Let’s talk how it drives because that’s what everyone’s curious about, and to be honest it’s dreamy. It’s silent when it’s running on electric, which is one of my favourite things about it, and it’s quick off the mark - again, thanks to its electric motor, which makes it super agile in traffic and also has good power at high speeds so it drives really well along highways - it uses its petrol engine for that.
It will run on battery for the first 45 kilometres or at low speeds, and then it turns over into the 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo-petrol engine for high speeds or when you have travelled more than 45km.
The battery for me lasted approximately one hour of driving time. So if you are cruising the suburbs going from work to home or school drop off, you will have enough power to run without petrol before needing to plug in again. If you have to go further - say, from one end of Sydney to the other, the petrol engine will kick in. Same if you’re on a long road trip. I do wish the battery was a little bigger and could house more energy because it doesn’t last very long, but I’m sure that kind of thing is what we’ll see in coming years.
You will need to charge the XC40 every night without fail if you want to keep driving on the battery. It plugs in easily to a regular powerpoint and takes approximately four hours to fully recharge. The official combined cycle fuel consumption is a tiny 2.2L/100km, but I drove it on electric charge all week.
I think a plug-in hybrid is an ideal introduction to a full-electric car, as that’s often where people hesitate - what am I going to do on a long road trip if it takes so long to charge? And the way this car works really takes care of that.
This model is an AWD which means it has better traction on wet and unstable road surfaces. The steering is nice and even and not heavy at all to turn which makes parking easy. The size also helps, as does the high-resolution reverse parking camera. There’s also a 360-degree camera which costs an extra $990 but it does show where the car is compared with everything around it and makes it practically scrape-proof.