By Mike Torpey on 2022-07-18 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Volvo blasts ahead
on electric avenue
AN electric ownership experience completely free of stress, sacrifice or compromise.
That's still a combination that can't be guaranteed, even as more drivers switch on to zero emissions motoring.
But not only has Scandinavian brand Volvo managed it with the new XC40 Recharge Pure Electric but the Swedish company has done so with comfort, safety, practicality and quite scintillating performance.
And to make things easier for customers, Volvo has not only made the compact SUV available to buy online but also via a subscription service.
As for range, the XC40 can travel up to 259 miles on a single charge, depending on which model you opt for.
Three new versions have just hit the streets, starting with the XC40 Recharge Twin at £49,950 and followed by Twin Plus versions at £52,950 and the Twin Pro at £56,700.
They all come with a premium price tag, though Volvo expects 95 per cent of retail customers to take advantage of the Care by Volvo subscription packages which provide a Fixed or Flexible alternative to traditional car ownership.
It's a car simply oozing class and distinction though, as demonstrated by the range-topping Twin Pro we drove at the revamped Volvo range media launch in Worcestershire.
This is a compact family car with quite astounding power and pace - a hefty 408bhp of punch on tap enabling the Volvo to blast from standstill to 62mph in 4.9 seconds. There are also two levels of brake regeneration.
The car is well planted on the road too thanks to its twin motor all-wheel drive set-up and, based on the charge level percentages, we were on well course to match the claimed driving range for this model of 256 miles.
The XC40 can be charged from zero to 80 per cent capacity in 40 minutes using a 150kW fast charger, otherwise a full hit using the 11kW onboard charger will take eight hours.
Meanwhile, the battery's design and packaging means no cabin space is lost. In fact there's actually more load volume than regular XC40s courtesy of an extra 31 litres of storage space below the bonnet.
While refinement on this car is of the high standard you would expect from Volvo, every XC40 pure electric comes comprehensively specced up and includes the company's new Android-based infotainment system with four years of data.
Operated using a nine-inch central touchscreen, it provides Google Maps with worldwide coverage, voice control, access to apps and smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay.
Other standard kit includes automatic LED headlights with Active High Beam, dual-zone climate control, wireless phone charging, a 12.3-inch driver's info display, powered tailgate, rear parking sensors and 19-inch alloy wheels.
And our tested range-topper brought extra cabin comfort with power-adjustable and heated front seats, adaptive cruise control, a panoramic sunroof, 12-speaker Harman Kardon 600W sound system, 20-inch alloys and a 360-degree parking camera.
There's also leather/nubuck upholstery, although Volvo has pledged that all its fully electric models will soon be completely leather-free as the company takes an ethical stand for animal welfare.
Using the Care by Volvo Fixed subscription the XC40 Recharge is available from £619 a month on a three-year term, while the Flexible option costs from £769 a month with a three-month rolling contract and initial 30-day trial period.
The monthly sub also includes scheduled servicing, wear and tear maintenance, vehicle tax, replacement tyres and roadside assistance, while insurance can also be factored in.
Volvo is also anticipating strong interest from business customers who will enjoy a two per cent benefit-in-kind rating for company car tax, meaning a higher rate taxpayer would fork out some £33 a month.
DESPITE a challenging marketplace, Volvo increased its UK car sales by four per...
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