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Road tests

Volvo XC40 Recharge Twin 2023 facelift review

The new Volvo XC40 Recharge Twin packs 402bhp and 326 miles of range, but it all comes at a cost

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.5 out of 5

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Verdict

It's a shame you can’t option this car’s bigger battery with the single-motor powertrain. Few will regularly utilise the Twin’s sledgehammer straight-line speed, and while this version may offer a slightly longer range and faster charging, you’ll pay a hefty premium for the privilege. We’d still recommend the XC40 over the less practical C40, but a rear-driven Recharge is a better bet.

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It's all change at Volvo. As well as an overhaul for the maker’s single-motor electric SUVs, the punchier all-wheel drive XC40 and C40 Recharge Twin variants have been updated with bigger batteries and more range.

Previously fitted with a 78kWh (75kWh usable) battery, the XC40 Twin now gets a larger 82kWh (79kWh usable) battery for up to 24 per cent more miles on a charge. Volvo claims the dual-motor XC40 in entry-level Core spec will do up to 334 miles before needing to be plugged in – or 326 miles fitted with the bigger wheels of our Ultimate test car.

In theory, that elevates Volvo’s smallest SUV from EV also-ran to one of the longest-range models in its class. For context, a Tesla Model Y can do up to 331 miles, while the less powerful Mercedes EQA 350 4MATIC can manage only a fraction of the Volvo’s new-found maximum.

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In addition, the new XC40 Twin – as well as its C40 equivalent – can now charge at speeds of up to 200kW. That’s a significant improvement on the old car (150kW), while also trumping the single-motor models’ 130kW peak; a 10-80 per cent top-up is now possible in just 28 minutes. 

Elsewhere, however, the recipe is largely unchanged. Combined, those dual motors develop a mind-bending 402bhp and 670Nm of torque. Needless to say the XC40 Twin feels resolutely rapid in a straight line, with the all-wheel drive system showing no trouble transferring that performance to the tarmac.

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And yet it never feels like a car conditioned to cope with so much power. While it’s plenty of fun planting the throttle away from the lights – and surprising some sports car drivers in the process – the same is true of the updated rear-drive car; 90 per cent of the time, the extra punch just feels surplus to requirements.

While grip in the dual-motor cars is good, there’s very little feel through the steering, and the body isn’t as stiff or well controlled as it is in the new BMW iX1. On our XC40 Ultimate’s 20-inch wheels the ride isn’t anything to write home about, either – we’d strongly recommend sticking with the Core or Plus cars’ 19-inch rims, both from a comfort and a refinement standpoint.

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Volvo’s one-pedal drive is among the more effective on the market – its strength meaning you can do most of your low-speed urban driving without ever touching the brake pedal. It’s been slackened off in the new rear-wheel drive versions, but remains occasionally aggressive in its application on Twin-badged models.

The cabin has largely stood the test of time – remember, this is a car originally launched in petrol and diesel form way back in 2017. The central display perhaps feels a little small alongside rivals like the Model Y, but the digital instrument binnacle can show directions via Google Maps, and the layout is relatively clean. 

Ultimate models get some higher-quality trim including the option of our car’s Tailored Wool Blend Upholstery, which both looks and feels plush and premium. The lighter colourway – in conjunction with the full-length panoramic roof – really lifts the sense of space inside.

Speaking of which, the XC40 remains a more appropriate family car than the sleeker C40, though both fit the brief thanks to their spacious rear seats and clever storage solutions. The XC40’s boxier shape gives way to a bigger 452-litre boot, which should swallow bulky buggies or the occasional shopping spree.

Spec-wise, there are few discernable differences between what’s offered on the XC40, versus the standard spec sheet on the C40. The new Vapour Grey paint is included on the coupe, but you’ll pay extra for it here, while all XC40s get roof rails as standard – a benefit of this being the more practical of the two cars.

Model:Volvo XC40 Recharge Twin Ultimate
Price: £61,855
Powertrain: 82kWh (79kWh usable) battery, 2x e-motors
Power/torque: 402bhp/670Nm
Transmission: Single-speed auto, four-wheel drive
0-62mph: 4.8 seconds
Top speed: 112mph
Range/charging: 326 miles/200kW, 10-80% in 28 mins
On sale: Now
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Deputy editor

Richard has been part of the team for over a decade. During this time he has covered a huge amount of news and reviews for Auto Express, as well as being the face of Carbuyer and DrivingElectric on Youtube. In his current role as deputy editor, he is now responsible for keeping our content flowing and managing our team of talented writers.

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