The 2023 Volvo XC40 Recharge starts at $54,645 in the United States and at $62,570 in Canada, freight and delivery charges included.
Good performance, decently sized cargo area, attractive design inside and out.
Driving range could be better, uninteresting base trim, no Android Auto.
The Swedish brand is promising a fully electric portfolio by 2030, and the transition is already under way with two EVs available now, including the 2023 Volvo XC40 Recharge.
Since the 2018 model year, this subcompact crossover has been offered on the North American market with combustion engines, and with a fully electric powertrain since 2021. The other EV in lineup is the Volvo C40 Recharge introduced for the 2022 model year, adopting the XC40 Recharge’s architecture, but sporting a different body with a sloping roofline to give it a coupe-like profile.
The 2023 Volvo XC40 Recharge is equipped with two electric motors that produce a combined 402 horsepower and 486 pound-feet of torque, creating an all-wheel drivetrain to confront the rough Canadian and northern U.S. winters. The little crossover can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds and to 100 km/h in 4.8, according to the manufacturer, and reaches a top speed of 112 mph or 180 km/h. That’s an electronically limited velocity, as is the case on all Volvo vehicles as a road safety feature.
The 78 kWh battery pack provides a driving range rated at 223 miles or 359 km on a full charge, while the max speed while plugged into a fast charger is 150 kW. On a 240-volt outlet, charge time is about eight hours.
Obviously, avec all that power under our right foot, the 2023 Volvo XC40 Recharge’s performance is quite interesting. In comparison, the Audi Q4 e-tron produces 295 horsepower, the Lexus RZ 450e has 308 hp, the Mercedes-Benz EQB 350 has 288 horsepower and the Polestar 2, 421 or 455 hp according to the chosen configuration. The Tesla Model Y has no published output figures, but its performance is in line with the Volvo’s. Towing capacity is 2,000 pounds or 907 kg.
As for energy consumption, the XC40 Recharge gets city/highway/combined ratings of 36.7/42.8/39.4 kwh/100 miles or 22.8/26.6/24.5 kWh/100 km. Or, if you prefer, fuel economy equivalent ratings of 92/79/85 mpge or 2.6/3.0/2.8 Le/100 km. During our springtime test, we recorded an average of 34.0 kWh/100 miles or 21.1 kWh/100 km, better than the official ratings. However, all of its rivals are more energy efficient, with combined averages ranging from 27.5 to 36.4 kWh/100 miles or 17.1 to 22.6 kWh/100 km. The XC40 Recharge may roll emissions free, but it’s not the most energy sipping EV in its segment. During our stop at a 180 kWh quick charge station, the fastest charge speed we observed was 91 kW, but as is the case with pretty much all EVs, that speed varies according to the outside temperature, battery temperature, battery charge level, the vehicle’s mood of the moment, and other factors. Also of note, the charge cable that comes with the vehicle, which can plug into 120 and 240 volt outlets, is bulky, stiff and difficult to manipulate.
The 2023 Volvo XC40 Recharge’s cabin serves up a minimalist yet tasteful design. Fit and finish is good, and in the evening, the dashboard is backlit for a modern touch. We’re not too impressed with the plastic cap inserted where an engine start button should be, as Volvo EVs don’t have start buttons—you just slap it in drive and go. The seats are deeply sculpted and supportive for long drives and there are enough storage points for beverages and emptying our pockets along the way.
The infotainment system screen is positioned vertically or portrait-style, while the navigation system exploits very detailed Google maps, and estimates our remaining range after we punch in a destination. The system is relatively easy to use, once we get accommodated with the menu layout. On the other hand, the on-screen climate controls are too small, bunched together on the lower edge of the display, and setting the temperature or turning off the heated seats is a multi-step process that’s distracting while driving. Apple CarPlay is accounted for, but not Android Auto.
Despite its small footprint, the roofline is rather high, allowing rear-seat occupants to sit comfortably—as long as they’re two and not three across. The cargo area has a volume of 21.7 cubic feet or 614 litres (by SAE standards), which isn’t bad for a subcompact crossover, and can swell to 57.5 cubic feet or 1,628 litres. Under the hood, we find a 0.74-cubic-foot or 21-litre storage compartment big enough to hold a couple of washer fluid bottles.
The 2023 Volvo XC40 Recharge starts at $54,645 in the United States and at $62,570 in Canada, freight and delivery charges included, but before applicable electrified vehicle rebates or tax credits. The base Core trim includes blind-spot monitoring, dual-zone climate control, a 12.0-inch digital driver instrument cluster, a 9.0-inch infotainment system touchscreen, wireless phone charging, a power liftgate, 19-inch alloy wheels, but no heat pump to maximize efficiency for the winter months.
The $57,345 USD or $70,620 CAD Plus trim level adds the aforementioned pump (Canada only), but also a panoramic sunroof, a 360-degree camera system, peripheral park sonar and a power front passenger seat. The Ultimate trim retailing from $60,595 USD or $74,870 benefits from the heat pump (USA), a heated steering wheel, heated washer fluid nozzles, adaptive cruise control, a Harman/Kardon premium sound system, 20-inch wheels, heated rear seats and very handy electric rear-door child safety locks that can be locked or unlocked with a button on the driver’s door.
By stepping up to the Plus or Ultimate trims, we’re smack in the price range of its comparably-equipped Audi, Lexus and Tesla rivals. The Mercedes-Benz ends up being costlier once we start piling on options, while the Polestar 2 is a few thousand dollars less expensive.
Which raises a question, as the Volvo and the Polestar are both part of Chinese conglomerate Geely, if the Polestar 2 would actually be a better choice than the XC40 Recharge. We like the Polestar’s design and performance, but its rear seats are much less accommodating and its cockpit soundproofing doesn’t seem as good as the Volvo’s.
As for the rest of the competition, it all depends on buyers’ personal preferences, as the 2023 Volvo XC40 Recharge has no major shortcomings, aside from a shorter driving range than the Tesla’s. A range that will actually be improved for the 2024 model year as it increases from 223 to 254 miles or 359 to 409 km in the XC40 Recharge with AWD.