VOLVO’S fast become one of my favourite manufacturers thanks to their cars’ unrivalled quality, safety and ultra-modern design.
With a sea change in the air - which will see all new petrol and diesel-powered vehicles banned in just nine years’ time - Volvo’s first all-electric attempt away from its Polestar spin-off is absolutely brilliant.
It’s called the XC40 Recharge P8, which is based on the wonderful family-friendly SUV, and manages to retain every bit of its combustion-engined stablemates’ best parts, albeit with the added bonuses of a crazy turn of pace and electric range.
With its Polestar arm catering for a different market, Volvo’s Recharge brand is one that will house all of its fully electric cars which, according to the Swedish firm’s bosses, will account for half its sales by 2025.
A bold claim, no doubt, but given Volvo’s track record of producing top-drawer cars crammed with technology that’s necessary and not annoying, who would dare question it?
The P8 is powered by a 78kWh lithium ion battery pack mounted under the floor, feeding two electric motors, with one on each axle to provide four-wheel-drive.
The headlines? A smidge over 400bhp, torque very near the eye-opening 500lb ft barrier, 60mph in under five seconds and a comfortable 250-mile range.
However, the crux of every EV is the ability to charge, and charge in a time that’s convenient to its owner. You’ll get an 80 per cent top-up in about 40 minutes on a rapid charger, but you’ll be left dismayed - as with every electric car - if you’re using a standard three-prong household socket as you’ll be waiting a working day to secure anything worthwhile.
Looks-wise, it’s typically XC40 - no bad thing at all - but it’s different enough to set it apart thanks to its smoother front end. The interior is standard Volvo fare: quality, modern, it has a fantastic infotainment system and it’s every bit as spacious as a petrol, diesel or hybrid version.
Its turn of pace takes time to comprehend, though, as it’s instant and absolutely addictive. You stamp on its throttle and it piles on the numbers in a very non-Volvo-like manner, but do that and your range will inevitably plummet.
For about £50,000 the XC40 Recharge is well worth the outlay. It has a good range, it’s ridiculously fast, but it retains every feature that made the ‘normal’ XC40 a first class family car.