Simplicity is bliss. 

After a really brief drive of the Swedish automaker’s first absolutely electrical manufacturing mannequin earlier this month, I discovered it’s a long-lasting impression that rings true within the driving expertise and the general atmosphere of the car.

The 2021 XC40 Recharge units the interface and consumer expertise for a technology of different Volvo EVs to be provided over this subsequent decade—and right here, that is a minimalist-luxury strategy that pushes the muddle (and noise) out of the best way, and guarantees simply the correct quantity of selection.

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

Volvo organized for me to have precisely one hour behind the wheel of one among only a half-dozen or so pre-production prototypes to date within the U.S. In that point I used to be in a position to match 40 miles of driving, fold some seats, pop the hood, and snap some fast images. 

The XC40 Recharge is set to arrive to U.S. dealerships in January 2021, beginning at $54,895 (not counting eligibility for incentives just like the $7,500 federal EV tax credit score).It’s on the small finish of a category of crossovers which are known as compact by American requirements however can function full-fledged household automobiles if there isn’t an excessive amount of gear to take alongside. 

In between, by American requirements

At about 174 inches lengthy, on a wheelbase of 106.4 inches, it’s a few foot shorter total and seven inches shorter in wheelbase than the Tesla Mannequin Y and Mustang Mach-E, and whereas seating house for 4 doesn’t really feel dramatically totally different, the Recharge clearly has loads much less cargo house. The mannequin it most intently compares to in dimensions is the Kia Niro EV, though the Volvo is taller each cabin-wise and total.

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

The Recharge has glorious, thigh-extending, back-supporting entrance seats. Again-seat lodging are well-apportioned, too, with loads of head room and no lack of house to tuck your toes underneath the entrance seat—though there’s a quite excessive, squared-off hump in the course of the ground that soundly makes the center place loads much less usable for all however youngsters. It’s the value of the Recharge’s adapted platform and T-shaped battery pack, working via what may in any other case be a drive tunnel.

The XC40 Recharge does have a frunk, and it’s not as massive as these within the Ford Mustang Mach-E or Tesla Model Y however massive sufficient for a few small backpacks or a bigger duffel bag.  

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

On the reveal of the XC40 Recharge, in October 2019, Volvo wasn’t but prepared to debate the driving force interface. After sitting down within the car, it’s clear that some elements of it have modified since I first sat within the present automobile. 

Simply as within the Polestar 2, there’s no begin button. You simply sit down within the driver’s seat—with the keyfob within the automobile—and together with your foot on the brake, you toggle it into gear and the automobile seemingly involves life. A selection of three totally different gauge shows allow you to select from Automotive Centric (exhibiting you energy/regen readouts, and probably the most data), Navi (bringing the map into the central readout), or Calm (minimal) on a big reconfigurable display that replaces a standard gauge cluster.

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

The XC40 Recharge is among the first fashions on the earth to run on Android Automotive OS, which claims full integration with Google Maps and the Google Assistant plus a broader vary of apps in comparison with earlier variations provided in Volvo infotainment techniques. 

One pedal at a time

Each electrical automobile has its personal particular character largely based mostly on the way it carries momentum and the way the regenerative braking reacts to inputs of the accelerator and brake, so getting a really feel for that was a precedence on this brief spin. 

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

The XC40 Recharge gives a single possibility for the way that is dealt with—an all-in-one setting known as “one-pedal driving” that may merely be toggled on or off. With out that mode, the Recharge “creeps” ahead gently once you raise your foot off the brake pedal, and it decelerates gently once you raise off the accelerator—mainly mimicking the habits you’d discover in a gasoline car, solely perkier and extra constant. 

Toggle “one-pedal driving,” and the habits swings in a special path. Lifting off the brake pedal doesn’t create any ahead movement; you have to tip into the accelerator for that. And any raise of the accelerator pedal brings on the regenerative braking fairly abruptly, letting you sluggish reasonably to an entire cease if you want, adopted a short while later by the faint whir of the parking brake to be sure to don’t drift backward. 

There are not any steering-wheel paddles or different methods of adjusting the regen. Solely when aiming to maintain a gradual pace on a steep downhill did I miss a center setting between the usual mode, which required dabbing the brake pedal, and the one-pedal mode, which required feathering the accelerator. 

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

In a single-pedal mode, the brake pedal feels firmer than it does in the usual mode; that’s largely as a result of, as Volvo confirmed, in that mode there’s no extra blending-in of regen from the motor as you press the brake pedal—Tesla-style. In its default mode, the regen is mixed with the friction brakes. 

Volvo additionally confirmed one thing I couldn’t adequately get a really feel for on my drive: The accelerator calibration is considerably sharper in the usual mode, and extra linear in one-pedal—possible to assist scale back the quantity of head-toss to your passenger in one-pedal mode. 

Exterior of that, your different dynamic selection is whether or not to interact “steering wheel agency.” After some fast A/B testing, I discovered it unwound extra neatly within the lighter setting, although some may discover the firmer mode extra partaking. I additionally got here to the conclusion that having “agency” mode on makes the steering really feel heavy however not any extra exact—and counterintuitively, barely much less relaxed on middle. Straightforward determination which one I’d at all times use. 

Buttoned down, however no ballerina

The Recharge has a entrance strut, rear multi-link suspension, with stabilizer bars entrance and rear, and it goes with out the likes of an air suspension or variable damping. The Recharge rides loads stiffer than I used to be anticipating from my expertise with different latest Volvo fashions (and the gasoline XC40). That may deliver somewhat extra coarseness in from outdoors, but it surely excels in protecting nosedive, pitch, and lean at a minimal. Though you sit excessive within the Recharge, there isn’t the extent of fore-aft physique movement that may make the experience of some tall-riding however brief crossovers really feel unsettled.

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

The underlying firmness, and neat-handling first impressions emboldened me to take it on one among my commonplace testing roads—a steep, sharply curved mountain highway with imperfect surfaces and banking—at a fast tempo, however  the shrieking of the entrance tires revealed the Recharge’s 4,800-pound curb weight. This isn’t a machine that will probably be pulling excessive Gs on the skidpad. 

I did one flat-out acceleration run as much as 70 mph or somewhat past (on the recommendation of Volvo’s 4.7-second 0-60 mph time), and the Recharge leaps ahead with quiet confidence; you sit pretty excessive, so it tends to really feel even a tick quicker than it’s. The Recharge makes a mixed 402 horsepower and 486 pound-feet of torque from entrance and rear motors, delivering “fixed AWD” with a 50/50 torque cut up by default, however it could actually shift torque for the perfect traction. 

Pretty much as good because the Recharge was in checking out its traction off the mark, on a steep uphill, sudden prods of the accelerator produced momentary entrance wheelspin like a front-wheel-drive automobile, resisting (at the very least for a protracted fraction of a second) the thought of placing full energy solely to the rear wheels. This felt like a matter of programming—but to be finished, maybe?

First ideas on vary

Vary outcomes from this brief drive had been promising—should you think about the context. The official EPA vary of the XC40 Recharge is 208 miles. I went 39.6 miles, and the state of cost dropped from 83% to 61%, with the journey laptop indicating a mean of 40.0 kwh/100 miles, or 2.5 miles per kwh. Given a usable battery capability of 75 kwh (78 kwh gross), that places us at a most vary of roughly 185 miles based mostly on the form of driving I used to be doing. 

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

About 30 of these had been miles on the Interstate, aiming for typical journey speeds and largely cruising at regular pace—the place the Recharge proved well-blanketed from highway and wind noise. The remaining 10 miles was cut up between city floor streets, at 20-35 mph, and on a steep up-and-down curvy backroad. For a lot of the drive I stored the local weather management set to 72 levels F, and the skin temperature was a gentle 63 levels. 

I believe the effectivity readouts had been the consequence of the extensively diverse driving fashion as I used to be making an attempt to get a really feel for the car and its capabilities in a one-hour snapshot. 

There wasn’t any time to attempt any of the charging choices. With its 11-kw onboard charger, a Degree 2 (240V) charger can get it to full in about 8 hours, whereas it takes 40 minutes to go from 0-80% on a CCS DC quick charger, at a peak of 150 kw. 

Inexperienced Automotive Stories anticipates getting a extra balanced impression of the XC40 Recharge and its real-world effectivity, charging ease, and lots of connectivity options. Search for that within the subsequent couple of months. 

Till then, I can say that the XC40 Recharge is in a really sensible place—not a lot to woo Tesla drivers, however to indicate that Volvo could be all the things it’s been and extra in a completely electrical mannequin. It’s an enormous leap for some households, however I can already inform that this one’s going to make these trendsetters really feel relaxed.