Volvo C40 Recharge Review 2024
Volvo C40 Recharge At A Glance
Performance of dual-motor model is impressive. More comfortable ride than rivals. Cabin is a nice place to sit.
Loses boot space and rear headroom to XC40 Recharge, which is also cheaper to buy. Some parts of the Android infotainment are fiddly.
If you're looking for a classy, premium electric car and don't mind paying a bit more for the privilege, the Volvo C40 Recharge is a very likeable car. But is it really necessary when the XC40 Recharge is a little cheaper, almost as stylish, roomier and identical to drive? Our Volvo C40 Recharge review delves deeper.
No, the C40 Recharge is not a successor to the funky little Volvo C30 coupe. It's something quite different from that, but then Volvo is a very different company than it was when the C30 was around.
The C30 was a compact car based on the Ford Focus underneath. Why? Because Ford once owned Volvo alongside Mazda, Jaguar and Land Rover. Now all those companies are under different ownership, with Volvo part of the Chinese automotive giant Geely.
Over a decade has passed since Volvo's new owners got to work, and what a transformation. As well as being more stylish and high-tech than ever, the full might of Geely has brought about a pivot towards hybrid and electric cars. The Volvo C40 Recharge, then, is a fully electric SUV with a coupe-like roofline, rivalling the Audi Q4 e-tron Sportback, Mercedes EQA and - in dual-motor form - the Jaguar I-Pace.
Recognise it from the front? That's because it's basically a sloping roofed version of the Volvo XC40 Recharge, and shares the shame mechanical (and electrical) bits underneath.
That means both single and dual motor electric power options, with power between 238PS and 408PS. For the latest 2023 Volvo C40 Recharge facelift the single motor has moved from the front to the back, and along with the updated XC40 Recharge, these are the first rear-wheel drive Volvos for 25 years.
The 297-mile single motor Volvo C40 Recharge is hardly slow, but the dual-motor version is hilariously rapid for a car like this. Range has also been increased significantly, up from 278 miles to an official 342 miles.
Despite the sportier shape the Volvo C40 Recharge is more geared towards comfort, with a smoother ride than some rivals and those fantastically comfortable Volvo seats. You do lose a bit of rear seat and boot space over the XC40, though it's hardly cramped. You also get the same high level of quality and the (mostly) impressive Android Automotive infotainment system.
Reviews for Volvo C40 Recharge's top 3 rivals
Inside of the Volvo C40 Recharge
- Boot space is 413–1205 litres
Volvo C40 Recharge 2024: Practicality
Although the electric Volvo C40 Recharge demands a bit of a space compromise over the XC40 Recharge, it's not drastic. Certainly from the front you'll barely notice any difference - headroom is still plenty generous for six-footers and it's very easy for those of all shapes and sizes to get comfortable in the supportive chairs.
There's plenty of adjustment in the seats and wheel, and storage is pretty good including big carpeted door pockets (which stops stuff rolling around and rattling) sliding drawers under the front seats and a handy little rubbish bin in the centre console.
In the back the differences are more noticeable, with that sloping roofline reducing headroom by quite a bit. Six-footers will find their heads just brush the roof, which isn't an issue in the XC40. It's fine for smaller adults and kids, though, and you still get a good amount of legroom and shoulder space.
There's no sliding rear bench, which is a pity, while the seat folding isn't remarkable with a 60/40 backrest split. Open the tailgate (electrically powered as standard) and you'll find the Volvo C40 Recharge has a 413-litre boot. That's not generous by class standards, but it is technically the same as the XC40 Recharge - although if you load items up to the roof you'll find you can't fit as much in. It's a decent shape, and the boot floor can be folded and fixed in place as a divider.
In terms of the Volvo C40's exterior dimensions it's nearly identical to the XC40 Recharge, measuring 4,440mm long, 1,873mm wide and 1,591mm tall.
Volvo C40 Recharge 2024: Quality and finish
We've no complaints with interior quality in the Volvo C40 Recharge, as it definitely feels a step above the fit and finish of a Tesla Model Y and rivals the best that Audi, BMW and Mercedes can offer.
Everything feels solid and built to last, there's plenty of soft-touch materials and the switchgear feels premium - even the indicator stalk is a nice item to use. There's a bit less visual funkiness than in a Mercedes-Benz EQA, but it feels nicer to the touch, and you still get ambient lighting in Ultimate trim.
Volvo C40 Recharge 2024: Infotainment
Every Volvo C40 Recharge gets the same infotainment offering: a nine-inch touchscreen infotainment system in portrait orientation, combined with a 12.3-inch digital dial display.
Unlike older Volvos it features an Android-based operating system, which looks and feels more modern. It also means you get Google integration - Google Maps is the standard navigation offering, and it's simply better than any in-built sat-nav system on the market.
Android Automotive is standard, which isn't to be confused with Android Auto. While Android Auto mirrors your phone, Android Automotive is it's own operating system. You can sign into your Google account and there's Google Maps as standard, as well as Google's voice assistant. You can download more apps via the Google Play Store, including Waze if that's your preference. Apple users who don't want to enjoy the Android ecosystem can use CarPlay if there prefer, though it's a wired connection unfortunately.
The screen is bright and clear, with logical menus and fast processing. Having said that, we do find the climate controls rather small and fiddly - a physical control panel would be easier to use on the move. However, you can use the C40 Recharge's Google Assistant to ask it to increase or decrease the temperature without taking your hand off the wheel.
The digital instrument cluster is smart-looking and has a number of different views, including a map display. It's not ultimately as good as Audi's system (not much else is) but it does the job pretty well.
Car seat chooser
Child seats that fit a Volvo C40 RechargeOur unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
Volvo C40 Recharge Value
Volvo C40 Recharge 2024: Prices
Prices for the Volvo C40 Recharge start at £48,355 for the entry-level single motor Core version, which is almost £2000 more than the XC40 Recharge in the same spec. Another £5500 or so is needed for the Plus trim level, and Ultimate commands £9000 more than Core. Th twin-motor all-wheel drive model starts at £53,605, with £62,805 needed for the top-spec Ultimate dual-motor.
It's a big outlay, but compared to the pricing of an entry-level Audi Q4 e-tron Sportback, it's some £3000 cheaper, though top-sec versions of both cars are very similarly priced.
Volvo offers a fairly unique Subscription service, though. Basically, you'll pay from £585 a month for a two to four-year subscription to the Volvo C40 Core, and that price includes roadside assistance and free home delivery. If you want to pay a bit more you can also change or renew your car with three-months notice, swapping into another version or a different model entirely. On top of this there's also servicing and maintenance bundled in as well.
Volvo C40 Recharge 2024: Running Costs
The Twin Motor Volvo C40 Recharge now supports rapid charging at up to 200kW, up from 150kW. That's a decent figure and it'll get you from near empty to 80% charge in around 28 minutes on the right rapid charger, some 12 minutes faster than earlier versions.
The Single Motor Volvo C40 Recharge isn't quite as quick, supporting rapid charging at up to 130kW and will take 34 minutes to be topped up to 80% from 10% charge.
Rapids are quite expensive these days, and if you use them regularly you'll be paying as much to charge as you would to fill an equivalent petrol or diesel car. EVs such as the C40 Recharge really make the most sense if you have access to a slower charger - ideally a home wallbox - where you can leave it on charge overnight. A standard 7kW wallbox will take around 13hrs to charge the C40 Recharge Twin and 11hrs to charge the C40 Recharge Single Motor.
Obviously you'll save money on road tax with the Volvo C40 Recharge (it's free), and insurance groups are identical to the XC40 Recharge at between group 34 and 42. Reliability isn't that well-proven yet but Volvo did pretty well in the latest Honest John Satisfaction Index, sitting just outside the top third of brands.
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Driving Volvo C40 Recharge
Volvo C40 Recharge 2024: Handling and ride quality
The Volvo C40 Recharge is not as sporty to drive as it looks. That's not a comment on its performance - the dual motor model has plenty of that - it's more that the car majors on comfort and refinement over sharp handling.
Something like a BMW iX3 or a Polestar 2 is more engaging to drive quickly, because the Volvo C40's suspension is on the soft side and the steering isn't super sharp. It grips well and stays stable in the bends, but it isn't a car you'll relish chucking into bends.
Arguably more important in a car like this is that it rides well, even on the larger wheels, ironing out the worst bumps in town and flowing nicely on a faster road. Fit an Audi Q4 e-tron or Mercedes EQA with similar wheels and they're quite a bit more choppy.
It's quiet, too - wind noise is isolated well, as is road noise, and of course there's no engine to add any unwanted noise or vibrations.
The Volvo C40 Recharge has a regenerative braking mode called 'one-pedal driving'. Press it on the touchscreen and it'll engage maximum regen, meaning when you lift off the throttle the car brakes quite significantly and uses the braking energy to recharge the battery. We'd really like to see adjustable regenerative braking with wheel paddles like many rivals, though. With one-pedal driving turned off the C40 coasts so much that you'll find yourself constantly jabbing the brakes when following traffic.
Volvo C40 Recharge 2024: Engines
For 2023 the two power options available on the Volvo C40 Recharge have had quite a significant overhaul. Both a single and dual motor options remain, but dig a little deeper and things have changed considerably.
While earlier single motor variants of the Volvo C40 Recharge drove the front wheels, Volvo has swapped this over to make it rear-wheel drive. The primary reason for this is to improve efficiency, and it's paid off. Despite battery remaining the same with an output of 69kWh, the official range has increased from 272 miles to 297 miles.
On top of this, the motor is new and the first electric motor to be designed in-house at Volvo. This has seen a power increase from 231PS to 238PS, while the 0-62mph time is a fraction quicker at 7.3 seconds compared to 7.4 seconds on the outgoing front-wheel drive model.
The Volvo C40 Recharge Twin Motor has also come in for some attention as well. While 408PS is still available through all four-wheels, the way it has been distributed has changed. Instead of 204PS going to the front wheels and 204PS going to the rear, the new twin motor configuration gets 150PS at the front and 258PS through the rear wheels. Again, the rear electric motor has been designed in-house at Volvo.
The battery has been increased slightly to 82kWh, up from 78kWh and this has all combined to improve the electric range of the C40 Recharge from a maximum of 278 miles to 342 miles.
To achieve that kind of range is going to require restraint, though, as it's almost absurdly fast for a family SUV - 0-62mph comes up in 4.7 seconds, but it feels even faster than that. Sports cars beware - this 2+ tonne SUV will keep you honest off the line.
The single motor model is certainly more modest, but should hardly feel underpowered with 0-62mph coming up in 7.4 seconds. Given the instant performance an EV delivers it'll feel quicker than that, and is a noticeably faster figure than entry-level versions of the Audi Q4 e-tron and Mercedes-Benz EQA.
Volvo C40 Recharge 2024: Safety
Safety has always been a key Volvo standpoint, so it'll come as no surprise that the Volvo C40 Recharge achieved a full five-star rating on Euro NCAP. Scores were strong across the board, whether it be occupant or pedestrian protection.
Even the entry-level Volvo C40 Recharge Core comes with autonomous emergency braking with cyclist and pedestrian detection, and rear auto braking to prevent you reversing into things, plus Volvo's Run-off Road Mitigation and Oncoming Lane Mitigation. The latter two features will steer the car back onto the road or away from oncoming traffic if you start to steer out of your lane - very important if, for example, the driver is incapacitated.
Speccing the C40 Recharge Plus adds features such as adaptive cruise control, semi-autonomous driving (the car will keep you in your lane and accelerate and brake for you in certain situations) plus blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
Volvo C40 Recharge 2024: Towing
The twin motor Volvo C40 Recharge will tow up to 1800kg (braked), which is a decent figure for an electric car, while the single motor is not that far behind at 1500kg.
Volvo C40 Recharge Models and Specs
The Volvo C40 Recharge is available in three trim levels, all of which are well-equipped as standard.
The entry-level Volvo C40 Recharge Core includes kit such as 19-inch wheels, cruise control, a panoramic sunroof, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, keyless entry, an electric tailgate and four years of Google services including Google Assistant and Google Play Store. Rear parking sensors are standard, as well as front parking sensors and a rear camera - two features that don't come on the XC40 Recharge in Core trim.
Upgrade to the Volvo C40 Recharge Plus and you'll also get Pilot Assist (adaptive cruise control and semi-autonomous driving) a heat pump, a heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel and gesture control for the electric tailgate.
The top-spec Volvo C40 Recharge Ultimate gains a 360-degree camera system, a Harmon Kardon premium sound system, pixel LED headlights with auto high beam and ambient lighting.
|3 years / 60000 miles
|Road Tax Bands
|Euro NCAP Safety Ratings
On sale until April 2023
|Core 231 69kWh FWD 5dr
|Plus 231 69kWh FWD 5dr
|Ultimate 231 69kWh FWD 5dr
On sale until December 2022
|Plus 408 Twin 78kWh AWD 5dr
|Ultimate 408 Twin 78kWh AWD 5dr
On sale until April 2022
|Pro 408 Twin 78kWh AWD 5dr
- Relaxed and smooth driving experience
- Serious performance from Dual Motor version
- Comfortable and well-finished cabin
- Good standard equipment
- Five-star Euro NCAP safety rating
- Reduced rear headroom
- Not a particularly sporty car
- XC40 Recharge does much the same job
- Needs adjustable regenerative braking
- March 2021: Volvo C40 Recharge electric SUV announced
- March 2022: Single-motor Volvo C40 announced
- January 2023: Longer range and faster charging for updated Volvo C40
Volvo C40 Recharge electric SUV announced
Volvo has set out plans for its second fully electric vehicle, the C40 Recharge. Prices are yet to be confirmed, but we expect a £50,000 price tag when it launches in 2022.
Volvo has promised to go all-electric by 2030, starting with the announcement that the new fully electric C40 Recharge will be available online only. The C40 Recharge will go into production this autumn and will be built alongside the XC40 Recharge at the Volvo manufacturing plant in Ghent, Belgium.
It will be followed by an electric version of the next-generation XC90, tipped to arrive next year, as well as a smaller crossover called the XC20.
The C40 Recharge is powered by twin electric motors, one on the front and one on the rear axle, with a 78kWh battery between them. Volvo says it can be fast-charged to 80 per cent in about 40 minutes on a 150kW fast charger. A full battery is good for around 260 miles, but over-the-air software updates mean this should improve over time.
From the front end, the C40 looks pretty much the same as the electric version of the XC40 - though the C40 is 70mm lower than the XC40 and a fraction shorter despite being the same width. It will also feature Volvo’s new Android-based touchscreen infotainment system. Volvo has yet to release any images of the C40 Recharge's interior, although it’s expected to be similar to the XC40 Recharge.
Prices have yet to be set, but the C40 will likely sit in amongst other luxury electric SUVs like the Audi e-tron and Jaguar I-Pace. We expect prices to start at around £50,000.
Single-motor Volvo C40 announced
Volvo Cars has unveiled a single-motor variant of the pure electric C40 Recharge, expanding its fully electric offer and supporting its ambition to help more people make the switch to fully electric cars.
The new single-motor C40 Recharge comes with a 69kWh battery and an anticipated range of up to 269 miles (434km) on a single charge under the WLTP drive cycle. The battery can be charged from 10 to 80 per cent capacity in approximately 32 minutes on a fast-charging system.
Longer range and faster charging for updated Volvo C40
As part of a new package of product updates, Volvo has improved both the range (WLTP) and charging for the XC40 Recharge and C40 Recharge compared with the outgoing model year, increasing range by as much as 41 miles on some variants.
Furthermore, three new powertrains are offered on the C40 Recharge and XC40 Recharge. These include two rear-wheel-drive variants as well as a revised all-wheel-drive performance model.
In rear-wheel-drive models, the single motor with standard range is driven by a 175kW permanent magnet electric motor (e-motor), which provides a three per cent increase in power output over the outgoing 170kW single-motor front-wheel-drive variant.
In the XC40 Recharge single motor, the same 69kWh battery capacity is carried over, but enhancements in cooling efficiency mean it can now deliver increased range and driving up to 286 miles (461 kilometres) according to the WLTP test cycle, compared with 264 miles (425 kilometres) before (WLTP).
The range of the C40 Recharge single motor, meanwhile, improves up to 296 miles (476 kilometres) from 272 miles (438 kilometres) (WLTP). A 10-80 per cent charge takes approximately 34 minutes using a 130kW DC public charger.
If you feel the need for more power and range, you can also opt for a larger battery coupled with a more powerful 185kW permanent magnet e-motor on the rear axle. This second new variant comes with an 82kWh battery pack, which boosts range up to 320 miles for the XC40 Recharge single motor extended range and up to 331 miles (WLTP) for the C40 Recharge single motor extended range.
Here, too, charging power has improved because the larger battery pack allows for charging at an updated top rate of 200kW DC (previously 150kW DC maximum), while a 10-80 per cent charge takes approximately 28 minutes.
The all-wheel-drive variants also benefit from these updates, realising even more impressive range improvements. The previous set-up of two 150kW e-motors on the front and rear axles has been replaced by our in-house-developed 183kW permanent magnet e-motor on the rear axle and a new 117kW asynchronous electric motor on the front axle.
This new configuration, paired with an 82kWh battery pack and overall efficiency improvements in battery cooling, means the XC40 Recharge Twin Motor AWD can now drive up to 311 miles (500 kilometres) on a single charge, a 39-mile (62-kilometre) boost over the previous iteration. The range of the C40 Recharge Twin Motor AWD has improved up to 315 miles (507 kilometres) from 280 miles (451 kilometres) (WLTP).
Exterior updates also help to improve efficiency where possible. For example, a new 19-inch alloy wheel for both XC40 and C40 Recharge not only boosts the overall look of the models, but it also helps to reduce drag through its aerodynamic design.