Volvo goes to great lengths to emphasize how much time and effort they put into making their cars as safe as possible.
It has been her calling card for decades.
In fact, as I report elsewhere, they are promising some exceptional new systems in their upcoming electric flagship EX90, which will be revealed to the world in early November.
They tell us they will continue to work on safety “until no more cars crash, until we’re 100 percent carbon-free as a company.” It is a real and laudable endeavor.
Sometimes the extent of such ambition can be overlooked in the face of other, shall we say, more glamorous elements like slick infotainment screens and visual gimmicks.
I mention this because I’ve just ridden the latest XC40 Recharge, a mid-size electric crossover that’s packed with lots of safety features.
But Volvo isn’t just about safety. I think there’s one thing we don’t necessarily associate with some of his cars that easily and that’s how capable they can be.
The XC40 EV is a good example. It puts out 231 hp, a number that wouldn’t be out of place in a sporty BMW sedan.
The really nice thing about the XC40 in this single engine version that I tested is how it handles the demands that come with this kind of performance.
It’s such an important link to safety because if your car can’t respond to, or deal with, the pressure exerted by rapid acceleration, deceleration, cornering and varying road conditions, then you’re more likely to fail one risk of something going wrong.
That takes away the good and the fun of driving – fun with an electric car is okay, by the way.
I’m happy to say that the XC40 behaved impeccably and let me enjoy several rides behind the wheel, safe in the knowledge that it was doing exactly what it was supposed to be.
It certainly picked up pace at the slightest nudge of the right foot, but slowed down just as steadily when I eased off.
There wasn’t much body roll – a testament to a well-tuned suspension and well-balanced chassis.
The car now looks like part of a modern electric vehicle in every respect, with its “closed row” grille emphasizing a simple front end that doesn’t follow the fashion of having many angles and curves.
What about the inside?
A few weeks ago, I criticized the Polestar 2 for its boring cabin, blaming it heavily on what I described as the drab gray decor inside.
It just goes to show how important such elements can be. I’m sure some of you would like the Polestar interior. I’m sure most of you would like the color Fjord Blue in the Volvo cabin.
And maybe I would have liked the Polestar 2 more if the interior was blue rather than grey. These things are very much about personal taste. Make sure you are 100 percent satisfied with what you are offered. You have to live with your choice for a long time.
Overall, there wasn’t much to criticize about the Volvo – with one glaring exception.
I mention it with trepidation: voice recognition with Google Assistant. Maybe that should read “Voice not recognized”.
I promise you, I spoke clearly and my instructions were precise. But how come after a few tries it told me that the good friend I was trying to call didn’t exist or at least didn’t have a phone number?
I found this system used to make me angry. It just doesn’t work for me.
You might smile at my clumsiness and lack of tech skills (I’m not that bad), but if I let it get to me I would have been in danger of getting distracted, and that’s not a good idea.
Safety is a multifaceted phenomenon, and distraction is one of them. I’m open to corrections, but I’m a strong believer.
Let me end on a positive note. The seats in this car were exceptional. I really appreciated the pliable support, easy positioning and comfort that shortens longer rides.
This also has a safety aspect. A well-supervised driver who doesn’t have to change gears and change seat/steering wheel settings every few miles is a safe driver.
By the way, since this is a family crossover, there was plenty of room in the back.
would i buy it Well it’s pretty cheap for what you get. The Google voice feature would be off-putting, but I’d probably buy it if I still had a young family to drive around with. The fact that it is a powerful machine would be another attraction.
Volvo XC40 Recharge electric (single engine), 69kWh battery, front-wheel drive motor, 231hp, quoted range of 415km, road tax €120. Price: €53,980.
Specifications include: cruise control, 19″ alloy wheels, rear parking assist, dual-zone climate control, integrated trash can, 12.3″ driver display, 9″ T/screen, front cargo area (31 liters), voice recognition with Google assistant, under floor cargo area.
raft of driver assistance systems. “Ultimate” trim includes 360-degree all-round vision, pilot assist, ACC, 20″ alloys.
https://www.independent.ie/life/motoring/review-volvo-xc40-recharge-safety-and-power-fires-this-up-to-make-it-a-smooth-operator-42013485.html Review: Volvo XC40 Recharge – Safety and performance ensure smooth operation