Volvo XC40 Recharge single motor review: Easy Going

Volvo XC40 Recharge exterior

What you see here is the new entry point to Volvo’s India range. This is the all-electric XC40 Recharge Single Motor and as the name spells out, it drops the price by dropping a motor. The Single Motor model features only a rear axle-mounted motor versus the Twin Motor, which has a motor at each axle. It’s got a smaller battery too and makes do with fewer features as well. For all the paring down, you’d expect it to be a whole lot more affordable than the Twin Motor, right? Well, your savings are only to the tune of Rs 3 lakh. Volvo sales executives would need to be at their A-game to steer a potential buyer from a Twin Motor to this Single Motor. But let’s judge the SUV for what it is.

Volvo XC40 Recharge single motor: powertrain and drive experience

Peak power and torque stand at 238hp and 420Nm, which is a reasonable figure for this class of EV. Performance is friendly with easy responses to the accelerator pedal. Mashing your foot down will give you a nice burst of acceleration, but it’s not as severe or long-lasting as what you get on the 408hp and 670Nm Twin Motor. Incidentally, it’s this very character that Volvo believes will resonate with buyers who want their EV to be brisk and unintimidating, and not necessarily sportscar quick and thrilling. The Single Motor is a pleasant drive and frankly gives you all the power that you could use safely (and legally) on a public road. Yes, the Twin Motor does the 0-100kph dash in 4.8 seconds, but for perspective, the Single Motor’s 7.3 second 0-100kph time makes it quicker still than like-sized petrol/diesel entry luxury SUVs.

There’s no power button. Engaging D or R does the job.

Other takeaways from the driving experience include the feel of being in a solid and tough SUV, but there’s a firmness to the suspension setup that you can’t escape. You’ll also note the rear end hop over the odd speed breaker taken at speed. The XC40 Recharge is an easy SUV to steer and the option to increase steering weight (via the touchscreen) is something you’d be inclined to use at higher speeds or on a curvy road. The other setting of interest buried in the touchscreen is for regen braking. The 2024 model year XC40 Recharges add in an auto mode that modulates brake force based on the distance to the vehicle ahead determined by the ADAS system, and it works really well even on our chaotic roads. As before, there’s a one-pedal driving function too (regen kicks in as you lift-off the accelerator) that can bring the vehicle to a standstill. However, the strong engine braking-like effect is best used in slow-speed urban settings alone. Of the other settings is an off-road mode that lightens steering weight and engages hill descent control.

Auto mode for regen braking is new; works really well.

The Single Motor draws power from a 69kWh battery pack that enables a WLTP range of 475km. Expect a real-world figure of about 350-380km. The Twin Motor with a 78kWh battery boasts a 505km WLTP range. Charging options include DC charging up to 150kW, though AC home charging will be the go-to option for most buyers.

Volvo XC40 Recharge single motor: interior

Outside and inside, the Single Motor doesn’t come across as a ‘lesser’ XC40 Recharge. The cabin is a nice place to be (even if it’s not cutting edge anymore) and there’s a feeling of security that stays with you. Quality is good, the front seats are comfy and the rear seat is roomy enough for two, albeit a tad upright at the backrest. What’s a pity is that you’ll need to ditch the spare tyre positioned on the floor to fit big suitcases. And while there’s no front motor, frunk capacity remains unchanged at 31 litres. 

Volvo XC40 Recharge single motor: features

Single motor misses out on some features, but includes ADAS tech.

The Single Motor does miss out on some features though. Multi-way adjustable Pixel LED headlights make way for simpler LEDs, there’s no 360-degree camera and the Harman Kardon sound system has been dropped too. Even so, there’s quite a bit packed in with dual-zone climate control with an air purifier, digital dials, a 9-inch touchscreen, wireless phone charger, panoramic sunroof and a powered tailgate. Safety kit includes seven airbags, ESC and a full suite of ADAS functions, including emergency braking and lane keep assist.

Volvo XC40 Recharge single motor: verdict

By marrying all that we like about EVs and all that we like about Volvos, the XC40 Recharge Single Motor makes for a very likeable product. Were it the only XC40 Recharge on sale, it’d be an easy model to recommend. Trouble is, the Single Motor’s case falls apart when you compare it to the XC40 Recharge Twin Motor, which costs just a bit more in relative terms but is in a different league in terms of power, performance and equipment. So while on its own the Single Motor would be just fine, up against the Twin Motor, it’s the latter you’ll really want.

Also see:

Volvo XC40 Recharge video review

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