Fast and refined, the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Volvo XC40 Recharge are two compelling choices in the hot electric crossover segment.
The electric crossover segment is rapidly gaining new models and two of the hottest and most desirable are the Ford Mustang Mach-E and the Volvo XC40 Recharge (the all-electric version of the XC40). And while the Mach-E does its best to look like a crossover version of a Mustang, it has much more in common with its Swedish competitor in the XC40 Recharge than it does the any real Mustang, past or present.
That’s not a bad thing, either. Sure, we’ll have to wait a while before Ford gets around to making a proper EV coupe, but in the meantime the semi-luxury Mach-E proves a worthy competitor to EV crossovers like the XC40 Recharge. Both offer comfortable and well-considered interiors, energetic driving experiences, and plenty of crossover convenience. Below we compare these two new crossover EVs to see which is the better value in this exciting new segment.
The Volvo XC40 Recharge comes with a single powertrain configuration. It starts with a pair of electric motors providing standard all-wheel drive and powered by a 78-kWh battery pack. This system produces up to 402 horsepower and 486 lb.-ft. of torque. Maximum range comes in at 223 miles and 92 city and 79 highway MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent).
Things get a lot more complicated with the Ford Mustang Mach-E. The base standard range model comes with a 68-kWh battery, can be had in either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, and makes 266 horsepower and either 317 or 428 lb.-ft. for RWD or AWD respectively. The base model gets 105 city and 93 highway MPGe in RWD or 100/89 MPGe in AWD. Maximum range runs 230 miles for RWD and 211 for AWD.
The California Route 1 trim gets the extended range 88-kWh battery pack and makes 290 horsepower in RWD or 346 horsepower in AWD form with torque likewise split 317 lb.-ft. (RWD) and 428 lb.-ft. (AWD). That extra power comes at a cost to efficiency with 104/90 MPGe for RWD and 96/84 for AWD. But the larger battery pack does provide more range with 305 miles for the RWD version and 306 for AWD version.
Next up is the Premium trim which can be had with either the standard range 68 kWh or 88 kWh battery pack. Power breaks out to 266 horsepower for the standard range RWD, 290 horsepower for the RWD extended range, and 346 horsepower for the AWD extended range. Torque is split at 370 lb.-ft. for the RWD version and 428 lb.-ft. for the AWD version. The Premium gets 104/90 MPGe in RWD and 96/84 in AWD. The standard range versions allow for 230 miles of range in RWD form or 211 in AWD while the extended range versions get 300 miles on a single charge in RWD or 270 miles in AWD.
And finally, there’s the GT and GT Performance Edition. These come with the extended range 88 kWh battery pack, standard all-wheel drive, and 480 horsepower and 600 lb.-ft. of torque. There is currently no EPA estimated fuel economy equivalent, but ranges are 270 miles for the GT and a slightly lower 260 miles for the GT Performance.
The Volvo XC40 Recharge offers an impressive driving experience that belies its humdrum crossover silhouette. The XC40 Recharge might be heavier than its ICE (internal combustion engine) equivalent, but it’s actually quite composed and well-balanced. Acceleration is lively, with a zero to sixty run of just 4.3 seconds, easily rivaling all but the fastest GT versions of the Mach-E. The ride, like other Volvo products, is smooth and the cabin is well insulated from road noise. In all, the XC40 Recharge proves that all-electric driving can be just as satisfying as gas cars.
The Mustang Mach-E offers many of the same upsides as the XC40 Recharge. The ride is exceedingly comfortable, and the cabin is quiet. Add in the electric powertrain’s responsiveness and power and you’ve got in the semi-luxury Mach-E a legitimate competitor to the likes of the Volvo XC40 Recharge. Even the slowest versions offer good acceleration at around six seconds to 60 mph. The GT and GT Performance Editions can run from zero to sixty in 3.8 and 3.5 seconds respectively. Body lean is well-controlled here too, and steering is sharp. Though it’s a far cry from the visceral experience of a true Mustang, the Mach-E delivers a better, more engaging driving experience than the vast majority of its crossover counterparts.
The Volvo XC40 Recharge’s interior is similar in design and finish to that of the regular XC40, that is to say, nice. Materials are of a high-quality and design is reserved yet modern. The seats are comfortable and well bolstered. We did wish the cloth sunshade on the optional panoramic sunroof was opaquer. The infotainment system was a bit of a mixed bag. The new Android-based system is less sophisticated than we’ve come to expect from premium vehicles in 2022. Buttons are annoyingly small and hard to pinpoint when driving and we would have like some redundant buttons and dials to compensate. The digital gauge cluster looks nice and provides a readout of your Google map navigation, but that’s about all. Volvo promises more over-the-air software updates to further supplement current functionality. Cargo measures 21.7 cu. ft. behind the rear seats and 57.5 cu. ft. with them folded down.
The Mustang Mach-E possesses many of the same strengths and weaknesses in its cabin that XC40 Recharge does. The Mach-E also offers a well thought out and well executed interior full of soft-touch materials and bountiful storage space. Indeed, the Mach-E’s interior is a clear step up from most of Ford’s lineup (the F-150 notwithstanding). Perhaps the highlight of the Mach-E interior is its comfortable seats, which are cushy yet supportive and perfect for long highway driving, though we wish they were a little more adjustable. The rear seats are also very comfortable by crossover standards and offer plenty of room for adult passengers. Infotainment is housed in a massive, Tesla-like 15.5-inch touchscreen. Though there is a dial for volume, Ford has chosen to forego buttons in favor of a digital interface. The Menu structure can take some getting used to here, and though response time is good, glitches cropped up that should’ve been caught in QA testing. Cargo capacity in the Mach-E comes in at 29.7 cu. ft. in back and 59.7 cu. ft. with the rear seats down.
The Volvo XC40 Recharge comes in two trim levels, the Plus and the Ultimate. The XC40 Recharge Plus starts at $56,395 and comes equipped with a nine-inch touchscreen, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, Android Auto (with Apple CarPlay forthcoming via over-the-air update), an eight-speaker stereo, 360° camera, dual-zone climate control, 19-inch wheels, wireless charging, four USB-C ports, LED headlights, panoramic sunroof, front and rear parking sensors, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alerts. The Climate Pack ($1,000) heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, and headlight washers. The Ultimate trim ($59,245) adds Pilot Assist semi-autonomous driving tech that includes adaptive cruise control, contents of the Climate Pack, 20-inch wheels, and a 14-speaker Harman Kardon stereo.
The Ford Mustang Mach-E comes in five trim levels: the Select, Premium, California Route 1, GT, and GT Performance Edition. The base Select trim ($41,895) starts with a 15.5-inch infotainment touchscreen, a 10.2-inch digital gauge cluster, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, wireless charging, navigation, satellite radio, two USB ports, a six-speaker stereo, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, synthetic leather, and 18-inch wheels. The Tech Package adds heated front seats, Ford’s Blue Cruise hands-free highway driving technology, a 360° camera, and a hands-free power liftgate.
Standard safety features include blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, forward and reverse collision warnings, and forward automatic emergency braking.
The Premium trim ($48,100) adds a panoramic sunroof, the Tech Package contents, 19-inch wheels, and a 10-speaker stereo. The California Route 1 trim ($50,775) gets the sunroof, Tech Package, hands-free parking assist, and a heated steering wheel. The GT ($59,995) comes with 20-inch wheels, ambient lighting, accent stitching, sport seats, and options for a sunroof, 360° camera, and hands-free parking. The GT Performance Edition ($64,995) adds Brembo brakes and an adaptive suspension.
The Ford Mustang Mach-E and the Volvo XC40 Recharge prove the jump to electric powertrains, aside from spotty charging infrastructure, can be a major net positive not just for emissions but for driving experience as well. They are quick, quite so compared to most gas-powered crossovers. Their interiors are comfortable and well designed. But they also share similar weaknesses when it comes to software (an area where Tesla continues to outshine the competition).
The real differentiator between these two electric crossovers comes down to price. The Mach-E’s starting price of $42,895 is nearly $14,000 off the Volvo’s. Even the Premium trim Mach-E starts at just $48,100 and proves a value sweet spot where you can get any combination of standard or extended range batteries and rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. Once you’re courting the $60,000 range, you’ve got the Mach-E GT versus the XC40 Recharge Ultimate, that, while loaded, isn’t as fast or well-damped as the Ford.
Yes, the XC40 Recharge is probably the best driving version of the XC40, but the Mach-E nudges it when it comes to overall value.