—Fast. Roomy. Compliant ride. Secure handling. Long range. AWD. One-pedal driving. Many features. Cons
—Some rivals have longer driving range. Narrow rear door openings. Hard rear center seat.
Bottom Line—Stylish, practical, upscale and powerful.
There’s no need to use the brake pedal to stop the 2023 Volvo XC40 Recharge
Twin Ultimate. And no ignition key or starter button is needed to get it going.
So why do things have to be conventional? Just slide into the driver’s seat of the this premium SUV and put it in “Drive” or “Reverse” and move along. You can use the regular brake pedal to stop, but just tap a control on the touch screen and regenerative braking then allows one-pedal driving. You can switch back to conventional braking via the easily used 9-inch integrated touchscreen and brake pedal.
You can almost start flying after starting because this official compact, but rather large, SUV has a dual motor electric drivetrain that generates 402 horsepower and 468 pound/feet of torque. An electric motor at each axle provides instant torque delivery, fed by a low-mounted battery pack. The setup provides full-time all-wheel drive.
Push the accelerator hard and this Volvo threatens to snap your head off with its instant torque. The 0-60 m.p.h. time is just 4.3 seconds and o-100 m.p.h. arrives in 10.9 seconds. This is one of the fastest Volvos ever built. One might wonder why such sizzling acceleration is needed for what is essentially a practical family vehicle, but note that some rivals also are very fast..
Estimated “fuel” economy of the $58,150 XC40 Recharge Twin Ultimate is 92 miles per gallon in the city and 79 on highways. The driving range is an estimated 223 miles—not the best, not the worst. Rivals include the Audi E-tron, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Jaguar I-Pace and Tesla Model Y.
The electric power-assisted steering can be adjusted via the touch screen to be “normal”: or heavier, but I didn’t notice much difference between the two modes. Handling is good on curves, considering this SUV is high and weighs a hefty 4,791 pounds. The ride is compliant, but occupants can feel some bumps.
The 2023 XC40 Recharge Twin Ultimate is handsome, with revised front and rear styling, updated headlights and a black contrast roof, mirror caps and window trim. My test Volvo had 20-inch 5-double spoke black diamond cut alloy wheels.
Four 6-footers easily fit, but rear door openings are rather narrow, and the center of the rear seat is too stiff for comfort. It’s best occupied by the fold-down center armrest with two integrated cupholders. Front cupholders are conveniently located on the large front console, flanked by two comfortable heated long-distance seats and $150 heated adjustable steering wheel. Cabin storage areas are thoughtfully located.
The cargo area has a low, wide opening and is roomy, and rear setbacks easily flip forward to significantly enlarge it. There’s also a fairly large cargo storage area under the trunk floor. The power-operated tailgate works efficiently.
The dashboard in the quiet, upscale interior has a 12.3-inch progressive digital driver display that provides all sorts of specialized information. Features include a wireless smart phone charging pad, two-zone automatic climate control, cutting edge decor inlay, tinted windows, Harmon-Kardon premium audio system and a laminated panoramic moonroof with a power sunshade.
Heat comes up quickly thanks to a heat pump, which is more efficient than a normal heater and a definite blessing for northern area XC40 occupants in the winter.
Extras included metallic paint, the heated steering wheel and a $1,095 destination charge. They brought the bottom line price of my test Volvo to $60,090.
Safety features include adaptive cruise control, blind-spot information system, steering assist and cross traffic alert with “autobrake” collision avoidance, low and high speed collision mitigation, driver alert control, run-off road protection, front, side and curtain airbags with driver side knee airbag, 360 surround view camera, front/rear park assist and a rear park assist camera.
In all, the Volvo XC40 Recharge Twin Ultimate is a worthy entry in the upscale SUV market, and a bit of a hot rod to boot.