Pros and Cons: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge - better performance, but poorer comfort

Arif · May 16, 2021 09:27 AM

Pros and Cons: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge - better performance, but poorer comfort 01

If you’ve ever thought of switching to a plug-in hybrid, the 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge might just be right introduction for you. It is compact, youthful, and is within your budget if you’re already shopping for a compact SUV from MINI, Mercedes-Benz, or BMW.

The Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge starts at a price of RM 241,997 (without SST). Is it the perfect for you? Let’s go through some its own pros and cons.

Pro – Zippy and easy to drive

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Powered by 1.5-litre turbo engine with a hybrid system (combined 262 PS/425 Nm), the XC40 T5 Recharge drives effortlessly.

Need some torque for a quick overtaking manoeuvre? You have 425 Nm of it at your disposal.

Pros and Cons: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge - better performance, but poorer comfort 01

We managed a 0-100 km/h time of 7.7 seconds

Being a compact SUV, the XC40 is also nimble. With its small size and light steering, even the newest of drivers will have no problem getting used to the XC40. Driver visibility is excellent too, allowing you to be fully aware of your surroundings.Also Read: Review: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge - The gateway drug to pure EV ownership

Pro – A full suite of ADAS

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Synonymous with Volvo cars is safety and the XC40 T5 Recharge lives up to that image. Active cruise control, blind spot assist, lane keep assist, autonomous emergency braking, and rear cross traffic alert are all present in the XC40 T5 Recharge.

Pro – Practical space

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What is else is good in the XC40? It actually has some decent storage space although some compromise had to be made for the PHEV system.

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Yes, there the centre console storage is a little bit smaller and there is no spare wheel. But not all is bad. The XC40 T5 Recharge has large door bins, the rear seats can fold flat, and the space for the charging cables can be used to store some extra items as well.

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Passenger space is also decent, making the XC40 T5 Recharge a practical runabout for the family.

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Tidy up the cable storage compartment, and you have extra space for more stuff.

Con – Small battery size with short EV range

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The reason some us buy PHEVs is to get a glimpse of a pure EV ownership. And the Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge provides that satisfaction with the instantaneous torque, silent start-up, and special parking privileges. 

What it lacks though is a decent battery range. The claimed BEV range is 44km, but when we drove it in hybrid mode starting with a full charge, the battery goes almost flat after about 30 km of driving.

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It’s still one of the biggest batteries offered in a PHEV (10.7 kWh), but the EV fun doesn't last long enough.

You can still charge the batteries as you drive (with the engine) to benefit from the occasional electric boost in a long journey.

Fuel consumption is satisfactory, with the XC40 T5 Recharge clocking 5.9 l/100km in our fuel consumption test. (initial charge 80%, 113.8 km route, 50:50 urban and highway driving)

Also Read: Volvo Cars to go fully electric by 2030, says no future for petrol engine cars

Con – Rides and handles poorer than the combustion engine T5 AWD

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The Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge's ride quality is poorer than that of its combustion engine only counterpart, the Volvo XC40 T5 AWD. The suspension needs to handle more weight and some ride quality has been compromised to accommodate the PHEV system.

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Occasional sharp road bumps are a bit more obvious in the PHEV version of the XC40. The added weight also means the handling is compromised.

It's not all bad, but since there's the T5 AWD version to compare to, the T5 Recharge's flaw in this department becomes more obvious.

Also Read: 2021 Volvo XC40: T5 AWD vs Recharge PHEV - What does the extra RM 10k get you?

Pros and Cons: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge - better performance, but poorer comfort 11

Even with the incorporation of hard plastics, the XC40 T5 Recharge still manages to give off a premium feel in the cabin.

Con – The Hybrid brakes need some getting used to

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To slow the XC40 T5 Recharge down, the car first utilises regenerative braking from the electric motor. The brake callipers kick in a little bit later.

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The abrupt grip from the callipers (when it kicks in) creates a non-linear feeling which can throw you off a little bit. You do get used to it eventually, but admittingly, the brake controls could be better too.

Also Read: Future Geely models to be closer to Volvo’s, but Proton might lose out – here’s why

Conclusion

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So, those are pretty much the pros and cons of the Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge. It is a good introduction if you want to give electrification a try.

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Yes, some improvements could be done to the XC40, but the XC40 already offers a decent ride, good quality materials, and a zippy driving experience. 

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Arif

Writer

Previously an engineer in an automotive manufacturing company and a highway concessionaire. A part-time research student on biofuels and diesel engines. Obsessed with vehicle electrification and the future of transportation.

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