Review – Plug-in five-door SUV the Volvo XC40 is breathtaking but so

For an electric car packed with performance, this ticks all the boxes.

The Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric P8 has a range of 249 to 260 miles and the performance is a stunning 0-62mph in 4.9sec – which makes it one of the swiftest Volvos ever.

But perhaps when it comes to price, the Swedish firm may be re-charging a bit too much.

Volvo’s original XC40, launched in 2018, has already made its mark, sitting below the XC60 and XC90 in the company’s line up of crossovers and SUVs.

I liked it more than I do any other premium SUV – for its style both inside and out and for the way it drives.

Now it’s gone all electric in Volvo’s new Recharge sub-brand – which covers all electrified models apart from its iconic Polestar cars.

But this P8 uses exactly the same electric hardware as the Polestar 2 which means a 78kWh battery and a pair of 201bhp electric motors, one on each axle.

This P8 uses exactly the same electric hardware as the Polestar 2

There’s the stunning 0-62mph performance, and the top speed, as on all Volvos, is limited to 112mph. But though the acceleration is breathtaking, sadly so is the price.

The cost of our test car in First Edition trim comes as an electric shock – a staggering £59,985.

We always quote on-the-road prices with the Government’s plug-in grant deducted, but since this car costs more than £50k it doesn’t qualify.

The First Edition is top of the range and does come with every conceivable extra, but the standard P8’s £53,155 seems more like it.

Better still, soon this model will be joined by a single-motor variant that will cost under 50 grand.

The Android-based infotainment system it’s developed with Google is simple

Ignore the price, and there’s everything to like about the XC40 P8. Visually it’s almost identical to the petrol and hybrid models apart from a blanked-off radiator opening that is painted in the body colour.

Despite being faster than it needs to be, it is also extremely comfortable and almost graceful.

The P8 weighs in at 2,188kg which is around 500kg heavier than the internal combustion-engined versions. That’s what you get for a big range and therefore lots of battery cells.

The ride is smooth and only the odd pothole or ridge sends shocks via the 20 inch wheels to the cabin.

Inside, the XC40 is all as expected. Keyless entry is standard but what’s novel is the lack of a starter button.

A sensor in the seat detects that the driver is present and it’s just a matter of selecting D and off you go. It’s simple and welcome.

A highlight is the voice-activated Google Assistant

And so is Volvo’s first use of the Android-based infotainment system it’s developed with Google.

A highlight is the voice-activated Google Assistant that works better then any car maker’s assistant that I’ve ever experienced.

Asking it to tell me how old Elvis Presley was when he died resulted in an accurate reply that included his date of death.

Whereas a recent request to call my wife’s mobile number (in a BMW) was answered by directions to my nearest dealer.

There’s been little compromise in the car’s packaging

The XC40 was designed from the outset to be one day available as a pure electric vehicle – so there’s been little compromise in the car’s packaging.

The luggage area has dropped down to 413 litres from 460, but you do get a small 31 litre boot at the front of the car. That, however, will usually be partly occupied by charging cables.

On the subject of charging, if you can find a 150kw DC fast charger it’ll bring the P8’s battery up to 80% in 40 minutes.

Car Reviews

This Volvo is one of the finest electric cars on the market but in this spec it’s simply too expensive, unless you really do want all that performance.

I suspect that the less powerful models which will be sold at a more reasonable price will be extremely popular.

And that my favourite SUV will soon become my favourite all-electric SUV.

THE FACTS

Volvo XC40 P8 First Edition five-door SUV

Price: £59,985

Engine: Two electric motors, 78 kWh battery, 402bhp

0-62 mph: 4.9 sec

Range: 249-260 miles

THE RIVALS

BMW iX3

The BMW iX3 is £tba

BMW’s first pure electric SUV due here early next summer will be a direct rival.

Jaguar I-Pace S EV400

The Jaguar I-PACE is a cool £65,195

Jag’s ground-up design EV. Looks different, drives different.

Mercedes-Benz EQC

The Mercedes-Benz EQC is £65,720

Merc took an existing SUV and electrified it. Result is a super-refined vehicle.

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