Tag Archives: small SUV

2022 Volvo C40 Recharge Twin Ultimate

Fastback C40 puts a charge in electric SUV’s look …

Volvo’s swoopy-tailed C40 Recharge, a small SUV, is the epitome of form over function when it comes to styling.

Basically the C40 is identical mechanically with its XC40 Recharge, but instead of the traditional squared off crossover/SUV tail of the XC, the single C touts fastback styling resembling a coupe, thus the C designation. BMW pioneered this look a few years back, but to be honest, Volvo makes a better go of it visually.

This rear window slopes severely and there are two black vents of sorts above the window to give this a performance ambiance. Giant 20-inch wheels with fancy wide five-spoke wheels gives the C40 a Hot Wheels look that is aimed at turning the heads of younger buyers, which is also a strong demographic for electrics.

Cool taillights accent the slopped tail of the C40.

For visuals I gotta mention the cool jagged Z-shaped taillights too. They set the C40 apart like a red pocket square in a blah black suit jacket.

Before I go further, I must explain that any Volvo with Recharge in the name has a plug, so full electric, or plug-in hybrid.

Thus the C40 packs twin electric motors at each end to provide AWD traction and laudable power generated from a bevy of 78 kWh-lithium ion battery packs. Those also give C40 a low center of gravity, a consistent electric vehicle trait.

Power is absolutely phenomenal with a 0-60 mph time of 4.3 seconds, says Car and Driver. For the record, that’s coming from 402 horsepower with a neck-straining 486 pound-feet of torque. Press the acclerator and, wham, you’re off to the races.

 But I digress, what will turn heads is the looks of this AWD SUV/coupe (Scoupe?) and that form defeats a key function, outward visibility and judging where the bobtail ends when parallel parking.

That sloping rear window coupled with big headrests in the back seat allow for a miniscule rear view. That can hamper backing up, or avoiding a lane change as a fast-approaching car passing on either side while cruising the highway. I also found that backing into a curbside parking space was a bit of a challenge. Sure, there’s a 360-degree camera and alarms sound when the tail gets near another vehicle as you back into a spot.

But that alarm seemed premature, so when I got out of the car I found I had a good 4 feet of space left behind the stubby tail. I guess a driver will learn and adapt, but beeping alarms can dissuade from further backing when it’s actually clear. Just sayin!

Sometimes a vehicle’s tail can be more interesting than its nose.

Yet as I said in my earlier review of the XC40 Recharge, this is one fine-driving vehicle.

Read the XC40 (near twin) review: 2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge Twin Ultimate | Savage On Wheels

The C40 Recharge handles with a sporty flair, like its square-back sibling. Steering is quick and precise, but with a heavier feel than the gas-only XC40, although there is a way to adjust the steering feel here, if you need. Ride, as in the earlier test drive is fairly well controlled, but still can get bumpy (sort of a rocking motion) on crumbling area roads so that there are mild, but annoying, jolts to the interior. A longer wheelbase is needed to smooth that.

Still, buying an electric SUV with sleeker looks is probably a more important consideration than ride, especially since this is livable.

Is it just me or does this nose look a lot like Ford’s Mustang Mach-E?

I whined about range in my earlier review and that remains a concern. Tops is about 230 miles of charge. The info screen said I had 220 miles of range at a 97% charge after a 14-hour charge on my garage’s 120-volt line. That was fine as I found each night the standard electric outlet was getting me roughly an additional 20% charge, or about 40 to 50 miles.

If you let your batteries get to near 0 charge, it’ll take several days of constant charging to get back to 100%, or visit an Electrify America fast-charging station as those are free to Volvo owners at the moment. Volvo says a fast charge will boost C40 from 0 to 80% in about 40 minutes. Or, if you buy, you may want to upgrade to a 240-volt line in your garage for quicker charging.

A few other electrics still have better range, including the Volkswagen ID.4 at 260 miles, the Hyundai Kona at 258 and Tesla Model Y rated at 244 miles. So, consider your own driving habits. An acquaintance tells me he stopped twice between Minnesota and the Milwaukee area to charge his C40. I hear Tomah is a good stopping spot.

While many electrics feature a front-fender or grille-mounted charging plug, Volvo puts its outlet on the rear driver’s side quarter panel, where one often finds a fuel-filler door. And there’s a 1 cubic foot frunk that will hold the charging cable.

One other practical note about electrics, most offer one-pedal driving. Naturally there’s a brake pedal (which was a little too close to the accelerator here), but just using the accelerator is the way to go, just takes a few days to perfect the feel.

These sporty wheels remind of a Hot Wheels toy car.

One-pedal works because the electric motors brake the car quite quickly once you let off the go-pedal. In fact, it can feel rather sudden, so you quickly learn to feather off accelerator pressure to slowly coast to a stop. The upside is that any coasting or braking helps recharge the batteries (regenerative braking), so in stop-and-go city driving you use less power as you’re constantly regenerating power. There’s a gauge that’s part of the four basic info screen menus that will update you on your current charge status.

My test C40 was a pleasant Fjord Blue Metallic ($695 extra), a reflective blue-gray that gets looks and cheery comments. Inside, it was black and blue with the dash and trim being black, and the door and carpeted floor mats being a blue gray that matched the exterior.

This is not real leather, but what some are calling vegan leather. It’s plant based.

C40 is Volvo’s first standard interior not using leather, although it’s optional. Plant-based and recycled plastic bottles are used to create the seats and felt-like door trim, which looks good but feels a bit like a fake material. Trim around the 9-inch touchscreen is gloss black with chrome trim and the door release handles are a brushed chrome along with the steering wheel’s 3-spoke hub. Sadly this is not a power tilt/telescope wheel, but one supposes that saves a few electrons by keeping it manual.

Volvo’s console is a gloss black and the seats a grayish black with the outer edges feeling like fake leather and the inner cushions feeling more like velour. Stitching on the seat’s trim is white to add contrast.

A big vertical screen dominates mid-dash.

The dash is fine with digital readouts in front of the driver, including charge level, and the large info screen, but beyond the main screen it gets a bit confusing, although I’ve finally learned how to access the radio stations I want, so I suspect it’s about time for Volvo to change its Android-based system. Oh, and you can ask Google to give you info via its voice-recognition system. The nav map is spectacular.

Note too that the car starts as soon as you are inside with the fob and sit in the driver’s seat. It knows you’re there due to the seat pressure and all electronics start immediately so you can quickly put the C40 in gear. Park is a push button. When leaving you simply open the door and depart. The car’s radio continues until you lift off the seat to leave and then it shuts down.

Here’s the driver’s view of the instrument panel and tall info screen.

One oddball thing, the Volvo requires you lift the exterior door handle twice to open it. Or so I thought. I’ve since been informed that the doors unlock when you are in the vicinity with the fob in your pocket. Apparently, I was grabbing the door handle too quickly, thus the confusion. I’d just as soon that the fob not think for me.

Pluses include a wireless phone charger at the console’s front edge, a heated steering wheel, and heated and cooled front seats along with heated rear seats. The front seat controls are embedded in the touchscreen and Volvo’s seats are mildly contoured and comfy with power buttons on the sides and a two-memory system on the door to remember the driver’s seat settings.

There’s also a quality Harmon Kardon stereo that can enliven this extremely quiet interior. While overhead is a massive panoramic sunroof that was fine, mostly as it was never too hot or sunny while I tested the SUV. In southern or southwester climes the roof can get hot though as there is no sunshade to cover the roof, although it is tinted.

This is the battery info screen, showing range and current charge usage, 3 kWh.

Volvo also provides a full complement of safety devices including smart cruise control, blind-spot warning and lane departure, plus automatic braking and sign recognition.

A power hatch opens to generous storage space, plus the rear seats split 1/3-2/3 to further boost that space. There’s even a little extra storage beneath the cargo floor.

Pricing starts at $56,395, including delivery, for the base Core model for 2023 as 2022 models are spoken for. The mid-level Plus lists at $57,945 and the tested Ultimate at $61,195 with delivery for a 2023.

Door panel inserts are attractive but feel like a felt trunk liner.

Reportedly this is the first and only Volvo you can only order online, but one would imagine your Volvo dealer could help you do that if you were to visit a dealership. That’s where the car will be delivered.

Electrics are coming fast and furious now and Volvo promises to offer only electrics by 2030. It appears to be well on its way to delivering on that promise.

FAST STATS: 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge Twin Ultimate

Hits: Good styling in profile and back (especially taillights), excellent acceleration, precise handling and full-time AWD. Big sunroof, heated wheel and comfy heated/cooled front seats, big touchscreen, quality stereo, a stylish luxury interior, wireless phone charger, plus a full bevy of safety equipment.

Misses: No shade on sunroof and very limited rearview through back window. Touchscreen (beyond main screen) distracting to use while driving, no power tilt/telescope steering wheel and double action door releases. Bumpy ride on rough roads and the electric charge range is just 230 miles.

I just can’t get enough of these dramatic taillights!

Made in: Ghent, Belgium

Engine: Twin electric motors w 78 kWh-lithium ion battery, 402 hp/486 torque

Transmission: Shift-by-wire single-speed automatic

Weight: 4,710 lbs.

Wheelbase: 106.4 in.

Length: 174.8 in.

Cargo: 14.5 cu.ft.

Tow: 2,000 lbs.

MPGe: 94/80

Base Price: $60,845 (includes delivery)

Invoice: N.A.

Major Options:

Fjord blue metallic paint, $695

Test vehicle: $60,540

Sources: Volvo, www.kbb.com

Photos: Mark Savage

#Volvo

#Volvo C40 Recharge

#Volvo electrics

Ford launches 2023 Escape, including hybrids, new ST-Line

ST-Line adds flare, hybrids stretch mileage, plus more electronics …

Available early 2023, the hybrid Escape (left) and new ST-Line Elite Escape.

Ford launched its refreshed Escape small SUV this morning touting new styling inside and out plus a sporty new ST-Line model and regular hybrid along with plug-in hybrid models.

Naturally there are a bunch of new electronics too, with improvements including;  

  • Cloud connectivity and a 13.2-inch screen
  • Enhanced suite of Ford Co-Pilot360 Technology that includes a:
    • 360-degree camera
    • Alexa Built-In
    • Intersection Assist 2.0 to help drivers avoid collisions with pedestrians while turning
    • Blind Spot Assist, which can nudge the steering wheel as a caution against an unsafe action if a driver has missed system warnings 

Additionally, the Escape comes with a wide variety of powerplants including its EcoBoost, hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains for efficiency, reduced operating costs and less emissions. Plus it continues to offer its efficient gas-powered EcoBoost system that uses a turbocharger to boost gas mileage and efficiency.

The 2023 Escape hybrid in Vapor Blue. This is a pre-production model.

Ford says it has targeted each model to have at least 400 miles of range no matter its power source and the full-hybrid is aimed at getting 550 miles of range.

Watch Mark’s review of the current plug-in hybrid Escape: https://savageonwheels.com/2022/06/08/2021-ford-escape-titanium-phev-fwd/

Outside there’s some refreshment of styling, but the bigger news is the snazzy ST-Line that features a more upscale interior look, a black mesh grille (super popular these days), a unique rear skid plate for off-roading, a large single-wing rear spoiler and available “coast to coast” LED light bar running from headlamp to headlamp

The tail ends of the hybrid Escape (left) and the new ST-Line Elite in Rapid Red.

Inside the ST-Line is an optional 13.2-inch screen with cloud-connected SYNC4 Technology and new advanced driver-assistance systems. Continuing popular features on the Escape include a sliding second row seat with more second-row legroom, says Ford, than a Toyota Sequoia. Can’t wait to test drive that with the family!

For the record, the ST-Line comes in three models, including the base with a 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine making about 180 horsepower with front-wheel or optional all-wheel drive. The ST also can be had with a hybrid system with FWD. There’s also the ST-Line Select and ST-Line Elite, both offering an optional 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine aimed at creating 250 hp and standard AWD and an available hybrid option.

 The ST-Line features an ebony interior with red stitching on the door panels, seat trim, center arm rest, floor mats and steering wheel. Also, a flat-bottom steering wheel (Yippee!). Outside the ST-Line touts 18-inch Rock Metallic painted aluminum wheels as standard. The ST-Line Select model offers optional 19-inch Machine-Faced Ebony Painted aluminum wheels that are standard on the ST-Line Elite model.

 In addition to the ST-Line, the Escape lineup includes Base, Escape Active, Platinum and Plug-in Hybrid models. Escape Base and Active models offer a 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine with FWD or optional AWD. The Platinum model offers a 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine with AWD and a hybrid powertrain option with FWD or AWD.

The restyled Ford Escape hybrid in Vapor Blue, available in early 2023.

 Pricing ranges from $28,995 to $39,995, including delivery. The lower level models are FWD while the ST-Line Select and Elite are AWD. Those are priced at $35,535 and $39,955, respectively. The plug-in hybrid also is $39,995.

All 2023 Escapes come standard with new LED reflector headlamps with signature lighting, and a rear seat that can slide nearly six inches to create either more legroom or cargo space.

 The plug-in hybrid model uses Ford’s advanced fourth-generation hybrid system, which includes a 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle hybrid engine and electronic continuously variable transmission. The FWD plug-in hybrid is projected to produce a combined 210 hp and it aims to deliver 37 miles in electric-only mode. This model features a Level 1 / Level 2 AC charging port. Using a 110-volt Level 1 charge, the estimated time to fully charge the battery is 10 to 11 hours. Using a 240-volt Level 2 charge, charge time drops to roughly 3.5 hours.

The Escape Plug-In Hybrid model also features four EV modes.

The new Escape is assembled at the Louisville Assembly Plant in Kentucky, and Ford notes that Escape was the world’s first hybrid SUV, launching in 2005.

#Ford

#Ford Escape hybrid

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2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid Touring

CR-V proves hybrid power the way to go  … 

A few years back I declared hybrids the way to go until all-electrics gained more range and the infrastructure to remotely recharge electrics grew substantially. Nothing has changed my mind and if anything the growth of quality hybrids makes my point all the stronger.

This week’s drive proves that point in electrons!

Only a few months back I tested Honda’s popular small SUV, the CR-V. It’s a top-seller and pretty much leads a closely contested market segment. I feel the hybrid version of its top-level Touring model should be its top-selling model.

Here’s why. Continue reading 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid Touring

2020 Ford Escape SE Sport AWD Hybrid

New Escape looks sportier, hybrid gets great mileage …

Let’s be clear, a lot of people have purchased Ford Escapes over the years. It is one of the most popular compact SUVs on the market and for 2020 it’s majorly restyled, making it slightly lower and wider.

Its new nose looks a lot like a Porsche Macan, which one would think should help sales and at least mentally plant the seed that this is a sportier SUV than in the past. And maybe it is in some ways because it offers four engine choices, has adjustable ride control and a revised suspension system with vibration absorbing rear subframe mounts. Continue reading 2020 Ford Escape SE Sport AWD Hybrid

2016 Subaru Forester Limited

Subaru Forester remains spunky, sure-footedforester

Subaru’s Forester remains one of my favorite small SUVs because of its handling, spunky power, smooth CVT, quiet interior and sure-footed AWD capability.

That doesn’t even get at its other attributes, like reasonable starting price, good gas mileage, comfortable interior, top-notch safety rating and its overall usefulness.

The Forester was redesigned for 2014 and just keeps getting better with little tweaks. The handsome metallic (Venetian) red test model was the mid-level Limited that includes leather seats, an automatic climate control system, and power hatch.

Like its stablemates (there are four trims, plus the XT models that include a gutsier 2.0-liter turbocharged engine), the Limited delivers good interior space with wide comfortable seats and one of the quieter small SUV interiors.

forester1The 2.5-liter boxer (horizontally-opposed) 4-cylinder engine is strong, delivering 170 horsepower and 174 ft.-lbs. of torque. While some small SUVs and crossovers may offer more pony power, few feel as spunky as this Subaru engine. Touch the gas pedal and the Forester jumps away from stoplights. In fact, it takes a couple days to get the feel of the pedal. You can startle yourself a bit the first few times you accelerate. Continue reading 2016 Subaru Forester Limited

2014 Ford Escape SE

2014 Ford Escape SE FWD
Ford’s Escape is a pleasant compact sport-ute with quick handling and edgy stylish looks.2013 Ford Escape Exterior Side

The tested metallic blue SE is the mid-level model, with the S being the base and the Titanium being the high-end model that I’d previously tested.

Starting price is $25,550 for the SE and it features one of Ford’s efficient EcoBoost engines, a 1.6-liter that’s turbocharged and has direct injection to give it 178 horses and a torque rating of 184. That’s a jump up from the base 2.5-liter 4-cylinder that’s in the base S model and generates 168 horses and a torque rating of 170.

This engine is fairly strong, offering mild acceleration through the 6-speed automatic with SelectShift that allows you to manually shift the gears if you want. Yet because it has a turbo, if you slap the accelerator to get onto a highway the tranny downshifts and the turbo kicks in to boost it to highway speeds relatively quickly. There’s some engine noise, naturally, but it’s short-lived.

Gas mileage is modest. I got 22.1 mpg in cold and somewhat snowy weather, while the EPA rates this model at 23 mpg city and 32 mpg highway. I got just 20.5 mpg with the horsier 2.0-liter turbo in the Titanium model previously.

What sets the Escape apart is its quick handling that makes this small ute fun to drive and an easy lane changer on the highway. Parking lot maneuvering is good too, although its turning radius is a full 4 feet more than a Subaru Forester, another worthy small SUV. Continue reading 2014 Ford Escape SE