If I was buying a new car in the morning I would probably opt for a Hybrid rather than a fully electric model.
As I write these few words, strong winds and rain are pounding against my office window and I am trying to think of summer days when we can all go for long drives once again, maybe on a Sundays to see a Gaelic football game or indeed any day of the week.
With most fully electric versions there is still a touch or range anxiety if you want to head off and see where that country road takes you.
Hybrid is certainly the safer option and most car companies now have Hybrid options, with Toyota only producing Hybrid cars.
Last week I drove the new plug-in Hybrid version of the very attractive Volvo XC40. It’s the smallest SUV in the Volvo range, but as everybody knows often a great performance can be found in a small person or item.
The new XC40 comes with a T5 twin engine, which is part of Volvo’s new ‘Recharge’ range of EV’s and plug-in hybrids.
The T5’s power comes from a three cylinder turbocharged 1.5 litre petrol engine and an electric motor that produces 80 horse power. Combined the power output is 258 brake horse power. You can get from zero to 110km in just over seven seconds.
The top of the range Inscription model I drove came with a plethora of goodies, items like power operated tailgate, leather upholstery, Park Assist, auto-folding exterior mirrors and much more.
Externally the XC40 looked neat and compact. Inside the dash has an uncluttered and minimalistic look and the infotainment systems is excellent.
I think the XC40 is one of the best-looking SUVs on the market at any price, mixing a distinctively Volvo design aesthetic with a little more assertiveness than in most of the range.
The boot is the same 460 litre size as other XC40s and while there is plenty of space for a spare wheel, none is provided.
Volvo is the first premium manufacturer to have a plug-in hybrid version of every car it sells. I drove a Pebble Grey version and it looked really smart and what a pleasure to drive and travel in.
As usual with an SUV you will feel like the ‘King of the Road.’ And of course Volvo has a great record as regards safety in their cars.
The XC40 T5 probably works best for those with a short commute or those who can frequently charge the car. If you charge the lithium-ion battery from an external sour this car should do approximately 45 kilometres without using any fuel.
Prices start at €37,797 for the T3 version, while the T5 version starts at €56,385. With a few extras include they brought the price of my test car to €64,258. I realise that’s lot of cash, but you don’t have to get all the extras. Road tax is only €170.
The XC40 may be Volvo’s smallest SUV, but it’s still class. A fully electric version with an estimated range of 440km is due here in 2021.
Bring on the summer, even late spring would do and we can explore those country roads once again.