Volvo XC40 T4 Recharge: An expensive and chic Swedish plug-in hybrid
Volvo has always designed cars that are distinct, original and full of personality. He is one of the few manufacturers whose vehicles are recognizable at first glance. The XC40, very square and rather short for the category, looks a bit like a 4×4 from yesteryear. It has been on our roads for five years now without a crease. Kudos to the designers. Sober, balanced, elegant lines, without aggressiveness or frills. The chic what! Voted Car of the Year in March 2018, the XC40 stands out from the rest of the family while maintaining a strong identity.
Very Volvo interior
The interior is more geometric than the big Volvos. But like the exterior silhouette, we immediately recognize a Gothenburg-branded cabin. The atmosphere is welcoming, subdued, relaxing, you haven’t seen me – unlike the current Audis, BMWs or Mercedes. Too bad, however, that Volvo makes its gloomy moods! For a little more cheerfulness, you must opt for the beige leather option. Otherwise it’s black, black. Where has the heat of yesteryear gone from Nordic cars? Volvo is depriving itself of one of its great traditional selling points. Granted, our black-trimmed vehicle sported blue fabric on the door panels and floor mat. But this marriage of black and blue isn’t terrible. The Swedes had accustomed us to more harmony.
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Fortunately, the level of quality is right. It’s clean, tidy, strict. But the plastics don’t come close to those of the XC60 or V60. Nothing serious though. Full of attractive details, such as heating with Scandinavian electricity. The audio system also offers exceptional sound. But the black plastic inserts miss the aluminum and wood of yesteryear. Our model was equipped with comfortable seat covers, a mix of “Alcantara” (suede imitation) for the seat and artificial leather – that’s much less chic! – for the edges. Despite the plastic side, we recommend this €1,200 option for our Plus version, whose soft feel blends well with the overall softness of this car. We otherwise appreciate the livability, the practical trunk, but with the average capacity, the excellent accessibility due to the square shapes.
Ergonomics initially seemed despicable when the Volvo XC90 launched in 2015, foreshadowing the company’s new screen configuration. But the other manufacturers have done so much worse since… the Volvo screen is easier to use than the Volkswagen or Peugeot screen. Also, there is no need to reconnect the unbearable line change alarm every time you start. This happens once and for all. Ultimately, as competitors become more totalitarian, Volvo is proving to be less intrusive.
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