As well as the fancy gear selector, Inscription means our XC40 T5 gets 19in alloy wheels, leather upholstery, wooden dashboard trim, a 12.3in infotainment touchscreen and, since this is a Volvo, just about every driver assistance and safety system there is.
Plenty of options have been added, too, including a 360deg camera, a panoramic glass roof, a powered tailgate, heated seats, a Harman Kardon audio system, wireless phone charging and tinted rear windows.
All this raises the cost of our car from £42,305 to £48,255, and that needs to be considered next to the £25,295 base price for the entry-level XC40, the three-cylinder petrol T2. Even with the promised fuel and tax savings offered by the plug-in hybrid’s greater economy (with an official economy of 134.5mpg) and lower CO2 emissions, that’s a big difference – and we’re going to need some convincing that it’s worth it.
Early impressions are largely positive: the XC40 is as comfortable and pleasant to drive as I remember, and the plug-in hybrid powertrain is impressive, offering serene electric-only running and a smooth transition when the engine does have to kick in.
Less smooth, so far, is the slightly ungainly sight of the charging cable snaking out of the house from the plug nearest to the front door when I’m slowly charging the XC40 from the mains supply. Clearly, it’s not the ideal solution – but it is a reminder that plug-in hybrids are something of an interim technology.
For Volvo, the Recharge brand represents the future – but we’ll be judging the Recharge Plug-In Hybrid T5 by how well it can serve us right now.
The XC40 remains my premium compact SUV of choice, led by its good looks and cemented by living with the petrol-powered T4 version for six months last year. It’s pricey, and the PHEV even more so, but I suspect that many who favour an electrified powertrain in an upper-end car will go for the T5. I can’t wait to try it.