Tested: 2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Single Motor Doesn’t Quite Add Up

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Now in its fourth model year, Volvo’s battery-powered XC40 Recharge—the brand’s spearhead into the EV market—sees its first major change with the arrival of a rear-drive, single-motor model. Until now, the XC40 Recharge—and its slope-roofed, EV-only sibling, the C40—has been available exclusively with a muscled-up, dual-motor powertrain boasting 402 horsepower. The XC40 Recharge Single Motor, as it’s called, trades a bunch of those ponies for better range and a lower price point, but those benefits prove modest indeed.

The 248-hp Single Motor makes 310 pound-feet of torque, and it drives the rear wheels (just like a classic brick 240!). That horsepower figure may be well shy of the Twin Motor, but it’s fully competitive with rival single-motor electric SUVs. The Volvo’s output bests the Mercedes-Benz EQB250+, Audi Q4 e-tron, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Nissan Ariya, and Lexus RZ300e, but it’s short of the top-spec versions of the Volkswagen ID.4, the Ford Mustang Mach-E, and the mechanically related Polestar 2.

HIGHS: EPA range increases to 293 miles, improved ride versus earlier models, six-year-old styling still looks fresh.

At the test track, 60 mph arrives in 6.5 seconds, while the quarter-mile passes in 15.2 seconds at 91 mph. That effort leaves this XC40 in its dual-motor sibling’s proverbial dust—the beefier brother stormed to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds in our testing and zoomed through the quarter-mile in 12.9 seconds at 108 mph. But the Single Motor Volvo is hardly a laggard. It’s quicker than the 238-hp front-drive Ariya and (just barely) the rear-drive Kia EV6, even if it’s not as spry as the also newly rear-drive Polestar 2.

That said, the XC40 isn’t some hard-edged machine that fosters Max Verstappen fantasies. And whereas foot-to-the-floor acceleration in the Twin Motor version can feel frenetic—particularly with the rather casual body control afforded by this chassis—the Single Motor XC40 seems brisk and confident as it easily squirts through traffic or merges onto the freeway. Skidpad grip is a modest 0.83 g, and the steering offers a choice of reasonable or slightly higher effort. Stops from 70 mph take just 166 feet, and brake modulation is fairly good. For liftoff regen, drivers can choose none (the standard setup) or a one-pedal driving mode.

The Single Motor benefits from the same chassis revisions that were visited upon the Twin Motor version: softer springs, revised dampers, and a new rear subframe. Although our test car rolled on 20-inch wheels with 235/45R-20 front and 255/40R-20 rear tires—up from standard 19s—ride quality seemed markedly better than the last XC40 Recharge we tested, with the car thumping firmly but not harshly over broken pavement.

With a curb weight of 4559 pounds, this XC40 is 232 pounds slimmer than the last dual-motor version we tested; combine that with a slight battery upgrade—now 79.0 kilowatt-hours, versus the previous 75.0-kWh unit (still found in the dual-motor XC40)—and you get an EPA range estimate of 293 miles, a 39-mile advantage over the 2024 Twin Motor XC40. With same battery pack, the single-motor Polestar 2 gets a 320-mile EPA estimate.

LOWS: Real-world highway range falls short, only modest cost savings over Twin Motor models, purchase not eligible for federal tax credit.

The XC40 Single Motor may well achieve 293 miles in urban driving, but in our 75-mph highway range test, it fell well short at just 190 miles, a disappointing result that was only 10 miles better than we achieved with the dual-motor 2021 XC40. It was also surprising given that the Polestar 2 with this same battery managed 250 miles in this same test, a huge difference for these corporate siblings.

Looking further at that result, we should acknowledge that the raw, unadjusted number for the XC40 was actually 198 miles, but as with all EVs, we round down to the nearest 10-mile increment so as not to overstate the number (most drivers aren’t going to wring out the very last mile of range on the highway, particularly since they can’t magically conjure up an EV charging station at the exact point where the battery runs dry). Significantly, the Polestar was rolling on 19-inch wheels versus the Volvo’s 20s. If you compare the automaker-supplied coast-down data, the XC40 on 20s requires 23 percent more energy to maintain 75 mph than does the Polestar 2 on 19s (34.0 horsepower vs. 27.6), which is very close to the difference between the two range results. With EVs, aerodynamics and wheel size really matter.

Volvo says the XC40 Recharge Single Motor can slurp electrons at a max rate of 200 kilowatts (against 150 kilowatts for the Twin Motor XC40), but that also didn’t quite pan out in our testing. The max rate we saw was 150 kilowatts, and to add 100 miles of highway range would take 20 minutes. Again, the Polestar 2 fared better with the same battery pack, reaching a peak charging rate of 205 kilowatts.

The rest of the XC40 is largely unchanged, and it’s a testament to Volvo’s current design language that the car still looks and feels this fresh in its sixth model year (the gas-fed XC40 debuted for 2019). The XC40 is spare and modern, if not quite as futuristic as the Kia EV6. Natty gray wool-blend seat upholstery is available in the top-spec Ultimate. Faux-leather and a suede-like material are the other two choices. The absence of a front motor does not make for a larger frunk; the small space is sized about right to carry the charging cable but little more.

The XC40 Recharge pioneered Volvo’s latest infotainment and its Google-based operating system, which is lag-free. The screen is on the small side, however, and having most climate-control functions on-screen is poor ergonomics. Wireless device charging is on hand, as are Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

The Single Motor XC40 is available in the same three trim levels as its extra-motor sibling: Core, Plus, and Ultimate. In each, bypassing the Twin Motor upgrade will save buyers $1750. We might have hoped for greater savings—Single Motor base prices range from $53,745 to $60,095, and the model is not eligible for the federal EV tax credit unless the car is leased.

VERDICT: We don’t mind trading away some quickness but wish there was more upside.

The XC40 Single Motor’s driving demeanor strikes us as a better fit for the EV-intending Volvo faithful than the muscular Twin Motor model. But this car would make a stronger case if it better delivered on its more parsimonious promise.



2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Single Motor
Vehicle Type: rear-motor, rear-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon


Base/As Tested: $53,745/$60,095

Options: Ultimate trim (panoramic sunroof with power sunshade, heat pump, heated rear seats, Harman/Kardon premium sound system, heated steering wheel, power seats, air purifier, 20-inch wheels), $6350


Motor: permanent-magnet synchronous AC, 248 hp, 310 lb-ft
Battery Pack: liquid-cooled lithium-ion, 79.0 kWh
Onboard Charger: 11.0 kW
Peak DC Fast-Charge Rate: 200 kW
Transmission: direct-drive


Suspension, F/R: struts/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 13.6-in vented disc/13.4-in vented disc
Tires: Pirelli Scorpion Zero All Season Elect
F: 235/45R-20 100H M+S VOL
R: 255/40R-20 101H M+S VOL


Wheelbase: 106.4 in
Length: 174.8 in
Width: 73.3 in
Height: 64.8 in
Passenger Volume, F/R: 50/45 ft3
Cargo Volume, Behind F/R: 58/22 ft3
Curb Weight: 4559 lb


60 mph: 6.5 sec
1/4-Mile: 15.2 sec @ 91 mph
100 mph: 19.7 sec
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 6.6 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 2.4 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 3.6 sec
Top Speed (gov ltd): 115 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 166 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.83 g


Observed: 69 MPGe
75-mph Highway Range: 190 mi
Average DC Fast-Charge Rate, 10–90%: 85 kW
DC Fast-Charge Time, 10–90%: 48 min


Combined/City/Highway: 106/118/95 MPGe
Range: 293 mi


Joe Lorio has been obsessed with cars since his Matchbox days, and he got his first subscription to Car and Driver at age 11. Joe started his career at Automobile Magazine under David E. Davis Jr., and his work has also appeared on websites including Amazon Autos, Autoblog, AutoTrader, Hagerty, Hemmings, KBB, and TrueCar.

Source: Reviews -


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