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Volvo’s XC40 plug-in hybrid carries an $8,000 premium but is it worth the extra money over the very competent 2.0-litre turbo petrol T5 R-design model

Volvo’s  XC40  SUV continues its sales success, our best-selling prestige compact SUV. Due in showrooms shortly, is a plug-in XC40 Hybrid variant, based on the petrol XC40 T5 R-design spec wise but carrying an $8,000 price premium at $64,990 although it does gain $3,000 more in standard features.  The front drive only XC 40 plug-in hybrid combines a 1.5-litre turbo three-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor and 10.7kwh lithium-ion battery – driving through a 7-speed dual clutch automatic. The XC40 hybrid, like its petrol siblings, is a classy compact SUV with impressive fit, finish and materials. Four drive modes – Pure mode meaning full electric,

Hybrid mode switching between electric and petrol while Power mode and Off-road mode are petrol powered – the three-cylinder engine impressive.  The Pure electric range is 46 kilometres just enough for the daily commute perhaps however Hybrid mode would be my choice which on the overrun and during braking provides regenerative charging. In Hybrid mode Volvo quote economy at 2.2L/100 however my best was just under 4.6L/100k. Recharging the battery takes roughly five hours on a standard power socket and in many ways inconvenient.  The problem for Volvo is the 2.0-litre turbo petrol XC40 is just so impressive while the $8,000 price increment for the plug-in hybrid would take a long time to recoup in petrol savings.

I’m David Berthon

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