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FIRST DRIVE | New Volvo XC40 P8 is swift, silent and sophisticated

16 March 2022 - 13:19
We finally got to drive the full-electric Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge with a stonking 300kW and 660Nm on tap. Picture: PHUTI MPYANE
We finally got to drive the full-electric Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge with a stonking 300kW and 660Nm on tap. Picture: PHUTI MPYANE

Volvo is offering hybrid and full electric cars in SA, and is closer to realising its fully electric future.

That future is 2030, when the Swedish brands promises it will be producing electric cars only. In the meantime, Volvo Car SA has introduced a slew of all-electric, plug-in hybrid and mild-hybrid vehicles in the local market. These are the XC40 P8 Recharge, the T8 Recharge plug-in hybrids and the B5 and B6 mild-hybrid variants of the XC60 and XC90 ranges. 

The XC40 P8 Recharge kicks off the all-electric range. The driving experience reveals a soundless, sophisticated and refined crossover SUV. What’s more, the P8 Recharge doesn’t have a start/stop button. You simply enter its contemporary design cabin and sit on its comfy, chiropractor-approved seats and select “D” or “R” on its automatic transmission to get it moving.

The P8 is powered by a pair of electric motors each with 150kW and 330Nm for an all-wheel drive configuration. Total system output is 300kW and 660Nm. This translates to a brisk 0-100km/h sprint time of 4.9 secs and though we didn’t drive them long enough to test the full driving range potential, when fully charged from a wall charger the 78kW/h battery is said to yield 418km of driving range.

The facelifted Volvo XC60 is available with new mild-hybrid technology. Picture: SUPPLIED
The facelifted Volvo XC60 is available with new mild-hybrid technology. Picture: SUPPLIED

XC60 and XC90

Volvo SA no longer markets diesel engine derivatives.

The facelifted XC60 model and its larger XC90 cousin both have marked changes in that the smaller XC60, a former World Car of the Year winner, gains a T8 model with a mild-hybrid system.

It’s more striking with redesigned front and rear bumpers and headlight design and has plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models that combine a 2.0l four cylinder petrol engine with a supercharger, turbocharger and kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) with 48V starter-motors and eight-speed automatic transmissions. Power outputs for the B6 models are 220kW and 420Nm while T8 models wield 340kW and 709Nm.   

Other technical changes are that the XC90 T8 models are no longer plug-in hybrid models. Volvo has opted for the internal self-charging model which uses the kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) to charge the battery when brakes are applied.   

Volvo's electronic screens have voice-activated Google searches. Picture: SUPPLIED
Volvo's electronic screens have voice-activated Google searches. Picture: SUPPLIED
Image: SUPPLIED

Google assistance

A new innovation experienced is the Google-led and voice-activated on-board assistant. Whereas many rival models have an artificial intelligence (AI) helper linked to a vehicle’s convenience features, the Volvo system expands this nifty feature by bringing in the endless information offered by Google search.

On request and by using voice commands, the system was able to stream music, chart a path to Sweden using the vehicle’s navigation system and correctly reply to general knowledge questions. It gave us a cheeky reply when asked if it knew who Siri was.

Pricing

Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge: R1,200,000

Volvo XC60 B6 Geartronic AWD R-Design: R1,007,600

Volvo XC60 B6 Geartronic AWD Inscription: R1,011,200

Volvo XC60 P8 Twin Engine R-Design: R1,218,900

Volvo XC90 B6 Geartronic AWD R-Design: R1,365,000

Volvo XC90 B6 Geartronic AWD Inscription: R1,365,500

Volvo XC90 B6 Geartronic AWD Inscription  6S: R1,365,500

Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine R-Design: R1,560,100

Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine Inscription: R1,560,600


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