Press cars normally come in black, grey or silver, but very rarely in red. However, last week the Volvo XC40 EV came in a very attractive Fusion Red with a black roof. It would certainly lift your spirits on a dark morning.

Over the past few months there has been a lot of radio advertising based on various car awards. The Volvo XC40 was named European Car of the Year in 2018 and following year it was crowned Continental Irish Car of the Year.

Volvo has a reputation for building fine solid family cars. In recent years the Swedish company, which is now owned by a Chinese group, has made a successful switch to SUV’s with the XC90 and XC60.

The XC40 is the baby of their SUV’s and mine was a fully electric version. Volvo like to describe their hybrid and electric cars as a ‘ReCharge’ car and of course that’s what it’s all about, re-charging, whether at home or public charge points.

Normally the grille in petrol or diesel cars catch the eye, but in electric version there is no grille and very often that can mean that the front of an electric car can look very dull.

Apart from the ‘missing’ grille the XC40 is very classy and it’s probably chunky enough to tackle some off-road work. But for most Irish owners of SUV’s the roughest road they are likely to travel on will probably be a narrow boreeen where the grass is growing in the middle of the road.

If there is one word that defines Volvo then it’s Safety. All versions of the XC40 come with City Safety as standard.

I remember having a demonstration of City Safe many years ago and the car will break automatically if a pedestrian walks out in front of you in slow-moving traffic.

The system will also stop you reversing out of a car park  space if another car is driving behind you. Then you also have the ‘Bird’s Eye’ camera which is safety personified.

Two 204hp electric motors drive the front and rear axles and the battery is a powerful 78kWh. So plenty of power available and you can get from zero to 100km in just under five seconds.

It’s really fast, but naturally if you drive that fast you will use up a lot of electricity very quickly. There was an issue with the information I was getting regarding charging. All I could get was the percentage of the battery charged, when I really wanted to know how many kilometres were left.

I was told it was a problem with the App on my test car, as normally you can get a kilometre read-out. The range when fully charged is approximately 350km.

I liked the high driving position and there is plenty of room for five well-built adults. You can leave down middle section in seat in back and use it as a cup-holder.

There is a decent boot, but as usual with electric and hybrid version the space in the boot where you would normally find a spare wheel, is occupied by techy equipment. There is a ‘frunk’ at the front, but no space there only for holding chargers.

All that luxury and safety comes at a price, in this case €68,258. As with all electric cars road tax is only €120. A classy, but expensive motor.