Second Volvo XC40 plug-in hybrid launched

Volvo XC40 Recharge T4 manages 27 miles of electric range and starts at £39,130

Volvo XC40 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid
  • T4 PHEV avoids tax surcharge
  • Front-wheel drive
  • On sale now

The new Volvo XC40 Recharge T4 has joined the range, giving buyers a second plug-in hybrid option when buying an XC40 SUV. It’s not as powerful as the Recharge T5 PHEV but is a little cheaper and manages the same electric range. Prices start from £39,130 and first customers will take delivery in October 2020.

A 127bhp 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine is borrowed from the entry-level T2 Momentum Core model and is paired with the same 81bhp electric motor from the Recharge T5. Zero-to-62mph takes 8.5 seconds, around a second slower than the Recharge T5.

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The economy figures are identical to the more powerful PHEV, so Volvo claims 134.5mpg and an electric range of 27 miles. CO2 emissions start at 47g/km, so it’ll appeal to company-car drivers in particular thanks to a low 12% Benefit-in-Kind tax bracket.

Volvo XC40 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid
Volvo XC40 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid

Volvo seems to have created this model specifically to dip under the £40,000 threshold, meaning buyers don’t have to pay the £325 VED surcharge for cars that cost more than £40k. Both the R-Design and Inscription models start at under £40,000 before options.

At the same time, Volvo has axed all diesel engines from the XC40 range and introduced two mild-hybrid petrol engines. The discontinuation of diesel engines is part of Volvo’s electrification plan, which aims to get more buyers into plug-in hybrid versions or the fully electric XC40 Recharge P8.

What does it mean for car buyers?

If tax-busting is a key priority, the XC40 Recharge T4 will suit. But the T4 isn’t much cheaper than the T5 (the difference is about £1,900), and the T5 is quicker, has four-wheel drive and is just as economical. We don’t think the T4 offers anything particularly new, especially when the BMW X1 xDrive25e is cheaper to start with (prices start at £38,200) and offers more electric range.

The move away from diesel engines seems a little premature, too, and suggests that Volvo is focusing on business users ahead of private buyers. It means that if you can’t stretch to the £39,130 plug-in hybrid - which is £14,000 more than the cheapest XC40 - you can expect no more than 40mpg from your XC40.

Read our guides to the best luxury small cars and best small hybrid cars.

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