Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge – further impressions

A week ago I posted about my new car, a Volvo XC40 all-electric small SUV. Now that I’ve driven it a bit, I’ll add a few things. I really like the adjustability in the car. The front seats are five-way adjustable electrically and even have a pull-out seat extender for greater thigh support, both for the driver and the front passenger. The steering can be adjusted to be soft or firm. I chose the firmer feel. The steering wheel can be adjusted in height and extension. I’ve had trouble with other cars where the steering wheel covers the speedometer or other important gauges. I had the same trouble with the Volvo at first until I realized the steering wheel covered the battery level at the bottom of the screen. A simple adjustment took car of that. Fine-tuning the air conditioning and heat have been a breeze.

The integrated Google Automotive infotainment system is the car’s most unique feature, but it’s a two-edged sword. The Google Assistant with voice commands does many things very well, like adjust the air conditioning, heat, fan and other climate controls. It has been excellent in understanding my commands. However, the system falls short in the area of music. The salesman and online reviewers promised the ability to plug in a USB drive to play music from a thumb drive. In fact, I can’t do that – not yet anyway. Even Volvo Consumer Support told me I could, but then retracted that by email. The brochure promised Pandora was available from the Play Store, but the system won’t let me download it. When I search for it there, it just brings up Spotify instead. I can play my songs from the phone, but my phone no longer supports Google Play Music and instead tries to get me to sign up for You Tube Music. I bought a bluetooth mp3 player so I could play my playlists and WMA files which my phone won’t. But the car, although it recognized the device, and vice versa, could not connect with it. The car seemed to think it was a phone and couldn’t get past the screen asking me to allow access to my contacts for phone and text in the mp3 player. In short, the system isn’t ready for prime time. I’m hoping they’ll take care of these things in the near future. Software updates are supposed to be possible over the air (OTA) so that it won’t be necessary to take the car in for service.

It’s a great car and I’m patient about such things. I knew there would be glitches on a brand new model. The same kind of thing happened with the Leaf. I charged up to full the day I got it and I’ve been driving it for eight days. I haven’t had to recharge (pun intended) since. I still have over 60% of battery capacity. I’ll post again when I have a good idea of the true range.

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