2022 Volvo C40 Recharge Twin Ultimate
Class: Electric Vehicle
Miles driven: 702
Battery capacity: 78 kWh
|CG Report Card|
|Room and Comfort||B-|
|Power and Performance||B+|
|Fit and Finish||A-|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide’s impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. “Big” rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, “Tall” rating based on 6’6″-tall male tester.|
|Engine Specs||402 horsepower|
|Engine Type||Electric motors|
Driving mix: 60% city, 40% highway
EPA-estimate MPGe: 87 city/94 hwy/80 combined
EPA-estimated driving range: 226 miles
Consumer Guide range estimate (ideal conditions): 226+ miles
Base price: $58,750 (not including $1095 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Special paint ($695)
Price as tested: $60,540
The great: Modern and airy cabin, exciting acceleration
The good: Reasonably priced for premium-brand electric vehicle, entertaining sporty character, practical design
The not so good: Relatively limited range for the class
It’s all about the electrons with the Volvo C40 Recharge. It takes electrons to run the all-new pure-electric premium subcompact crossover. It even takes electrons to buy it because it’s only available through online order.
The C40 makes its debut in 2022 as the higher-style but less practical slope-roof running mate to the Volvo XC40 Recharge subcompact crossover EV. (The XC comes in an alternate gas-engine series that has no match as a C40.) The C40 and XC40 EV use the same twin-motor and all-wheel-drive powertrain. Power ratings are 402 horsepower and 486 lb-ft of torque. The C40 has an EPA-rated driving range of 226 miles, which is three more than the CX40 Recharge’s estimate.
Aside from their different profiles, another major difference between the two small Volvo EVs is their relative variety. The ’22 XC40 Recharge comes in three states of trim but the C40 is packaged just one way and that’s as a full-zoot Ultimate with a starting price of $59,845 (including delivery). The only extra-cost item on the $60,540 example tested by Consumer Guide was its Fjord Blue paint.
That buys a fairly well-equipped little vehicle. Convenience features include 20-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, heated front and rear seats, heated steering wheel, power-folding rear headrests, power liftgate, 8-way power driver seat with memory, power passenger seat, power-retractable and auto-dimming mirrors, remote starting, and dual-zone automatic climate control. Infotainment and audio come via Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity, wireless device charging, Wi-Fi hotspot, and a Harman Kardon premium sound system. Standard safety gear includes forward-collision warning and mitigation, lane-departure warning and mitigation, lane-keep assist with oncoming traffic avoidance, 360-degree camera display, adaptive headlights, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot alert with steering assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear obstacle detection.
One thing you won’t find in a C40 is so much as a scrap of leather. It is the first Volvo to go 100-percent hide-free. Seats are covered in Microtech vinyl with Nubuck microfiber cushion and back inserts. The dash is well padded, and there is a bit of sponginess at the tops of the doors and on armrests. Frankly, on first impression, the look and feel of the cabin don’t quite match up to the price. The test car had some kind of fuzzy, blue stuff as door inserts; it matched the color of the carpet. Striated, flat-black, plastic panels ran across the center of the dash and into the front doors. However, the panels actually light up at night in icy gray tones with patterns like a topographic map—a distinctive look.
Front comfort is fine but the rear seatback is kind of upright (and not adjustable), and legroom is limited—tall front-seaters who must stretch out will reduce this space further. Just two adults will fit back there. Straight-back visibility is a problem because the slope of the rear window slope reduces outward vision. Cargo storage also suffers somewhat from the roof shape. Volvo says the C40 holds 14.5 cubic feet of stuff behind the rear seat—just 0.8 cubic foot less than an XC40—but that includes underfloor space not provided in the boxier XC. You can’t knock the versatility though. The load floor is hinged and sections can be propped in place to form a penned-in area that’s handy when carrying small items you wouldn’t want to roll around freely. Rear 60/40 seats fold absolutely flush with the cargo deck (headrests automatically retract when the seat release is pulled) and a there’s a central pass-through for long items. As in the XC40, a small “frunk” sits under the hood.
Personal-item storage is just good enough, with a decently sized glovebox, modest console box, net pouches on the backs of the front seats, and exposed cup holders in the console and central rear armrest. Door pockets are long and large in the front doors, but basically just bottle holders in back. One handy touch is a small, flipper-top “wastebasket” built into the console box. It slides out for emptying of contents.
The infotainment system is the Google-based job to which Volvo has switched. It still has more operational quirks than this reviewer cares for but he’ll grudgingly concede it is slightly easier to use than the Sensus gizmo it replaces. Climate controls are also found on the system’s 9-inch touchscreen. Driving controls are shown on a 12.3-inch screen with a choice of “Calm” or “Navi” views.
Out on the road the C40 responds alertly to accelerator inputs and drives nicely, with good, progressive steering feel when hooking around expressway exit ramps. Ride is comfortably well composed. Braking, while not terrible, might be its weakest dynamic area. Enough regenerative force can be summoned to enable one-pedal driving.
As for range, the C40 was destined to meet or even slightly exceed the official projection in this driver’s experience, which included some hot weather. After one stint of 112.7 miles—effectively half the claimed range—the car indicated it still had 53 percent of what started as a full charge left to burn. A second run of 173 miles (from a 99-percent “fill up”) showed 25 percent of charge remaining, about what was expected. Both drives consisted of a little more than 60 percent city-type operation. Indicated partial recharge times (at the 15 range miles per charging hour being pumped out by CG’s 240-volt unit) were seven hours after the shorter drive and 11.5 hours after the longer. Volvo claims a DC “fast charge” can replenish a C40 from 10-percent to 80-percent charged in 28 minutes.
The C40 is not tops in range and like other “fastback” crossovers it surrenders some utility for a more attractive profile. Those are liabilities magnified by the price. But if you’re a style-conscious car buyer who has decided it’s all about the electrons now, Volvo has something for you.