For those looking for a sub compact that reassures you on safety, without sacrificing speed and fun; then look no further then the Volvo XC40c, available in a variety of engine and fuel options. Today we are comparing the practicality of 2024 Volvo XC40 B5 Ultimate with the 2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge Twin.
In this post the B5 Ultimate is in a grey blue and the Recharge Twin is soft grey. Although the easiest way to tell the two apart is via their grills. The mild hybrid has the traditional ventilated front with the option to go all dark (as pictured) or give it some shine with the “bright” option, opting for some silver chrome detail on the vents.
The 2024 Volvo XC40 model as a whole continues to serve Scandinavian style and elements for a modern world. At its core the XC40 boasts little “luxuries like smartphone connectivity, heated front seats, and a power-adjustable driver’s seat with memory settings and four-way lumbar support.” (As taken from the Volvo website). The Core Recharge is all the above, but designed to reduce your carbon footprint. It has the ability to add longevity to your drive through its fully electric powertrain.
The Plus model comes with a panoramic roof, and the Plus Recharge takes it a step further with premium features, like power-folding rear head restraints, which make it easier to fully flatten the rear seats when you need to load cargo in.
The 2024 Volvo XC40 Ultimate is for the audio-focused, equipped with a 13-speaker Harman Kardon premium sound system. And the Ultimate Recharge includes heated rear seats, to keep the whole family warm.
Six different builds to suit your needs, each with the same stylish, solid and heavy Volvo frame as its base. Therefore your choice is between the modern features you deem essential for your daily commute and the engine.
And despite the larger battery pack in tow we still found the XC40 fast as a great SUV, with nimble handling and an easy to park compact size. This is overall surprising given that Volvos are built up more than they should be, as they are designed to withstand a crash.
They promise their drivers serenity “knowing that the all new XC40 has the latest safety technologies incorporated into every seam”. The following list includes safety features that are found on all three of the XC40 trim levels: Volvo On Call with Car Sharing, Side Impact Protection System, Whiplash Protection System, Inflatable Curtain, Lane keeping aid, Automatic braking after collision, City Safety Collision Avoidance Technology, Brake pedal release, and Oncoming lane mitigation.
The interior has Volvo’s trademark minimalist approach with clean Swedish design.
The seats are on the narrow side, but still comfortable for the average person. There is a good use of the centre screen versus how many physical buttons there are. Similarly, there is a good use space, with plenty of rear room versus trunk space. On the whimsical side is their iconic geometric panels. They appear solid black by day and have a reflective glow by night. And interesting lighting features that catches the eye. And as promised the difference that Harman Kardon makes on the sound quality is evident.
A challenging note that is seasonally specific is the staggered set up. The front wheel and rims versus the back two are of different width and sizes. This allows for better handling and more stability in the back, but for long term driving you aren’t able to rotate your tires. This off pairing also makes it challenging to find mismatch winter tires. You are able to replace this with a square set up, but still have the hassle of having to find new rims and tires to begin with.
Overall great quality for a good price for both. However, I would steer towards the 2024 Volvo XC40 B5 Ultimate over the fully electric model. The range is not the best on the latter, around 340km in cold; add 30km to that in optimal conditions. And worse if your home isn’t equipped with super charging capabilities (basement suite, condo, or older apartment complex) the struggle to find an available port and the time you have to commit to charging it is hefty. Not to mention if your building does have one, but it isn’t super charging, with set time allotments you are in just as tough of a spot.
Case in point, the true account of our EV charging dilemma below. As much as I can imagine my life with and electric vehicle, the inconvenience of having to deal with the following weekly, steers me away.
We struggled to find a super charger near us. Mid afternoon, our usual go-to had a line for one of two outlets, and a 40 minute courtesy wait. So we opted to try at a gas station nearby that advertised a fast charger, along side regular petrol options. Long story short what started off strong as a 1% per 30 second charge rate fizzled with the warning that the unit was not charging to its full capacity, due to energy saving measures. Fast forward 60 minutes in we went from 15% to 55%. Being disappointed with the results then doubled back to our original location and were lucky to catch a free pump. We plugged in and took a nap, within the car to wait (side note the Volvo has firm seats, great for a structured cat nap). We lost track of time and were eventually awaken by an angry EV owner rapping on the driver window, declaring our 40 minutes was up. Still dazed, we took his word for face value and drove away. The figured at 40 minutes we went from 55% to 90%. Better than the first option, but it did not get us to a full tank. That would have required another lap around the block and a return trip we could not allocate more time to.
So if and went charging becomes faster and more accessible, I will and can entertain the idea of a fully electric vehicle such as the XC40 Recharge Twin. But for now the XC40 B5 Ultimate gets my vote with the full slew of electric features, quality speakers, and the ability to fuel as you need to and save with plug in when you can.