Volvo XC40 Recharge 2023 long-term test

With slots for four bikes (enough for a small family, whom an XC40 would suit nicely), this towbar-mounted rack from Thule comes in at £446. Not cheap, but as the £1250 towbar can be optioned and added to the monthly rental cost (£21 per month over four years directly from Volvo), it makes the pair a bit more of an affordable proposition.

When the bike rack is fitted, you certainly know it’s there: the added 1030mm in length bumps the XC40 to nearly 5500mm, which is longer than the very stretched BMW i7.

Given such length, I thought that I would find myself second-guessing during low-speed tight cornering, but the great visibility from the XC40’s superb driving position means manoeuvring around the car park of my city-centre flat is a relative doddle, even if learning where the new pivot point is needs some thinking.

Extra bonus points are awarded for the trick step that tilts the rack forward for easy boot access and the fact the rack fits in said boot, albeit snugly, if needed.

There’s obviously some impact on range, due to the aerodynamic disruption and extra load. The rack weighs just under 22kg on its own, and the average bike weighs around 10kg. So my 220 miles per charge soon dropped below 200.

The XC40 has impressed me with how it can be packed full of kit and people yet still deliver a comfortable ride and a stress-free driving experience. There are cons too, most notably the limited range (not helped, of course, by the UK’s sub-par charging infrastructure or my lack of a driveway).

However, this issue won’t be quite so bad for future XC40 buyers, with updated cars (due in late 2023) getting a host of significant tweaks to extend the range to 290 miles.

While I’m on the subject, an amendment. In my last report, I cited a fellow XC40 driver who noted “abysmal” economy of 1.88mpkWh. The reason, it turns out, was poor maths (theirs rather than mine, I’m glad to say). Instead, they came closer to 3mpkWh.

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