Volvo XC40 T5

Plug-In Hybrid

Volvo XC40, 2022, front
Volvo XC40, 2022, side
Volvo XC40, 2022, rear
Volvo XC40, 2022, interior
Volvo XC40, 2022, boot

UNLESS you're a fully paid up member of the geek club, trying to unravel the plus and minuses of whether to buy an electric car are a minefield.

For a start, you face choosing between a pure electric, a self charging hybrid, or a plug-in hybrid. Do you beef-up and go the whole hog and go fully green or play safe and plump for a hybrid?

Well, although currently full electric is accounting for about one in six new cars, it's the hybrid that's attracting still more attention. Among the cream of the crop is the Volvo XC40 Recharge, plug-in crossover that allows up to 28 miles electric only range.

From a tax point of view things look good thanks to emissions of between 47 and 57 g/km. Economy is officially given at a hopelessly unrealistic 112-134mpg. But real life fuel use is still good news at a miserly 60mpg-plus.

Chunkily styled with boxy but engaging lines, the XC40 manages to stand out from the crowd and yet remains roomy and practical. There's ample legroom front and back aided by the fact that passengers sit fairly upright, and the boot is a decent size with a compartment below for the necessary plug-in leads.

Power comes from a three-cylinder, 1.5-litre engine alongside a 10.7kWh battery together pushing out 262bhp. It's linked to a seven speed automatic gearbox. Unlike some of its Volvo brethren, this model is front drive rather all wheel drive.

With ample urge, it's not surprising acceleration is brisk with 62mph coming up in 7.3 seconds. Like most electric assisted engines, throttle response is quick and the XC40 proves nimble and reasonably athletic compared to most crossovers. Top speed is limited to 112mph, as it now is with all models in Volvo's range.

Despite being a baby SUV by Volvo standards, at 1,714kg it's pretty weighty but it feels pleasantly nimble though sturdy enough.

There's little mechanical or wind noise, although the low profile tyres result in a fair degree of road rumble. Ride is compliant enough with nicely contained roll angles during keen cornering. It would probably be even more comfortable if shod with higher profile rubber.

Overall, it's a classy driving experience with a degree of sportiness which does little to dent the car's general practicality.

It scores highly when it comes to cabin design. Every bit as quality led as its German rivals, and Scandi-cool with minimalist styling. Most controls are on the central touchscreen which can be awkward when travelling on poorly surfaced roads. The screen can be swiped to access different menus as you would with an iPad.

Every XC40 comes with voice activated screen, sat nav, LED headlights, climate control and rear parking sensors. The car driven here also had metallic paint (£585), panoramic sliding glass sunroof (£1,000) and smart phone integration (£300).

FAST FACTS

Volvo XC40 T5 Plug-In Hybrid

Price: £43,145

Mechanical: 1.5-litre, 3 cyl petrol electric hybrid, 262bhp driving front wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 112mph

0-62mph: 7.3sec

Combined MPG: 112-134

Insurance Group: 41

C02 emissions: 47-57g/km

Bik rating: 16%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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