The automotive industry is currently undergoing a shift towards electrified powertrains, and there are two different approaches being taken by automakers. Some are developing electric vehicles (EVs) on dedicated platforms, which promise longer range and faster charging times. Others are modifying their existing combustion-powered platforms to accommodate batteries and motors. While some may view these modified vehicles as inferior to dedicated EVs, the 2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge T8 challenges this notion. Despite starting as a gas-powered vehicle, the XC40 Recharge has successfully transformed into a compelling EV.
The XC40 Recharge retains the same qualities that make the standard XC40 a favorite among premium sub-compact vehicles. However, it adds a significant increase in output and a decent electric range without significantly raising the price. In terms of aesthetics, it is almost impossible to distinguish the electric model from the gas-powered version, apart from the closed-off grille. Inside, the XC40 Recharge boasts the same digital instrument cluster, portrait-oriented touchscreen infotainment system, and high-quality materials that give it a tasteful Scandinavian aesthetic.
With 408 horsepower and 486 pound-feet of torque, the XC40 Recharge offers exhilarating acceleration. However, it remains quiet and refined during normal driving conditions. The electric model shares the same smooth, isolated ride and limited wind noise as its gas counterpart. While its electric range of 223 miles may not be as impressive compared to other EVs in the market, it is still suitable for most daily use. Additionally, the XC40 Recharge can be conveniently charged overnight using a 120-volt plug.
The XC40 Recharge provides a premium driving experience and attractive styling. It offers a practical and comfortable option, with ample passenger space in the second row and a usable cargo area. It even features a frunk (front trunk) for added convenience. However, it lacks the dynamic and connected feel of the Polestar 2, which offers a more aggressive driving experience. For those seeking a less aggressive daily driver with added practicality, the XC40 Recharge is the better option.
Overall, while the XC40 Recharge may not offer the same aerodynamic efficiency or ultra-rapid DC charging as dedicated EVs, it proves that a vehicle originally designed with a gas engine can still be transformed into a compelling EV. Volvo has successfully retained the XC40’s appealing qualities while adding the benefits of electrification. While it may not be the most cutting-edge EV in terms of range and charging capabilities, it offers a balance of performance, luxury, and practicality that will appeal to many buyers.