15 September 2020
Connected cars are nothing new. Almost all brands now have an app that allows varying levels of information to be shared between the car and the owner’s phone.
However, Volvo has one of the most comprehensive systems available.
The Volvo On Call app has near full telemetry for every journey including distance, fuel consumption, route info and speed data. However, the functions that are of most use are the ability to send a sat-nav destination direct to the car so that when you get in you can simply select the point and go. It will also synchronise with your calendar, so you don’t have to retype an address.
In the case of the XC40 PHEV the app will also tell you the charge status (as well as the fuel tank level) plus the charge time if it’s plugged in.
Other handy info includes the status of the locks, doors and windows – and the app will alert you if you accidentally leave the car unlocked.
In summer months you can turn on the A/C remotely (or set a timer for it to happen at a later time and date) and in winter you can activate the heating in the same way.
It may seem a little silly, but your Volvo will also act as an external thermometer. If, like me, you like to know if it’s hot or cold before you stick your head outside your front door, just check the Volvo app and it will tell you. It’s an expensive way of getting an outdoor thermometer, but then you also get a free Volvo.
1 September 2020
It has to be said that I am occasionally called a pedant. And after my previous report about the Volvo XC40 plug-in hybrid, when I raved about the size of the boot and how it wasn’t compromised by PHEV tech like many rivals, I need to point out that there are limitations.
The boot size is completely accurate (and excellent) at 460 litres (and that’s with a spare wheel), but the minimum width of the boot is not the 1,004mm stated by Volvo. Well, sort of.
That is the minimum figure if you’re loading items that fit beneath the parcel shelf, but that’s not the minimum width if you’re in seats-down, loading-to-the-roof ‘van mode’.
If you are going to occasionally load higher than the parcel shelf, the minimum dimension is 925mm because there’s a plastic molding that intrudes into the boot to hold the parcel shelf. The thing is, most SUVs have a roll-a-blind style boot cover which wouldn’t need a ridge to sit on.
In my case, this intrusion meant the item I was planning to carry wouldn’t fit by 4mm.
Fingers crossed Volvo can make this change when the car’s facelifted or revised in a few years.
18 August 2020
Volvo’s XC40 may be the brand’s smallest SUV, but that doesn’t mean corners or costs have been cut.
The newest car to join the Company Car Today fleet, the Volvo XC40 plug-in hybrid, is also one of the most deceptive. It’s deceptive because on the outside it could be mistaken for just being yet another small SUV, one of the many that are winning customers over in droves.
Arguably one of the smartest looking SUVs in the sector, the XC40 only gets more impressive when you look inside. We’re not just talking about the quality of the materials used, but also the design. This carries over the look from the larger cars in the Volvo range but also adds some neat touches such as the pinpoint design on the dashboard.
Then there’s the amount of space inside. Obviously there’s plenty of room upfront for the driver and passenger, but there’s also good rear-seat legroom. And, somehow, there’s also a massive boot. With 460-litres on offer (even with a space-saver spare tyre) that’s more than many cars in the class above. For example, the Audi Q5 PHEV Company Car Today was running has a 395-litre boot.
Certainly, early trips to the garden centre (where else? It’s a Volvo) and Costco have proved a breeze.
Volvo’s engineers have made this possible by hiding the battery and electric motor elsewhere in the XC40 – not under the boot floor.
Talking of the electrics, the 10.7kWh battery gives the front-drive XC40 a pure-EV range of 28 miles and can be re-charged from zero to full in 2.5 hours on a home 7kw wallbox.
Over the next six months we’ll be seeing how it stacks up on the Company Car Today fleet.
4 August 2020
One of the most in-demand Volvos, the XC40, is now available as a plug-in hybrid and Company Car Today is fortunate enough to have one on its fleet.
The XC40 is in demand for a good reason. It’s one of the best looking (inside and out) small SUVs available plus it has one of the biggest boots in the class.
As a plug-in hybrid it’s powered by a 180hp 1.5 petrol engine combined with an 82hp electric motor with a range of 28 miles in EV mode.
We’ve picked the R-design trim level – the starting point on the PHEV ladder for the XC40 and added a few options such as fusion red metallic paint, the Intellisafe Pro safety pack, Apple Carplay (yes, it’s not standard) and powered memory seats.
Over the next six months we’ll see how it fits with our needs and if it lives up to the official economy figures. But going by our previous experience of PHEVs we’re very hopeful.