Pros: performance, battery range
Cons: premium price, reduce practicality
With the arrival of the Volvo C40, the Swedish manufacturer expands its range of SUVs and does so with an exclusively electric model. Accompanied by impressive performance figures, the C40 uses the same powertrain as the XC40 and drapes a sportier body over it.
Volvo C40 Design
As with the XC40, this electric C40 carries the Recharge name to indicate its battery power, an aspect that is reinforced by the blanked-off front grille painted to match the rest of the bodywork. To further enhance the sloping roofline of the C40, the door mirrors, A-pillars and roof are painted in black, while a dual element rear spoiler channels air flow centrally over the back window, allowing it be wiper-free.
Emphasising the C40’s design-led proportions are standard 20-inch alloy wheels that fill the plastic-clad arches. A contrasting black surround that extends through the lower door sections, sills and bumpers, gives the Volvo a more lifted appearance. The ‘Thor’s Hammer’ LED daytime running lights are an instantly recognisable feature, while the rear light strips play a short animation when the car is unlocked.
At 4,440mm, the C40 is slightly longer than the XC40 due to its bumper design, although the wheelbase remains the same at 2,702mm. That makes the Volvo slightly longer than the Audi Q3 Sportback but shorter than the BMW X4, for example.
Volvo C40 Interior
The premium credentials of the Volvo C40 come to the fore when you sit inside, as it uses high-quality materials and has some of the most comfortable seats going. Leather is no longer an option in the C40, as Volvo is moving away from using the material in favour of more sustainable upholsteries.
An all-digital layout fills the dashboard, with a 12-inch instrument display and a touchscreen infotainment system that uses an Android-based operating system. That makes it quite handy to have Google Maps already installed along with Spotify for music streaming. Within the dashboard are design inserts that are influenced by map topography and when illuminated at night look very distinctive.
Due to the different roof profile there is a little less room in the rear for adults, with headroom decreasing by 62mm compared with the XC40. The fitment of a panoramic glass roof does serve to compensate and helps to make it feel roomier in the back. A 489-litre boot leaves the C40 with enough of a practical side and as it is fully electric there is an additional front storage section under the bonnet that measures 31 litres.
Volvo C40 Performance & Drive
Only one battery is offered in the Volvo C40, a large 78kWh item that is enough for as much as 444 kilometres of driving range in WLTP conditions. It feeds a dual-motor setup that gives the C40 impressive outputs of 408hp and 660Nm. Acceleration is brisk, going from 0-100km/h in 4.7 seconds.
Given Volvo’s dedication to safety and eliminating risk from its cars, it seems slightly odd to then put so much power into a small SUV, but it reckons that is what buyers want. Incidentally, the company plans to offer a single motor version in time, which will have less performance but should gain in driving range.
For now that power is dispatched to all four wheels and on the move the Volvo feels planted and surefooted. Even when you unleash its maximum power it always behaves in a controlled manner. On a more practical level, the one-pedal driving feature helps to prolong driving range by maximising energy recuperation every time you lift your foot off the accelerator pedal. It slows the car at quite a rate and once you become used to it, you’ll rarely need to use the brake pedal in typical urban driving. Unlike other cars that offer similar functionality, it isn’t possible to adjust the level or strength of the regeneration, except to fully disengage it.
A firm suspension setup does a good job at softening the bigger impacts while retaining a high degree of composure and body control. The steering isn’t overly engaging but fits the Volvo’s balanced driving style. Almost non-existent rearward visibility is one of the few black marks on the Volvo’s otherwise clean copybook.
Volvo C40 Pricing
The Volvo C40 will have a starting price of €68,950 (excluding delivery charges), placing it firmly at the premium end of the market. That will include a Care Offer that covers servicing, a €500 insurance contribution and a plug-surfing card that enables access to all of the main charging providers.
Carzone Verdict: 3.5/5
While it’s hard to ignore the roomier and cheaper XC40, the high-quality premium interior and the impressive performance output make the Volvo C40 an attractive and interesting car to drive.