Volvo C40 Recharge review

Volvo C40 Recharge

Volvo is doing its bit to save the planet, and it has an ambitious plan for a zero emissions future.

By 2025, 50% of its global sales will consist of fully electric cars. By 2030, it aims to sell only EVs before turning “climate neutral” 10 years later.

The Swedish car maker’s latest model, the C40 Recharge, is a case in point. It’s electric-only (there will be no petrol or hybrid variants) and it’s manufactured using a variety of sustainable materials.

Volvo C40 Recharge

For instance, the carpets are made from 71 recycled plastic PET bottles, and thanks to renewable wool fibres, it’s the first Volvo to feature leather-free upholstery.

You could even say the car itself has something of a recycled feel to it because it shares its EV powertrain and much of its body with the XC40 – Volvo’s big-selling SUV.

Unlike its sibling, it’s sleeker with a lower roof line and steeply-raked rear window, while the front end introduces a new face for electric Volvos. Here, the signature Thor’s Hammer headlights are augmented with pixel technology designed to avoid dazzling other road users.

Volvo C40 Recharge

It’s also fitted with the latest version of Volvo’s infotainment system, jointly developed with Google and based on the Android operating system.

So now there’s access to Google Play apps and services like Google Assistant and Google Maps. It’s also capable of over-the-air updates, which means the car is constantly kept up to speed with the latest software.

The voice commands (prompted by “Hey Google”) usefully cut down on the swiping, pinching and scrolling otherwise needed to control the features within 9.0-inch central touchscreen.

Volvo C40 Recharge

C is for Crossover and Volvo claims the C40 Recharge provides buyers with the high seating position that its owners prefer. The reality is that there’s very little difference between the siblings apart from the design.

And I don’t mean that in a bad way because the pure electric XC40 Recharge is a fantastic package, offering the combination of style, practicality, performance and a decent range of up to 259 miles.

The C40’s lower roof line looks smarter and makes it more aerodynamic, resulting in a higher range of 273 miles.

It also differs from other models in the Volvo range because it can only be bought online and it’s also available with a ‘Care by Volvo’ package (monthly subscription from £729) which offers a warranty, servicing and roadside assistance, as well as insurance and home charging options where available.

Volvo C40 Recharge

At launch there’s just one version of the C40 Recharge available with an eye-watering ticket price of £57,400, though in time we can expect other more affordable specs.

Like the XC40 Recharge, the C40 has twin electric motors – one on the front and one on the rear axle – and is powered by a 78kWh battery that can be fast-charged from 10 to 80% in about 40 minutes (via a 150kW rapid charger).

Inside the factory

We were given a quick tour of Volvo’s impressive state-of-the-art plant at Ghent in Belgium, where the C40 is assembled on the same production line as the XC40 and V60 estate.

Volvo C40 Recharge production line in Ghent, Belgium

Volvo is increasing EV capacity at the facility to 135,000 cars per year, and already expects more than half of the plant’s production volume in 2022 to consist of fully electric cars.

On the road, the C40 offers the same combination of blistering performance and polished road manners as the XC40 Recharge.

Developing a combined 402hp, it can sprint from 0-62mph in just 4.7 seconds, which is almost supercar fast. Plant your right foot on an A road and before you know it, you’re travelling at the legal limit.

Volvo C40 Recharge

The ride is smooth and refined, the light steering is sharp and it handles well for a relatively heavy crossover.

There’s surprisingly good body control in faster, more challenging corners and plenty of traction thanks to all-wheel drive.

The brakes are progressive, which is relatively rare in EVs, and the regenerative braking system (which recovers kinetic energy otherwise lost during braking to recharge the battery) works well, especially in one-pedal mode where a simple lift off the accelerator is usually enough to slow the car down without using the brakes.

Volvo C40 Recharge

Ultimately, the C40 is a smoothie, at its best cruising. And as most EV drivers will tell you, the challenge of squeezing as much range as possible out of the battery is irresistible, so apart from the odd burst of instant-torque acceleration, it’s more about economical driving.

I have a few criticisms. I would have liked some drive modes (no Sport or Normal – just one-pedal or not). And even though the C40 Recharge ticks lots of eco-friendly boxes, the lack of leather and Scandi chic wood veneers made the interior less special to me.

The lower roofline also results in a slight headroom penalty for rear passengers six-foot or over, while the rear window itself is more post box than panoramic, so the view behind is on the challenging side.

Volvo C40 Recharge

The C40 has less boot space than the XC40 Recharge, but there’s still a useful 413 litres of luggage capacity (down from 452 litres), or a total of 1,205 litres if you flip the 60/40 split rear bench (1,328 litres). That said, rear passenger legroom is generous.

Up front there’s a 31-litre compartment under the bonnet – ideal for storing charging cables. There are also plenty of storage spaces scattered inside the cabin for phones, water bottles and other clutter.

Needless to say, like all Volvos, the C40 is packed with the latest safety and driver assistance tech as standard, including lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic alert, autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and a 360-degree parking camera which makes it easier to get in and out of tight spaces.

However, at this price the C40 is up against tough EV competition – everything from the Hyundai Kona Electric, Skoda Enyaq and Kia e-Niro up to the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Polestar 2, Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron and Mercedes EQA.

Verdict: The stylish new Volvo C40 Recharge is a class act, blending performance, practicality and refinement with a good EV range and extensive safety features. At launch, the sole top-of-the-range model is on the expensive side, but in time the C40 will become more attainable as other variants are offered.

Volvo Cars UK

Cupra Formentor review

Cupra Formentor review

You’ve got to hand it to Cupra, SEAT’s sporty spin-off brand. To take a generic SUV like the Ateca and transform it into a bold, head-turning coupe-crossover is no mean feat.

In fact, the first fully-fledged Cupra model looks like nothing else on the market in its price bracket.

Athletic with a sculpted profile, muscular wheel arches and an elegantly extensive bonnet, it’s longer and sits lower than most school-run SUVs.

Cupra Formentor review

Add Cupra’s trademark copper-coloured alloy wheels, distinctive badge and full-width rear light bar, and you have a car that oozes kerb appeal.

Priced from £28,270 and available with 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre turbo petrol engines, plus a 1.4-litre plug-in hybrid, there’s something for everybody.

Our range-topping test car (badged 2.0 TSI 4Driven) developed 306bhp, sported four-wheel drive, a seven-speed DSG auto gearbox and a ticket price just north of £40,000.

Cupra Formentor review

With a 0-62mph time of 4.9 seconds and a top speed of 155mph, the performance figures speak for themselves.

The claimed fuel economy of 31.4-33.2mpg (you’ll have to restrain yourself in real-world driving to hit 30mpg) and CO2 emissions of 193g/km also tell a story.

However, this version of the Formentor is all about power and handling, so if you want to ease your eco conscience, opt for the plug-in hybrid.

Cupra Formentor review

It’s a class act inside too with subtle copper flourishes throughout, leather upholstery, soft-touch surfaces and supportive sports seats, plus it’s hard to fault the build quality.

A bright and clear 12-inch touchscreen is the nerve centre of an otherwise smart, fairly minimalist dashboard. Like most other new Volkswagen Group cars, there’s a lot of swiping and prodding even to access the most basic of infotainment functions such as climate control, though we had some success with the voice control system.

On the plus side, as well as gear-shifting paddles, the sporty flat-bottomed steering wheel also incorporates a handy drive mode button, just like a Porsche 911 (a great shortcut for selecting for Sport).

Cupra Formentor review

Hit the Start button (also on the steering wheel) and the Cupra fires up, emitting a purposeful growl, though purists will whinge that it’s enhanced via the audio system.

Spacious with ample room for adults in the back and lots of space for stowing smaller items, it has a decent boot capacity of 450 litres, stretching to 1,475 litres with the rear seats folded.

On the road it feels every bit as fast as the stats indicate with plenty of torque on tap, while the dual-cutch transmission efficiently pumps through the gears.

Cupra Formentor review

Thanks partly to its low-slung design, the Cupra is as agile as it handsome, feeling more like an overgrown hot hatch than a 4×4.

Add sharp steering that’s quick and light at low speeds, a comfortable ride and serious amounts of grip, and you have a crossover that can be fun on more challenging roads, yet also effortless on longer hauls.

Cupra Formentor review

It’s safe too, achieving a maximum five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests. Standard safety features for the Formentor include Front Assist with auto emergency braking (AEB) and pedestrian detection, along with side and exit assist, emergency steering, junction assist, lane assist and e-call that will alert the emergency services if the car is involved in a heavy collision.

Verdict: In these days of generic SUV design, Cupra has dared to be different with its athletic Formentor coupe-crossover, which delivers dynamism, performance, practicality, style and the latest technology.

Cupra Official UK

Cupra Formentor review

Hyundai Tucson crowned ‘Car of the Year’

Gareth Herincx

1 day ago
Auto News

Hyundai Tucson Hybrid review

Hyundai’s impressive new Tucson SUV has been named best car in Britain by leading motoring title, Carbuyer.

Thes judges were bowled over by the Tucson’s eye-catching styling, smart interior, clever technology and nimble yet comfortable driving experience.

As well as being named Carbuyer Car of the Year 2022, the mid-size SUV also scooped the coveted Best Family Car and Best Hybrid Car awards.

Hyundai enjoyed success elsewhere, too, with its innovative Ioniq 5 taking Best Family Electric Car and Best Company Car trophies, while the swift i20 N was named Best Hot Hatchback.

“To win six awards including overall Car of the Year for our best-selling Tucson is another outstanding result for Hyundai and is testament to the design, quality, capability and value offered by our current model line-up,” said Ashley Andrew, Managing Director at Hyundai Motor UK.

Carbuyer Car of the Year 2022 winners

New cars
Carbuyer Car of the Year – Hyundai Tucson
Best Small Car – Renault Clio
Best Small Family Car – Renault Captur
Best Family Car – Hyundai Tucson
Best Large Family Car – Kia Sorento
Best Estate Car Skoda – Octavia Estate
Best Small Company Car – Volkswagen ID.3
Best Company Car – Hyundai IONIQ 5
Best Large Company Car – Porsche Taycan
Best Sports Car – BMW 4 Series
Best Convertible – MINI Convertible
Best Hot Hatchback – Hyundai i20 N
Best Hot SUV – Cupra Formentor
Best Pickup – Ford Ranger
Best Small Electric Car – Renault ZOE
Best Family Electric Car – Hyundai IONIQ 5
Best Large Electric Car – Jaguar I-Pace
Best Hybrid – Hyundai Tucson
Best Plug-in Hybrid – Mercedes-Benz A 250 e
Best Large Plug-in Hybrid – BMW X5

Used cars
Carbuyer Used Car of the Year – Ford Fiesta
Best Used Small Car – Ford Fiesta
Best Used Small Family Car – Kia Ceed
Best Used Family Car – Vauxhall Insignia
Best Used Large Family Car – Skoda Kodiaq
Best Used Estate Car – Skoda Octavia Estate
Best Used Sports Car – Mazda MX-5
Best Used Convertible – MINI Convertible
Best Used Hot Hatchback – Volkswagen Golf GTI
Best Used Hot SUV – Porsche Macan
Best Used Pickup – Toyota Hilux
Best Used Small Electric Car – BMW i3
Best Used Family Electric Car – Nissan Leaf
Best Used Large Electric Car – Tesla Model S
Best Used Hybrid – Toyota Prius
Best Used Plug-in Hybrid – Kia Niro PHEV

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Volvo XC60 review

Volvo XC60 review

We drive the updated version of this Swedish premium mid-sized SUV

It’s been a while since I’ve driven an XC60. To be exact, it was 2017 when the current second-generation model was launched.

A lot has changed since then for Volvo, which has just enjoyed record sales in the first half of 2021, driven by demand for its electrified cars.

Every Volvo model currently on sale has some form of electrification, whether it’s mild hybrid, plug-in hybrid or all-electric.

Volvo XC60 review

Globally the ‘Recharge’ range of fully electric and plug-in hybrids account for 24.6% of sales and by 2030 Volvo is aiming to have a 100% pure electric line-up.

And the XC60 is a popular as ever. In fact, in the first half of 2021, it was the 10th biggest-selling plug-in hybrid on sale in the UK.

Despite its success, Volvo has decided to treat the XC60 to a refresh. It would be an exaggeration to say it’s radical, but then ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.

Volvo XC60 review

Externally there’s a revamped front grille, sportier bumpers at the front and rear, hidden rear exhaust pipes, plus new colour choices and alloy wheel options.

Inside, there are improved graphics in the driver’s digital display, but the big change is that the large centre infotainment touchscreen is now powered by the brand’s Android-based software instead of the Sensus system of the past.

So now there’s access to Google Play apps and services like Google Assistant and Google Maps. It’s also capable of over-the-air updates, which means the car is constantly kept up to speed with the latest software. Volvo has also upped the XC60’s driver assistance and safety tech.

Volvo XC60 review

Starting from £42,485, the range consists of a mix of mild hybrids (petrol and diesel) badged B4, B5 or B6. There are also plug-in hybrids (T6 or T8). All versions have varying outputs and four-wheel drive, except the B5 petrol which is available with front or AWD.

In a nutshell, the mild-hybrid system utilises a small 48-volt battery to help reduce emissions and improve fuel consumption, while the PHEVs have a slightly larger 11.6kWh high-voltage battery, which also enables the car to travel up to 32 miles on electric power alone when fully charged.

I sampled the B6 (300hp) mild hybrid petrol, plus the T6 (340hp) and the T8 (390hp) plug-in hybrids which all have a four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbo engine in various stats of tune at their heart and a sweet-shifting eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Volvo XC60 review

All three can be recommended, though my choice would be the T6, because it offers the best balance between power and economy. However, to get maximum benefit it’s best to have a charger at home or work..

The B6 does the job, especially if you are unable to plug in at home, but the engine is a little harsher when it’s worked hard, while claimed fuel economy of 30-34mpg and CO2 emissions of 190-213g/km are not hugely impressive these days.

The T8 is effortlessly fast and sounds meaty in Power drive mode, but ultimately the cheaper T6 will do just fine.

Volvo XC60 review

Offering a potential 113mpg (if you keep your battery charged up and your journeys are modest) and CO2 emissions as low as 55g/km, like the T8, the T6 also delivers significant tax savings for business users.

If your commute is short or you just use your XC60 locally, your journeys to the petrol stations could be rare because a good deal of your motoring could be spent in 100% electric mode. On longer trips, we’d expect economy to be north of 50mpg.

In Hybrid mode the switch between electric and petrol propulsion is almost seamless, and there’s plenty of power (0-60mph in just 5.6 seconds).

Volvo XC60 review

Unless really pushed, the engine is refined and the ride comfortable, while grip is superb. The XC60 feels surprisingly agile for its size and weight, while more spirited drivers will find that body roll is well controlled on more challenging roads.

As before, there’s a real quality feel inside the cabin and plenty of Scandi chic if you choose the lighter wood trim options.

You sit high up, so visibility is excellent and there’s plenty of space in the back for passengers. Luggage capacity is a useful 468 litres, or 1,395 litres with the rear seats folded.

Volvo XC60 review

The battery can be recharged from home in as little as two and a half hours. There’s also regenerative braking which recovers kinetic energy otherwise lost during braking in order to reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

You can also boost the process going down hills, for instance, by flicking the gearshift to B mode.

Finally, a special mention for the Google Assistant feature, first seen in the XC40 Recharge. Simply say “Hey Google” to get started and ask it to change radio channel, call a contact or set a new destination – all without taking your hands off the wheel or your eyes off the road. 

Verdict: Handsome, practical, classy, comfortable and sporting the latest safety and infotainment tech, the updated Volvo XC60 mid-sized SUV is better than ever.

Volvo Cars UK

Skoda Enyaq iV review

Skoda Enyaq iV

Skoda’s first purpose-built electric vehicle is a revelation. In short, the Enyaq iV is the embodiment of the company’s winning blend of space, comfort, economy and value for money.

Closely related to its Volkswagen Group cousin, the ID.4, the Enyaq iV is a big SUV available with either a 62kWh or 82kWh battery, offering claimed ranges of between 256-331 miles.

A tad bigger and better looking than the ID.4, its distinctive design delivers serious road presence and excellent practicality.

Skoda Enyaq iV

Awarded a maximum five stars in Euro NCAP’s vigorous new testing regime, it’s also one of the safest cars on the road.

Autonomous emergency braking (AEB), road-sign recognition, lane-keep assist and cruise control are fitted as standard, along with Isofix points front and rear.

The Enyaq iV 60 uses a 62kWh battery and a 178bhp electric motor, with power fed to the rear wheels, resulting in a 0-62mph time of 8.8 seconds and up to 256 miles.

Skoda Enyaq iV

The Enyaq iV 80 has an 82kWh battery and 201bhp electric motor, again driving the rear wheels (331-mile range and 0-62mph in 8.7 seconds), while the four-wheel-drive ’80x’ has two electric motors, delivering 261bhp of power, a 6.9-second 0-62mph time and a range of 303 miles.

Priced from £32,010 (including the £2,500 Government EV grant), it represents fantastic value for money. Inside, there’s bags of room for all the family, lots of clever small storage spaces and a 585-litre boot, expanding to 1,710 litres with the rear seats folded.

There are six different interior trims to choose from, including recycled cloth. Up front it’s minimalist with few buttons. The large touchscreen infotainment display is less fiddly than the ID.4’s and there are piano-style buttons below to shortcut the key functions.

Skoda Enyaq iV

Despite its large dimensions and two-tonne weight, our Skoda Enyaq iV 80 test car didn’t feel like a handful on the road at all.

In fact, it’s more agile than you may expect, no doubt helped by its low-slung batteries and excellent weight distribution.

Effortlessly fast and gloriously refined, the ride is comfortable and there’s little body roll in more challenging corners.

Skoda Enyaq iV

The steering is accurate and nicely weighted, meaning that tighter manoeuvres are easier than you might think. And for a rear-wheel drive car, there’s an impressive amount of grip.

In other words, it is possible to have fun in an Enyaq, especially in Sport mode which gives maximum acceleration and performance. However, on longer cruises, Eco will do just fine as you endeavour to squeeze as many miles out of the battery pack as possible.

Skoda Enyaq iV

Like all EVs, it will charge on the move via regenerative braking (recovering energy otherwise wasted when slowing down or coasting). It can also be charged overnight at home, while a 10-80% charge using a 100kW rapid charger takes just over 30 minutes.

As with all EVs, real-world range will depend on many factors, including the outside temperature and driving style, but we’d say around 275 miles is quite possible in everyday driving.

Verdict: Spacious, comfortable, competitively-priced, well built and a doddle to drive, the all-new Skoda Enyaq iV is a game-changing electric family SUV.

Skoda UK

Skoda Enyaq iV