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2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge Review

Since its inception in 1927, Volvo has been known for its vehicle safety. But going forward, the company is making a stronger emphasis on making their vehicles not only safe and technologically advanced but also better for the environment.

This new goal of being a fully electric car company by 2030 can be achieved by starting with vehicles like the all-electric 2021 XC40 Recharge.

Design

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

From the outside, the XC40 Recharge doesn’t look all that different from its gas counterpart. It still has a rounded boxy design that still looks great.

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

There are a few exterior design elements that indicate that this is the fully electric XC40 Recharge. The front grille has been updated and under the hood, you’ll find some extra cargo space with the front trunk.

There’s also a Recharge badge on either side of the vehicle and a charging port instead of a gas tank.

The vehicle offers 402 horsepower with zero tailpipe emission and an all-wheel-drive powertrain with 486 lb. ft. of linear torque. The XC40 Recharge has a 78 kWh battery with support for up to 150 kW DC fast charging (you can get up to 80% charge in 40 mins) and up to 335 km of range.

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

One cool feature is that there’s no push-button start, just get in in the vehicle and then press the brake and just shift into Drive or Reverse and start going. Then once you get to your destination, just park and get out and the vehicle will automatically shut off.

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

During my week-long test of the XC40 Recharge, I wasn’t able to charge the vehicle at home because I don’t have a home electric car charger. I tried to use the 110V charging cable that came with the vehicle, which normally would charge the vehicle somewhat overnight but didn’t in my case.

Volvo told me that the XC40 Recharge should be charged on a 220V outlet or a Level 2 home charger. I did however charge the vehicle using one of Petro-Canada’s electric vehicle chargers which support DC fast charging.

It costs around $0.33 per minute of charging and I was able to get from 52% to 85% in around 35 mins and cost me $11.55 CAD in total.

While the XC40 Recharge can fit five people, it can feel a bit cramped and better suited for four people total, two in the back and two in the front.

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

Just like the gas model, the XC40 Recharge has two displays, one 12.3-inch Driver Display which is the Digital Instrumental Cluster and the other is the 9-inch touch infotainment display.

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

Below the centre screen and media controls, you’ll find a 12V socket, USB-C port and wireless charging pad. While the overall interior quality was great, I wasn’t a fan of some features like having this weird touch-sensitive control for the sunroof.

Like the gas-powered XC40, the Recharge has a number of tech features like Volvo’s Pilot Assist, which is their name for adaptive cruise control.

The XC40 Recharge starts at $64,950 CAD, which is $25,000 CAD more than the gas-powered XC40.

The XC40 P8 AWD Recharge came with the following features as standard:

  • Battery Electric Vehicle with 78 kWh Lithium-ion Battery
  • 2-Zone Climate Control
  • Panoramic Sunroof
  • Tinted Windows, rear side doors and cargo area
  • Clean Zone • BLIS – Blind Spot Information System with cross-traffic alert
  • Key Fob Remote Control
  • Keyless Entry l HomeLink™
  • Power Child Lock Rear Doors
  • Tempered Glass, Side and Rear
  • 12.3″ Driver Display
  • Power Driver & Passenger Seat w/ Driver Memory
  • Mechanical Cushion Extension, Front Seats • Heated Front Seats l 4 Way Lumbar Support • Mechanical release/fold 2nd row rear seat
  • Power foldable rear headrests from centre stack display
  • Cutting Edge Inlays • Illuminated Vanity Mirrors in Sunvisor
  • Leather steering wheel, Sport • R-Design Pedal
  • Automatic Dimming Inner and Exterior Mirrors
  • High-Level Interior Illumination
  • Front tread plates, metal “Recharge”
  • C-Pillar Recharge Moulding
  • Glovebox Curry Hook
  • Roof Mounted Clothes Hook
  • Wastebin
  • Repair Kit + Jack
  • Power Operated Tailgate
  • BEV grill, colour coordinated/covered mesh
  • Roof Rails
  • LED Headlights with Active Bending Lights
  • LED Front Fog Lights with Cornering • Cruise control
  • Retractable Rear-View Mirrors
  • Collision Mitigation Support, Front & Rear
  • Lane Keeping Aid • Park Assist Camera
  • Park Assist Front and Rear • Electric Drive Train, 1 speed
  • High-Performance Sound
  • 9” Touch Screen Centre Display
  • 2 USB Connections Type-C
  • *Wireless device mirroring, CarPlay & Android Auto
  • Bluetooth Connection
  • 5 Volt Outlet (2 USB Type-C), in rear/lower tunnel consol
  • Road Sign Information (RSI) • Volvo On Call w/ 4 Year Subscription (*Select Features)
  • Google Automotive Services w/ Google Maps, Google Assistant & Google Play Store (w/ 4 Year Subscription)
  • *Sirius Satellite Radio w/ 3 Month Trial
  • Dynamic Chassis l Speed limit 180 km/h
  • 19” 5-Spoke Matt Graphite Diamond-cut Alloy wheel (235/50R19 Front) & (255/45R19 Rear)

The XC40 Recharge press vehicle I tested came with the following packages and additional features:

Climate Package – $1,000 CAD

  • Heated Windscreen Washers
  • Heated Rear Seats
  • Heated Steering Wheel

Advanced Package – $2,100 CAD

  • Headlamp Cleaners
  • Intellisafe Pilot Assist
  • 360 Camera
  • 12V Outlet in Luggage Area
  • Wireless Smartphone Charger

Stand Alone Options

  • Metallic Paint – $900 CAD
  • Harman Kardon Premium Sound System – $1,250 CAD
  • 20” 5-V Spoke Matt Graphite Diamond-Cut Alloy Wheels – $1,000 CAD

This brings the price as tested to $71,200 CAD.

Software & Connectivity

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

On the software side of things, the XC40 Recharge’s infotainment screens are being powered by Android Automotive instead of Volvo Sensus. This is the same system that is used on Polestar 2.

While the underlying OS is Android-based, it still looks like Volvo’s previous Sensus infotainment system. It’s akin to Samsung’s One UI skin on top of Android, it’s still Android but Samsung made it their own.

With Android Automotive, you get access to Google Maps, Google Assistant for voice control and the Google Play Store. If you sign in to your existing Google account, you’ll then have access to your saved places, contacts and calendars.

Google Maps in Android Automotive is just like how it would be on your smartphone but just on a bigger screen. One nice feature is that when searching for places, the Google Maps search results will show you what your estimated vehicle battery life will be in addition to ETA.

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

For the Play Store, you have a limited selection of apps. Almost all the apps you can download to your vehicle are audio apps like Spotify, Pocket Casts, TuneIn etc. So if you were looking for YouTube, Netflix or other apps to use while you’re charging your XC40, you’re out of luck.

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

The Google Assistant works just like on your phone, just press the voice control button on the right side of the steering wheel or via “Hey, Google” and ask your questions. You can ask basic stuff like “What’s the weather” or “find me a charger” and it’ll either tell you the result or show you on Google Maps.

The main infotainment screen, it’s split into four sections, Maps, Audio Sources (i.e Bluetooth, AUX, AM/FM etc), Phone and Car Status. Swiping to the right gets you to the apps screen so you access the Play Store, downloaded apps and more.

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

Swiping to the left gets you more vehicle controls and settings. Swiping down from the top brings up the notifications from apps installed on the vehicle or from your phone.

Final Thoughts

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

Overall, the XC40 Recharge is a good vehicle and the new Android Automotive system works well. However, the all-electric XC40 does come at a price that’s almost double the gas version.

Pros

  • Volvo’s Android Automotive-based Sensus infotainment system is smooth and responsive
  • Pilot Assist works well
  • Great suite of safety features
  • Fast DC charging support

Cons

  • Shorter range compared to other EVs (335 KM)
  • A limited number of apps available for Android Automotive (i.e no video apps to use while parked and charging)
  • More expensive than the gas XC40

By Sachin Bahal

Sachin is a talented and versatile writer with a passion for technology and loves to write about gaming, entertainment, tech and more. He started TheCanadianTechie back in 2012 to become the ultimate, independent source for tech enthusiasts or “techies”.

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