of the XC40, and it gets a significant performance boost, Car and Driver reported. Instead of making 248 hp, the Recharge produces 402 hp thanks to its two electric motors. This massive increase in power allows the Recharge to go from 0 to 60 mph in about 4.3 seconds. 

That said, the XC40 Recharge’s 75-kWh battery doesn’t provide much range. It can go 208 miles on a full charge, but C/D’s test drivers got only 180 miles during the 75-mph highway fuel economy test. Furthermore, the XC40 Recharge starts at a hefty $55,000. That price might justify the EV’s great safety rating and advanced interior features, but it doesn’t really justify this model compared to competitors.

According to Car and Driver, the Volvo XC40 Recharge is a good compact SUV, but it’s not a good EV. That’s in large part because of the Tesla Model Y, another compact electric SUV. C/D’s reviewer simply summed up the issue by saying the XC40 Recharge’s main problem is that the Model Y “costs less and goes farther.”

The Tesla Model Y is better where it matters


The 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge Came Last on This List of 2021 Electric Cars

With a base price tag of about $51,000, the Tesla Model Y costs about $4,000 less than the Volvo XC40 Recharge. To be fair to the XC40, the standard Model Y is a bit slower, reaching 60 mph in about 4.8 seconds. However, the standard Model Y, traveling 326 miles on a full charge, has a much better range than the XC40 Recharge.

Buyers can upgrade their Model Y by getting the Performance trim, pushing the price higher than the XC40 Recharge. The Model Y Performance starts at around $61,000, but this model is faster than the Volvo. The Model Y Performance can zip from 0 to 60 mph in about 3.6 seconds, yet it still has a nearly 300-mile range. So the XC40 Recharge can’t keep up with the Model Y no matter what.