By Breda Corrigan
The all-new Volvo C40 Recharge is the coupé-SUV version of the multi award-winning XC40 Recharge SUV, and it is the first Volvo car to debut as a purely electric model. Available only in a practical five door body style, the new C40 Recharge uses the same mechanicals as its high-achieving XC40 sibling, and has all the benefits of an SUV but with a lower, sleeker design. The rear of the car features a distinctive striking design to go with the lower roof line, while the new front design introduces a new face for electric Volvo’s and includes headlights with state-of-the-art pixel technology. The C40 Recharge is the first Volvo with a 100 percent leather-free interior – including steering wheel, gear shifter and upholstery. Volvo believe this represents a new, more respectful interpretation of luxury and how materials can be used in car design.
In the cabin of the new C40 Recharge, occupants benefit from a high seating position for a commanding view of the road ahead, while a range of colour and deco options unique to the model allow customers to personalise their new C40 Recharge to their own preferred choice. Like the XC40 Recharge, the new C40 Recharge comes with one of the best infotainment systems on the market, jointly developed with Google, and based on the Android operating system. It provides customers with Google apps and services built-in, such as Google Maps, Google Assistant and the Google Play Store. Unlimited data enables superior connectivity, and the C40 Recharge will receive software updates over the air, so that it will continue to improve over time after it has left the factory. All five occupants of the new C40 Recharge will appreciate the traditional Volvo comfort of ergonomically designed seats, along with the pleasing levels of headroom on offer too. The rear seat is easy to fold individually into the load area floor so that passengers and/or cargo can be transported without compromising either comfort or safety. With the rear seats up, the load compartment has 413-litres of space below the load cover, but this can be expanded to 1,205-litres when all of the rear seats are folded down when the need arises. Additionally, a foldable floor acts as a handy divider to hold shopping bags secure as well as enabling hidden, lockable underfloor storage. A convenient 31-litre front load compartment provides smart extra storage, and it is the perfect space to keep your charging cables easily accessible and well protected from dirt, dust and moisture. A lower section in this storage compartment is dedicated to the storage of a puncture repair kit, with the two sections divided by an easily removable load floor.
The new Volvo C40 Recharge is available in front-wheel drive (FWD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) guises, with the AWD variant benefitting from twin electric motors, as opposed to a single motor in the FWD edition. With the C40 Recharge (as with its XC40 Recharge sibling) Volvo has simplified the EV driving experience by omitting a starter button and handbrake. You simply get into the car, shift the gear selector to D and you are on your way. The new C40 Recharge comes with a 78kWh lithium-ion battery that provides the car with a driving range of up to 431kms (FWD) or 441kms (AWD), and the car does come with rapid-charging capability. At the car’s maximum charging speed of 150kW, the battery can be charged from 0-80% in just 37 minutes, while a full charge from a regular 7.4kW home wallbox charger takes around 12 hours (0-100%).
Test Car Details.
My test car was a C40 Recharge Pro Twin AWD, which was finished in striking Fusion Red metallic paintwork with a contrasting Black roof and stylish 20” two-tone alloy wheels.
As is the case with all electric cars, the instant torque from the twin electric motors in my test car enabled outstanding linear acceleration from the get-go. Producing 408bhp and a mighty 660Nm of torque, my test car completed the 0-100km/h sprint in just 4.7-seconds, on its way to a top speed of 180km/h. The selectable One-Pedal-Drive feature ramps up the regenerative braking function and can bring the car to a complete stop, with little or no need to touch the brake pedal at all. Some other car manufacturer’s offer a similar feature on their EV’s, but Volvo has judged it really well and it makes for very smooth progress once you get used to it. However, if you do step on the brake pedal, the car automatically mixes regenerative and friction braking in a well-controlled fashion. The steering is light and the wheel turns without any resistance but, if you prefer, you can increase the weight of the steering via the touchscreen. Overall ride quality in the C40 Recharge is excellent, with the car’s supple suspension set-up well able to absorb road imperfections with great ease. While many cars with similar power outputs are jumpy and impatient, the C40 Recharge allows you to layer the power on smoothly and progressively, with none of the hesitating or lurching that can often be experienced in an internal-combustion-powered car.
Verdict & Pricing.
Volvo has made the new C40 Recharge an attractive and technologically-advanced EV in its own right. Excellent performance, a decent real-world driving range, outstanding comfort, and a host of driver-assistance safety systems come as standard across the new C40 Recharge variant line-up. Pricing starts at €53,730 (inclusive of current Government EV incentives for private buyers, but excluding dealer-related charges). A Volvo Care package comes as standard and includes service, roadside assistance, warranty and an insurance contribution (see your local Volvo dealership for full terms and conditions).