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Volvo’s ageing mid-size electric SUV gets a name change. Does that help bring it back on trend?

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They’ve rebadged it, you fool! This Partridgism was originally shouted about the Rover 100, but we’re using it here as shorthand to explain the new Volvo EX40.

It is, in fact, virtually mechanically identical to the electric version of the Volvo XC40, the Recharge.

The name change is to bring it in line with the rest of Volvo’s electric SUV range, such as the forthcoming Volvo EX90.

The ‘Recharge’ tag will be binned, but the XC40 moniker will survive purely for the petrols.

This means the EX40 will get a small-battery (66kWh) single-motor 235bhp rear-wheel-drive model and a large-battery (79kWh) 402bhp four-wheel-drive model.

There is now a Performance Pack for the 4WD model, which ups power to 436bhp.

The EX40’s rivals are the same as the XC40 Recharge's too. The Skoda Enyaq shares the EX40’s straight-laced demeanour, the BMW iX1 is perhaps aiming for a slightly younger audience, Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 is a lot zanier and the Tesla Model Y is thoroughly different throughout.

As you can see from the photos, we have only driven the EX40 on snow and ice with studded Michelin X-Ice tyres.

So these are our initial impressions, tied in with our extensive knowledge of the XC40 Recharge.



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The only visual difference between the XC40 Recharge and EX40 is the badge on the back.

There is likely to be the addition of a Black Edition in the UK soon, basically adding black badging, black wheels and the Performance Pack - although this will most likely be able to be specced separately too.

In a change from the old car, there will probably be a big-battery long-range RWD model coming up.

As with the old XC40 Recharge, RWD models have a synchronous design for the front motor, while 4WD cars adopt a twin-motor set-up, with a more efficient asynchronous secondary front drive motor.


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You’ve guessed it. Exactly the same as the XC40 Recharge. This means there’s no ignition or starter button in here. Get in, select drive and off you go. Although there is a little blanking plate where the on button would be for the petrol XC40.

Plenty of buttons in here, including a physical on/off/volume control for the stereo and big, easy-to-read ones on the steering wheel.

The car’s Google-powered 9.0in portrait infotainment system is in charge of the other controls. It’s fast and smooth and offers useful shortcuts for the drive assistance tech.

It works well but is beginning to look a touch old compared with rivals. The Hyundai Ioniq 5 feels practically space age in comparison.

Driver comfort is strong. You sit high up with a clear view ahead and the seats offer lots of adjustment, including lumber support.

Space in the rear is more cramped. Adults will not want to travel great distances in them. But there are at least USB-C charging ports.

The EX40’s 452-litre boot isn’t the largest in the small SUV class (the Model Y’s is cavernous in comparison) but it does at least have a small front boot for a bit more storage space, primarily for the charging cables.


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So far, we’ve tested only the big-battery model with the Performance Pack. And we’ve only sampled it on ice and snow.

Even in slippery conditions (admittedly shod in appropriately studded tyres), it is fast. No official 0-62mph time yet, but it will be a smidge faster than the standard EX40. So expect it to be around the 7.0sec mark.

Acceleration is strong but it feels metered out because you need to press the throttle relatively hard to achieve full torque, even when it’s in full-on Performance mode. 

Brake regen is simple enough. There's a one-pedal setting and a middle-ground automatic mode that slows itself at lower speeds and when approaching junctions but otherwise coasts. No full manual control of battery regeneration.

The car’s brake pedal progression (for when you haven’t got one-pedal driving selected) is solid and predictable, blending friction and regen retardation almost seamlessly.


volvo ex40 10

It is perhaps a tad early to give it much of a dynamic review because of the test circumstances. But our on-road knowledge of the XC40 Recharge tells us the EX40 will almost definitely have suppleness to spare and a composed low-speed ride. 

It will also not really be the electric SUV for keen drivers as it errs on the side of control, safety and slight numbness. Unlike with some rivals, it doesn’t have an ESC kind-of-off mode that allows for a little added sparkle and fun, for instance.

On ice, the Volvo’s steering was consistent with a slow lope that was measured, predictable and easy to control.


volvo ex40 01

No official data yet. But in the XC40 Recharge, the 66kWh-battery single-motor model had an official range of 294 miles. However, our real-world testing in the British winter revealed that it would do only around 200 miles.

The twin-motor set-up with a larger, 79kWh battery had an official range of up to 332 miles - with another one of our tests in the same British winter concluding a real-world range of about 230 miles.

If the big-battery RWD model (likely to be named Single Motor Extended Range) comes to the UK, it will have an official range of around 350 miles.


volvo ex40 08

It’s too early to give it a full verdict. But the EX40, so far, is showing the same hallmarks as the XC40 Recharge. 

It’s desirable, well packaged and bang on trend, with a more sensible infotainment set-up than its smaller EX30 sibling too.

Sure, rationally speaking, there are cheaper options that go further on a charge. And there are more practical options out there. And flashier, more modern options.

But they lack the charm, steadfastness and market positioning of the Volvo.

Murray Scullion

Murray Scullion
Title: Digital editor

Murray has been a journalist for more than a decade. During that time he’s written for magazines, newspapers and websites, but he now finds himself as Autocar’s digital editor.

He leads the output of the website and contributes to all other digital aspects, including the social media channels, podcasts and videos. During his time he has reviewed cars ranging from £50 - £500,000, including Austin Allegros and Ferrari 812 Superfasts. He has also interviewed F1 megastars, knows his PCPs from his HPs and has written, researched and experimented with behavioural surplus and driverless technology.

Murray graduated from the University of Derby with a BA in Journalism in 2014 and has previously written for Classic Car Weekly, Modern Classics Magazine,, and CAR Magazine, as well as