Ratings: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge hybrid in Malaysia - Short but enough electric fun

Sanjay · Jul 17, 2021 09:00 AM

Ratings: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge hybrid in Malaysia - Short but enough electric fun 01

Continuing our WapCar Ratings this week is the 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge, the smallest hybrid vehicle in Volvo Malaysia's line-up.

Priced from RM 241,997 and locally-assembled (CKD) in Shah Alam, it takes on rivals like the BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA, the latter of which we've done a Ratings article last week.

Ratings: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge hybrid in Malaysia - Short but enough electric fun 02

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All photos and measurements were taken before MCO, and the scores you see here are relative to cars in the XC40's segment, and not new-car market as a whole.

Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge: Driving Performance - 32/50, Odd braking feel

Ratings: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge hybrid in Malaysia - Short but enough electric fun 01

Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge - Facts and Figures
Engine 1.5-litre, turbo 3-cylinder
Transmission 7-speed DCT
Power 262 PS @ 5,800 rpm
Torque 425 Nm @ 1,500 - 3,000 Nm
Weight 1,875 kg
0-100 km/h 7.7 seconds
100-0 km/h 36.6 metres

First things first, its numbers: despite having near-instantaneous acceleration in EV mode, the XC40's century sprint time isn't anything astonishing. Performance is probably hampered by its 1,875 kg weight, which is 300-odd kg more than the GLA 250 AMG.

Ratings: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge hybrid in Malaysia - Short but enough electric fun 02

Relative timings aside, the powertrain is a smooth one. Overtaking is easy, and if it so happens that the petrol engine kicks in while driving, you won't realise it as the transition is pretty smooth.

Ratings: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge hybrid in Malaysia - Short but enough electric fun 03

Besides those, the XC40 scores good marks in visibility. Paired with the light yet responsive steering wheel, we reckon newer drivers won't complain.

But like any other car, it does have its pain points.

Ratings: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge hybrid in Malaysia - Short but enough electric fun 04

Handling-wise, the stiff suspension allows one to chuck in the car in corners somewhat, but how often are you going to do that? In normal cases, it can feel a bit stiff, especially on sharper bumps.

Ratings: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge hybrid in Malaysia - Short but enough electric fun 05

Then there's the jarring braking feel. The car first uses the regenerative braking from the electric motor, then the actual brake calipers kick in a little bit later. And yes, when it does, you will know as it'll just chomp down.

Ratings: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge hybrid in Malaysia - Short but enough electric fun 06

You will probably take time getting used to it, especially if you're not used to a hybrid car's braking system. The few times I drove it, there was this worry that I was stopping rather abruptly. But again, it's nothing of that sort, the feeling is just amplified due to its non-linearity.

Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge - Driving Performances Breakdown
Engine Acceleration 3.5 / 5
In-gear Acceleration 4 / 5
Throttle Response 4 / 5
Transmission Shift Logic 2 / 3
Smoothness 4 / 5
Sport/Manual Mode 1 / 3
Steering Accuracy 2 / 3
Response 1.5 / 3
Weight & Feel 1.5 / 3
Braking Distance 2 / 3
Feel 1 / 3
Handling Chassis Balance 2 / 3
Grip 2 / 3
Load Reaction 1.5 / 3
Total   32/50

Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge: Ride Comfort - 34/50, Slightly stiff

Ratings: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge hybrid in Malaysia - Short but enough electric fun 07

Naturally, your passengers and you will need to gradually get used to the 'on-off' braking style.

Ratings: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge hybrid in Malaysia - Short but enough electric fun 08

On that note, they might also raise concerns about the stiff handling. Don't get us wrong, ride quality is for the most part acceptable, but we found sharp bumps to invade the cabin slightly more than we prefer, which could be attributed to the extra weight the hybrid system tacks on.

Ratings: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge hybrid in Malaysia - Short but enough electric fun 09

Ease of entry and exit is average, the doors open wide too
Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge - Cabin noise
0 km/h (AC off) 41 dB
0 km/h (AC on) 46 dB
60 km/h (AC on) 59 dB
90 km/h (AC on) 65 dB
110 km/h (AC on) 69 dB

Ratings: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge hybrid in Malaysia - Short but enough electric fun 10

The vertical motifs of the interior may not make it look roomy, but it is - the cabin is wider than both the GLA 250 and the C-segment Proton X70.

Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge - Ride Comfort Breakdown
Sound Proofing 7 / 10
Suspension 6 / 10
Passenger Comfort 6 / 10
Seat Support 4 / 5
Ergonomics 3 / 5
Engine Refinement 8 / 10
Total points 34 / 50 pts

Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge: Quality and Features – 41.5/50, Much to play with

Ratings: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge hybrid in Malaysia - Short but enough electric fun 11

Panel gaps are as expected - with only a maximum 0.5 mm deviation between panels, there's really nothing much to complain about.

Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge - Panel Gaps (mm)
Location Driver Side Passenger Side Difference
Bonnet 3.5 3.5 0
Front Fender 3.5 4 0.5
Front to Rear Door 3.5 3.5 0
Rear Door to quarter panel 3.5 4 0.5
Tailgate 4 4 0

Ratings: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge hybrid in Malaysia - Short but enough electric fun 12

Paint quality is rich and deep. If you like a car that stands out, this Coral Red shade is worth gunning for.

Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge - Paint Thickness (µm)
Location Driver Side Passenger Side
Front Bonnet 111
Front Fender 136 126
Front Door 124 129
Rear Door 137 135
Rear Quarter Panel 139 143
Tailgate 122
Roof 214
Average paint thickness: 138 µm ±8

Ratings: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge hybrid in Malaysia - Short but enough electric fun 13

Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge - Exterior Material Use
Bonnet Soundproofing Material Thick
Struts Gas
Front Fenders Soundproofing Material Yes
Doors Front Windows Single-glazed
Rear Windows Single-glazed
Construction One-piece
Boot Opening Powered

Ratings: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge hybrid in Malaysia - Short but enough electric fun 14

The interior is best described as safe, and the vertical touchscreen infotainment system (with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support) is equally as easy to use as traditional landscape-oriented ones. Subjectively, everything is sturdy and well put-together.

Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge - Cabin Material Use
Seat Seat Cover Leather
Armrest Armrest Cover Leather
Dashboard Upper Section Soft Plastic
  Lower Section Hard Plastic
Front Doors Upper Section Soft Plastic
  Middle Section Soft Plastic
  Lower Section Hard Plastic

Ratings: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge hybrid in Malaysia - Short but enough electric fun 15

Ratings: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge hybrid in Malaysia - Short but enough electric fun 16

The XC40 T5 Recharge also bundles along some advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), in addition to seven airbags, hill start assist (HSA), hill descent control (HDC), and electronic stability control (ESC). ADAS functions are as below:

  • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
  • Lane Keep Assist (LKA)
  • Blind Spot Monitor (BLIS)
  • Pilot Assist (PA)
Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge - Quality & Feature Breakdown
Exterior Paint Finish 2 / 4
Panel Gaps 4 / 4
Assembly Quality 2 / 2
Interior Build Quality 3.5 / 5
Materials Used 4 / 5
Features Safety 10 / 10
ADAS 5 / 5
Luxury 4 / 5
Convenience 3 / 5
Infotainment 4 / 5
Total   41.5 / 50 pts

Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge: Interior space – 32/50, Roomy cabin, adequate boot

Ratings: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge hybrid in Malaysia - Short but enough electric fun 17

Five people can sit in the XC40, and there's space to keep various items.

Ratings: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge hybrid in Malaysia - Short but enough electric fun 18

Ratings: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge hybrid in Malaysia - Short but enough electric fun 19

Ratings: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge hybrid in Malaysia - Short but enough electric fun 20

Practicality-wise, Volvo's 'inventive storage solutions' see the XC40 get back seat pockets, 6 cupholders, felt-lined door pockets, and a variety of small to medium-sized cubbies, but we found their useability to be rather questionable as not many things can fit in them.

Ratings: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge hybrid in Malaysia - Short but enough electric fun 21

There's two tennis balls worth of legroom, and one-and-a-bit tennis ball's headroom in the second-row.

Ratings: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge hybrid in Malaysia - Short but enough electric fun 22

Ratings: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge hybrid in Malaysia - Short but enough electric fun 23

Boot space is 460 litres with the rear seats up, but there's no spare wheel as the 12V battery and the charging cable sits have under the boot floor.

Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge - Interior Space Breakdown
Front Row 8 / 10
Middle/Back Row 8 / 10
Third Row 0 / 5
Boot Space 3 / 5
Practicality 3 / 5
Storage Space 3 / 5
Visibility 4 / 5
Storage Flexibility 3 / 5
Total 32 / 50 pts

Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge: Fuel consumption – 15.5/20, Fuel-sipper, reasonable electric range

Ratings: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge hybrid in Malaysia - Short but enough electric fun 24

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

Ratings: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge hybrid in Malaysia - Short but enough electric fun 25

The 10.7 kWh battery - despite being one of the biggest offered in a PHEV - offers reasonable full-electric range. Starting with a full charge and driving sensibly, the battery was almost flat after about 30 km of driving - 14 km less than the claimed BEV range of 44 km.

Ratings: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge hybrid in Malaysia - Short but enough electric fun 26

The XC40 T5 Recharge can only be charged at a rate of 3.7 kW (AC charging) at best. Using a good charger, it takes about three hours to get full charge, while charging at home can double that.

Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge - Fuel Consumption Test Breakdown
Fuel Consumption 12 / 15
Eco Mode 2 / 2
Indicator Accuracy 1.5  / 3
Total points 15.5 / 20 pts

Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge: Purchase and cost – 21/30, Pricey maintenance

Ratings: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge hybrid in Malaysia - Short but enough electric fun 27

The 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge is priced from RM 241,997 in Malaysia. For the money, you get to taste the 'EV experience' with special parking spots, instantaneous torque, and a silent start-up.

Ratings: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge hybrid in Malaysia - Short but enough electric fun 28

In this price range, this is pretty much the only hybrid option. The rest of the usual suspects - the BMW X1 (starting from RM 202k) and the Mercedes-Benz GLA (starting from RM 244k) - are pure-petrol only.

Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge estimated service costs
Package Cost (RM)
20,000 km or 1st year 1,481
40,000 km or 2nd year 1,481
60,000 km or 3rd year 2,089
80,000 km or 4th year 1,481
100,000 km or 5th year 1,481
Total 8,031

Ratings: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge hybrid in Malaysia - Short but enough electric fun 29

Maintenance cost is par the course with other European makes. Based on estimates, maintaining one of these over a five-year/100k km period will set one back roughly RM 8,031.

Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge - Purchase & Cost
Purchase Car Price 8 / 15
Warranty 2 / 5
Cost Maintenance 3  / 5
Fuel Cost 4 / 5
Total   17 / 30 pts

Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge: Conclusion – 176/250 pts overall

Ratings: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge hybrid in Malaysia - Short but enough electric fun 30

For what it's worth, this hybrid three-potter scores well in our Ratings test. Numbers aside, it's a car that also does quite well in the subjective side of things: comments about how it good it looks won't be something owners will be hard-pressed to hear.

Ratings: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge hybrid in Malaysia - Short but enough electric fun 31

Despite those, a few things hamper the product. The ride quality could be better, the braking must be further ironed out, and the EV range of 30 km while adequate, really isn't anything to write home about.

Ratings: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge hybrid in Malaysia - Short but enough electric fun 32

It can be summed up as a satisfactory experience, but not the last word in guilt-free motoring.

Full Ratings list: https://www.wapcar.my/car-ranking

Also read: 

Review: 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 Recharge - The gateway drug to pure EV ownership

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

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Up to 20% higher than average trade-in price

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