Volvo Car Malaysia (VCM) today launched the Volvo XC40 Recharge T5 R-Design, which is the plug-in hybrid variant of the brand’s compact SUV. It joins the existing XC40 T5 AWD R-Design that arrived much earlier as well as other Volvo PHEVs (XC60, XC90, S60 and S90), meaning the entire local line-up is now electrified.

As with every Volvo sold here, the newcomer is also a locally-assembled (CKD) model, specifically at Volvo Car Manufacturing Malaysia’s facility in Shah Alam. In terms of pricing, the XC40 Recharge T5 R-Design goes for RM241,997 on-the-road with insurance, with the ongoing sales tax relief (100% in this case) factored in.

The mentioned sum is slightly more than the current XC40 T5 AWD R-Design (by RM547) that previously went for RM241,450. We say previously because the non-PHEV is now cheaper, dropping down to RM231,651. With the new pricing structure, if you want the XC40 PHEV, the premium over the non-PHEV variant is RM10,346.

With the Recharge T5 powertrain, you get a 1.5 litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine that provides 180 PS (178 hp) and 265 Nm of torque, which is paired with a seven-speed wet dual-clutch transmission and an electric motor.

Unlike the larger, T8 Twin Engine-equipped models like those mentioned earlier, the electric motor on the XC40 PHEV isn’t mounted on the rear axle, but is instead sandwiched between the engine and 7DCT. As a result, there’s no electric all-wheel drive, with all of the power going to the front wheels.

The electric motor itself is rated at 82 PS (81 hp) and 160 Nm, contributing to a total system output of 262 PS (258 hp) and 425 Nm. It’s pretty obvious that Volvo combined the outputs of both, but in other PHEVs, it’s not always this straightforward and the numbers are lesser overall, so how has the brand achieved this?

The answer comes straight from Håkan Sandquist, director of powertrain strategy at China Euro Vehicle Technology (CEVT), who told paultan.org, “we have a technical solution that allows us to have full power from the ICE at the same time as for the electric motor.”

“As our electric motor is attached to one of the internal shafts in the gearbox, and can by that be shifted independently of the gear the combustion engine is running at. That makes it possible to have full power for both engine and electric motor at the same time,” he added. So, there you have it, good engineering.

In terms of performance, top speed is irrelevant, as both versions of the XC40 (and every other Volvo model) is capped at 180 km/h as per Volvo’s safety announcement. However, the XC40 PHEV takes 7.3 seconds to get from zero to 100 km/h, which is slower than the XC40 T5 AWD that can complete the same sprint in 6.4 seconds.

This is despite the non-PHEV variant having just 252 PS (249 hp) and 350 Nm at its disposal from a 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, which is mated to an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive system.

Part of the reason for the performance difference is that the XC40 PHEV weighs more due to its 10.7-kWh lithium-ion battery, tipping the scales at 1,875 kg compared to the non-PHEV variant’s 1,704 kg. It should also be noted that the positioning of the battery in the drivetrain tunnel means there is no change in terms of luggage capacity (460 litres), although the fuel tank size is down by five litres to 49 litres.

So, due to the extra heft, it isn’t as quick in a century sprint, although you will get to enjoy a rated fuel consumption of as low as 2.2 l/100 km, which is substantially better than the non-PHEV variant that can only muster 7.7 l/100 km.

There’s also up to 44 km of pure electric driving range available when the battery is fully charged, achievable by using the onboard AC charger (max 3.7 kW limit) and a Type 2 connector cable. With a regular three-pin domestic socket (2.3 kW), it takes five hours to reach a full charge, while by using a charging station capable of supplying the full 3.7 kW that the car can take, that time is reduced to three hours.

In terms of design, cues to identify an XC40 PHEV include the charging port on the front left fender, the Recharge script on the C-pillars and the lack of exhaust finishers at the rear. For our market, the model comes dressed in the R-Design package, which includes a gloss black grille with pin-like inserts, along with window and bumper trims finished in black.

The standard kit list is nearly identical to the XC40 T5 AWD R-Design, including a sport chassis; full-LED headlamps with Active High Beam and Active Bending Lights; LED fog lamps and taillights; along with a set 19-inch five-double-spoke matte black diamond cut alloy wheels (235/50 profile tyres).

Inside, you get a nine-inch Sensus Connect infotainment touchscreen, an eight-speaker, 250-watt audio system, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support, a wireless phone charger, powered R-Design seats with driver’s side memory function, R-Design sport pedal and gear lever, leather/Nubuck textile upholstery, Cutting Edge Decor inlay, dual-zone climate control with Clean Zone and rear vents, Recharge-specific tread plates and keyless entry and start. With the PHEV battery, there’s no removable bin for trash in the centre console.

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Safety-wise, the XC40 PHEV comes with the City Safety suite (collision avoidance & mitigation with intersection support; pedestrian, cyclist and large animal detection), front and rear collision warning and mitigation support, Driver Alert Control, Lane Keeping Aid, Run-Off Road Mitigation with Road Edge Detection, Oncoming Lane Mitigation, Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with Steer Assist and Cross Traffic Alert (CTA) with Autobrake.

There’s also seven airbags, the usual group of passive systems (Hill Start Assist, Hill Descent Control, EBD, Electronic Stability Control) and a selection of driver assist systems like Adaptive Cruise Control, Pilot Assist as well as Park Assist Front & Rear.

Buyers will get five colours to choose from – Crystal White Pearl, Bursting Blue Metallic, Black Stone, Coral Red Metallic and Glacier Silver Metallic – all with a black roof and side mirror caps. The factory warranty is five years/unlimited mileage, while the warranty on the PHEV battery is eight years/160,000 km.

Find full specifications of the new XC40 Recharge T5 R-Design at CarBase.my.

@paultancars

The Volvo XC40 Recharge T5 is now on sale in Malaysia. Is the additional RM10k worth it? ##paultancars ##paultan ##volvo ##fyp ##foryoupage ##foryou

? original sound Paul Tan’s Automotive News