Volvo XC40 — Love That Car!

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Sitting in the Volvo XC40 this morning, it was obvious why someone would pay A$80,000 for a car. Massive acceleration (0–100 in 4.9 seconds), luxurious comfort, and lots of well thought out helpful additions. I remember buying my Ford Fairmont (also an XC) back in the day — the selling point was that it had a clock. And I remember my GM Holden Kingswood had a radio as a feature. The tech changes, the sales tactic doesn’t. Volvo recently declared that it will bring no more petrol or diesel cars to Australia. Eighteen months ago, the XC40 was the only electric Volvo available. How quickly things are changing.

As cars move further and further down the EV drivetrain road, it will be technology, creature comforts, and helpful gimmicks that will distinguish them from their rivals — it will be about the feeling. (Sound familiar?)

This morning I had the pleasure of interviewing Steve Hausler, a retired train driver who is enjoying travelling Australia in his Volvo XC40 Recharge. When he first considered going electric 18 months ago, he looked at the Tesla Model 3 and stated, “No way I am paying that much money for a car!” Which turned out to be ironic when you consider that the XC40 Recharge retails for so much more. He did consider the Hyundai Ioniq 5, but they have very limited supply. The Tesla Model 3 was built too low and would be hard for him and his wife to access. So he did his research, took the Volvo for a test drive, and got hooked on luxury one-pedal driving.

When they picked up the car, the rep set up the ID and sync’d it to his phone. The Volvo has plenty of room, even in the back seat. Steve is 6 feet 1 inch, his son is 6 feet 3 inches. If it gets hot, the sunroof can be opened with a swipe on the ceiling. The car has a stated range of 420 km (260 miles) and all-wheel drive. Reversing is made easy with a 360-degree aerial view (no idea how they do that). Steve finds the sat nav map behind the steering wheel convenient and easy to use.

Volvo XC 40
Easy-to-use navigation behind the steering wheel.

Steve and his wife have already been on a road trip from Brisbane to Adelaide and on to Melbourne via The Great Ocean Road. Counting the way back home, that a 5800 km (3600 mile) trip. We compared notes on charging challenges. His were different from ours, as he took the inland route. He only had one charging station where he had to wait 30 minutes for another EV to vacate the charger — but it didn’t really matter because the Hauslers were staying overnight. The key, he tells me, is to have plenty of time. Steve is retired, he is not in a hurry.

Sleeping in a caravan park one night he had to use the granny cord that comes with the car — unfortunately, the inbuilt flashing light was disturbing his sleep. Empty the box of wine, put the charging indicator in, problem solved. One motel had a power point installed in every second parking bay — that made life easy.

The biggest issue that Steve has had with the Volvo occurred on a camping trip to Stradbroke Island. The car was parked on a steep incline and it was raining heavily. The car would not recognize Steve’s remote key and he had to use the physical key to unlock the car. On his return to Brisbane, he took the car into the dealership and all was resolved. It may have been that moisture had affected the key camera.

Volvo XC 40
Volvo XC 40 comes with a physical key for emergencies

As fast chargers are built out and the Tesla Supercharger network is opened up, Steve is looking forward to more road trips — perhaps to Mt Isa or further to Uluru.

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David Waterworth

David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].

David Waterworth has 738 posts and counting. See all posts by David Waterworth