2022 Volvo XC40 Review

2022 Volvo XC40 - Fully electrified with style, power, and future updates on the way.


Volvo introduced us to the XC40 subcompact crossover SUV for the 2018 model year as a conventional gasoline model. In 2019 they added a plug-in hybrid variant and in 2020 the full electric version was introduced which is known as the Recharge. It’s Volvo’s first full battery electric model that uses two electric motors and a 78-kWh lithium-ion battery to deliver 402 horsepower and a range of 223 miles (an increase from 2021 models). Looking ahead to 2023, it will get a refreshed exterior including a new take on the signature Thor’s hammer lighting signature. Additionally, customers will receive premium leather-free upholstery options in the pure electric XC40 Recharge, as well as new exterior colors and wheels, offering further possibilities for personalization.

The XC40 Recharge is available with three equipment levels known as the Core ($55,745), Plus ($58,445), and the Ultimate ($61,695). All models utilize the same powertrain and have the same range.  Competition includes other luxury level electric SUVs like the Audi e-tron, BMW iX, Genesis GV80, Jaguar I-Pace, and Tesla Model Y. I spent a week in an Ultimate model and here’s what stood out…

Styling (+)
I drove the 2022 model (pre 2023 refresh) which looks like a mini version of the larger XC-90 with some youthful flare. Recharge models feature a plain panel with the Volvo logo on it in place of a traditional grille.  A clamshell hood carries over the front fenders creating a distinct line from the top of the headlights to the door. The side profile is upright with a floating roof design in a contrasting color. The rear passenger windows have a harsh angle up that aligns with the roof separation. Volvo uses symmetry and geometry well in the design as the taillights drop down from the roof and around into the rear fenders to create a hexagonal body panel shape on the sides. Around back, Volvo is spelled across the hatch and the license plate is within the bumper. The hatch opening is on the smaller side but is powered. Body cladding surrounds the lower portion and around the wheel arches of the entire vehicle. It’s a clean look with some unique lines and lighting elements to make it stand out.

Wheels (+)
Volvo has been designing good-looking wheels that add style to their vehicles for several years now. Standard wheels are 19” double spoke black diamond cut alloys, but also available are 20” 5-Spoke black diamond cut alloys. The contrast between the black and silver in the wheels give them dimension and the sense that they are always in motion.  The wheels look large on this small crossover but do fill the wheel arches.

Lighting (+)
Volvo has been using the “Thor’s Hammer” LED lights since 2015 now when they debuted on the XC90. They continue to grab attention and clearly define Volvo at night. These lights get updated for 2023, but still maintain the general shape. These headlights pair with small circle LED fog lights and a tall vertical taillight to give the XC40 Recharge a very distinct look at dusk and night.

Range (+/-)

Despite an increase from 208 to 223 miles, the range still falls short of many other electric vehicles that surpass 250 (which seems to be an ideal threshold).  It takes around seven hours to fully charge the battery using a 240-volt or another Level 2 connection. Another way to look at is around 18 miles of range per hour when connected to a Level 2. Opt for a DC fast Charger and you can get the battery from 10% - 80% in around 35 minutes. Like most manufacturers, Volvo recommends setting the car to stop charging when the battery is around 90% full, which helps with long-term battery health. You should charge to 100% only when needed for longer trips. 200 miles can go quickly if you don’t recharge the Recharge nightly so be aware of some DC Fast Charge locations just in case.

Performance (+)

You may be willing to forgive the range issue because the performance is stellar. It offers 486 lb.-ft. Of instant torque that propels the XC40 from 0-60 in around 4.7 seconds thanks to 402 horsepower. This unassuming vehicle will toss you back in your seats with the reassurance of Volvo safety. It grips the road with confidence and poise during initial acceleration and while passing. It’s smooth, silent, and comfortable to drive. AWD is standard on so it’s poised to handle inclement weather and uneven terrain. The XC40 Recharge is grounded as it takes corners with ease with little body roll. Steering is direct and balanced giving it more of a sporty drive. It features a lower center of gravity thanks to the placement of the battery pack that drivers will appreciate in a more upright vehicle. It’s an enjoyable vehicle to drive around town and on the highway.

One-Pedal Driving (+)

Most electric vehicles offer a one-pedal driving option… which doesn’t mean there’s only one pedal in the vehicle. It means that when you release the gas pedal, the vehicle will brake rather than continue to coast (much like a golf cart). This option ties in directly with regenerative braking which converts that barking energy into electricity to return power to the battery. Every EV with one-pedal driving varies differently and the XC40 Recharge is one that will bring it to a complete stop. It enacts itself fast which will deliver a more jerking motion if you’re not used to it. It will take some time, but Volvo’s execution is effective.  Comparatively, Volkswagen’s ID.4 slowed the vehicle down in a more subtle way and never to a complete stop. This feature can be turned off if you prefer.

Pilot Assist (+)

Another standard feature is the pilot assist driver assistance system. It is a very advanced cruise control system that falls just short of autonomous driving. Hands are required on the steering wheel for monitoring but the XC40 does all the work. The system operates at highway speeds and will maintain the vehicle’s position in between the lines and distances behind the vehicle in front of you. The intuitive system operates smoothly and quickly to accommodate the unexpected driver who merges in front of you

Interior (+)
Like nearly every other Volvo, the interior is crisp and clean utilizing a fresh blend of materials. The XC40 Recharge features a variety of seating materials that range from cloth, premium synthetic, leather, and a leather-free option. The attention to details is highlighted with contrasting stitching, tabs with the Swedish flag, and other sustainable materials such as the partially recycled carpets. Volvo has put so much thought into the interior that they even include a small clip at the windshield to hold a valet or parking tag. The ambiance is further enhanced with translucent back-lit lighting that reflects off the mix of metals and other materials. An available panoramic moonroof lets in the natural light while providing access to fresh air. It’s a comfortable and serene space to be in with ample room for five passengers. Head room is good all-around thanks to a taller roof. Leg and shoulder room is also decent; however, the rear seats best accommodate two adults over three. Heated and ventilated front seats are available along with heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel.  Adding to the interior feel is an available advanced air purifier system that will have everyone breathing cleaner and healthier air.

Infotainment Technology (-)

Volvo implemented a Google-based infotainment system which in theory is easy to operate. However, with this implementation…neither Apple CarPlay nor Android Auto are available. Also absent is the presence of AM radio. Usability is easy if you’re familiar with Google, but you’ll have to re-program everything from your phone and make better use of Apps which will take some getting used to. It’s all present on a clear 9” vertical touch screen with minimal knobs. A few buttons for basic climate needs and volume are directly below the screen and on the steering wheel. Keep a microfiber cloth handy as the screen will fill up with fingerprints.

An available wireless charging pad is also available, but it’s tucked behind the gear selector and cup holders under the dash. The placement isn’t ideal, and I found my phone to often shift off the charger. One area that is strong for Volvo is the available Harman Kardon premium sound system that is crystal clear to deliver music as if you were listening to it live.

Cargo (+/-)
Overall cargo volume is less than many competitors, but so is its overall size so it’s not exactly fair to compare. There is 21.7 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and up to 57.5 cubic feet with the second row folded down. The rear seats split 60/40 for folding and there is a functional pass through and foldable tray. Smart storage options for water bottles, gym bags, laptops and more can be found throughout making full use of the XC40’s space. A bonus storage space in the Recharge is under the hood where there is a small, but useful compartment that makes for a good place to store your charging cables… it’s not a full frunk, but it’s something.

Safety (+)
Staying true to its heritage, Volvo continues to offer a long list of standard safety and driver assist features that include:

•    Braking system with energy regeneration
•    Whiplash injury protection system
•    Road sign information
•    Lane keeping aid
•    Cruise control
•    Adaptive power steering
•    Park assist / camera (rear)
•    BLIS and cross traffic alert
•    Oncoming lane mitigation

Other available features include HomeLink, Park Assist (front, side, and rear), 360-degree camera, fog lights, pilot assist, adaptive cruise control, and headlamp cleaners. It continues to score high in various safety ratings and is a recommended pick by many for that reason. During my time in it the automatic braking system kicked in and the seatbelts immediately hugged all passengers providing reassurance in safety.

Final Statement:

The XC40 Recharge is a powerful subcompact crossover that features everything we love about Volvo vehicles. It’s refined, yet unique exterior style complements a serene interior that creatively mixes materials with a minimalist approach. Unfortunately, the use of a Google interface may be enough to turn off some potential buyers who want to connect to their phones with the more traditional Apple & Android products. Overall, though, this is a fun, high-quality EV to drive that has received annual improvements since it launched. It is definitely worth a test drive!

First Impression Summary
Test Vehicle:
2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge Twin Ultimate
Exterior Color: Thunder Gray
Interior Color: Charcoal Connect Suede Textile / Microtech
Options: Metallic Paint Color ($695), Heated Steering Wheel ($150)
MSRP as tested: $60,090 (With Delivery/Destination)

Jim OBrill

Jim is Director of Marketing for the Chicago Automobile Trade Association and Chicago Auto Show and a co-host of Drive Chicago Radio on WLS 890 AM Chicago. His passion for cars started young and he’s often referred to as the ‘car-guy’ among family and friends. As a former auto detailer, he has an eye for identifying solid used cars and tags along on many car buying adventures. Early in his career he worked at several car dealerships in various areas of the business. As a co-host on Drive Chicago and member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, Jim has had opportunities to attend track school and drive vehicles on multiple circuits such as Road America and Gingerman Raceway. With a background in photography, taking pictures of vehicles has always been a hobby.

Jim also enjoys the trails and taking trucks like his 4Runner off road. He has a special appreciation for older cars and can often be found spending free time at cruise nights or home washing one his four vehicles. Jim resides in the northwest suburbs with his wife and three kids. Follow Jim on Instagram at @jpcars22 for new vehicle content or @forgotten_survivors.312 for shots of older cars still on the streets of Chicagoland.