2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge First Drive: Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing

  • Apr 6, 2022
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Volvo’s first electric is doing more than just providing more responsible transportation


In a world where excess is the norm, Volvo has repeatedly opted for needs over wants, choosing a path of moderation. Changing times have taken the brand far beyond its safety-centric identity; this  level-headedness gives Volvos the aura of responsible luxury. Why else would you make door pads from ocean waste? Why else would you cap your vehicles to 180kmph voluntarily? Why would you limit your engine options to 2 litres only!?  Why would you choose your smallest offering to kick off your biggest offensive,  to be an all-electric automaker by 2030? But, the 200kms we spent with the XC40 Recharge, the first all-electric Volvo, suggested a slight twist in the tale. 


It still looks like a Volvo!

Obviously, Volvo doesn't do dramatic, be it entrances or departures. So, except for the closed-off grille on the Recharge it looks just like the XC40. So, on the whole, the Recharge looks every bit as handsome, square and confident as the XC40 does. Even the charging port is placed discretely where the fuel filler would be. Sharp-eyed readers would have noted that we are driving the early 2022 Recharge, but Volvo has confirmed that Indian customers will get the latest iteration of the Recharge that features a frameless grille, new pixel LED headlamps, and tweaked bumpers with new fog lamps.   



XC40 Recharge





Width (w/mirrors)

1863mm (2034mm)

1863mm (2034mm)







Ground clearance



Kerb Weight


1580 kg - 1812 kg


The Recharge’s dimensions are a bit different from the XC40, with the length being 15mm more. Aside from this the Recharge also sports wider 255 section tyres at the rear, while the fronts are 235 section. The Recharge also packs 19” rims instead of the 18-inchers seen on the XC40.  All good? Yes, except for the ground clearance, which has dropped to 175mm from 196mm. The underslung batteries have eaten up ground clearance and also pushed kerb weight by about 400-500kgs, depending on which variant you compare it with. On the upside the boot space is unchanged, although the space saver in the India-spec car eats into the luggage area while the frunk gives you some additional space to stow the charging cable. 


Drives like a Volvo? 

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Sensible, right? It can and does drive in a responsible if willing manner. For context, the most powerful petrol-powered XC40 has 250PS and 350Nm, or 260PS and 265Nm when clubbed with hybrid tech. As for the Indian market, the XC40 offers 190PS from its two-litre petrol motor. Also, unlike the more powerful variants, this is only a front-wheel drive. So, where would you have expected Volvo to start its EV innings? At the top? Bottom? Or somewhere in the middle? 



XC40 Recharge

XC40 T4 (India)

XC40 B5 AWD (Global)













Top Speed













As it turns out the Recharge is taking things into a different ballpark altogether. This Volvo is packing 408PS and 660Nm. That’s 204PS for each motor, front and rear. So, if you get irreverent with the throttle, the Recharge responds with gusto that would shame its ICE siblings! The top speed is still locked at 180kmph, but the manner in which the Recharge wants to get there is just another story altogether. This Volvo leaps off, slams you, tears through and does it all with ludicrous ease and effortlessness. It’s a hooligan! Rather, it can be, when you so desire. And, you will desire to do so to overtake, or just to drill the advantage that the green-plate wearing machines boast. For the record, the Recharge does 0-100kmph in 4.9s. 


Can we focus on the sensible side of things?

Sure we can. As an EV lets focus on the obvious thing first, the range. With 418kms (WLTP test cycle) of claimed range this Volvo isn’t going to grab headlines, but it will prove to be plenty for everyday use. The 200kms we spent with the Recharge saw battery percentage drop from 96% to 24%. However, this included lots of hard driving that included numerous acceleration runs for the camera. Our drive was also predominantly on the highway. However, the stats provided by the computer suggest a real word range of 350kms in the city. 


XC40 Recharge

Battery Capacity

78kWh/75kWh Nominal

Charge time 0-80

40 mins but with 150kW FC. India is 50kW

Charge time

8-10 hours with 11kW AC fast charger


While the 78kWh of batteries enable the Recharge to go the distance, there’s the single-pedal driving mode that helps stretch things further. While finding the switch for this mode was tiring, using the mode made driving in stop-go traffic easier. At first the single pedal mode took some getting used to as lifting off the accelerator as you normally would results in hard braking. But, as you spend time with it, you learn that depending on how much you roll off the accelerator you could coast, you could brake lightly or brake hard even! Once your right foot is in tune with how the system works, switching back to the standard mode shows you just how much more work there is. Importantly, the single pedal cuts down on response time in case of emergency braking. 


It's still luxurious, right?

The Recharge feels very plush to drive, much like any other XC40. The additional weight feels largely invisible. It is only over bumps or broken sections that you feel it’s a bit bumpy. Other than that the cabin is the thoughtful and welcoming space you would expect. The seats are perfectly designed and cushioned and the rear bench is spacious too.  Aside from this the new Recharge gets leather-free interiors too. 

The sound system on the XC40 is immersive too, but not quite at the same level as the bigger XC90. The biggest grouse for us is that the main screen menus are quite tiresome to use on the go. The updated Recharge will come with  wireless Apple CarPlay, which should smooth this issue slightly. Also, the digital instrument cluster provides disappointingly little information in the two layouts on offer. There’s nothing amiss when it comes to safety equipment though. The Recharge offers lane keep assist, collision mitigation system, adaptive cruise control and seven airbags.


So, same Volvo, but different?

Yes. The Recharge has twice the power and twice the number of driven wheels compared to the XC40 T5 that has been on sale in India. The XC40 Recharge goes on sale in July 2022 and we expect it to be priced around Rs 65 lakh, with deliveries beginning in October. 

The Recharge offers luxury seekers all the usual conveniences and comforts expected of a Volvo, underpinned by an effortlessness in performance that makes it enjoyable and enviable. It provides much more excitement and bragging rights than any other Volvo on sale today and, dare we say it, this side of 1 crore rRupees? Will it be a handler and thrill apex hunters, we intend to find out when we get our hands on it for a longer test later. However, the Recharge isn’t just the usual sensible Volvo, it’s also an irrepressibly enjoyable Volvo.  


Volvo XC40 Recharge Video Review

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