Volvo C40 Recharge review

The Volvo C40 Recharge is effectively the coupe version of the popular Volvo XC40 Recharge electric SUV. It looks great, but that sloping roofline affects practicality

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This score is awarded by our team of
expert reviewers
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers
after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Looks great on the outside…
  • …and on the inside
  • Blistering electric performance

What's not so good

  • Terrible rear visibility
  • Not particularly fun to drive
  • Other electric SUVs have better range

Find out more about the Volvo C40 Recharge

Is the Volvo C40 Recharge a good car?

This is the new Volvo C40 Recharge. It’s an all-electric family SUV that majors on style appeal, and which goes up against alternatives such as the Audi Q4 e-Tron Sportback, and the Skoda Enyaq Coupe.

Essentially, it’s the same car underneath as the XC40 Recharge – a car that we think is really rather good.

But where you might view the boxier SUV as being akin to the sensible, grown-up older brother, the C40 Recharge is more like the trendier, edgier younger sibling. Just look at that sloping, coupe-style roofline – it almost makes it look like it’s wearing a turned-around baseball cap.

There are a handful of other new sporty details dotted around the place, too. The C40 Recharge gets some sportier side-skirts and bumpers, and there’s also a small bootlid spoiler round the back.

Up front you get the same closed-off front grille that marks the XC40 Recharge out as an electric car; while the ‘Thor’s Hammer’ headlights, whose main beams now feature ultra-bright Pixel LED technology, make a classy appearance too.

It’s a very good looking car, this, and that abundant style appeal continues on the inside.

All C40s get a fully vegan interior as standard (say goodbye to leather, folks), while funky blue-coloured carpets and door trims are available to give the car a bit of extra visual pizzaz. There are some swish-looking trim inserts on the dash too, which feature a map-like contour line motif – the design of which is supposedly influenced by Swedish mountains.

Volvo’s latest Android-based touchscreen infotainment system is also included. This comes with Google Maps built-in, and supports over-the-air software updates. It’s easy enough to use, and the graphics are clear and responsive. It’s just a shame that this system doesn’t currently support Apple CarPlay for even greater ease of use (an upcoming over-the-air software update will rectify that, though).

The twin-motor version is extremely fast, but it’s likely Volvo will release a single motor version further down the line. This will be cheaper, and will have a greater electric range - so it’s the one I’d go for.

Mat Watson
Mat Watson
carwow expert

The C40 Recharge offers plenty of comfort up front and a decent enough level of adjustability in terms of driving position – though you might find yourself wanting to be able to bring the steering wheel a bit closer into your chest. The sporty-looking seats are heated and electrically adjustable, and do a good job of keeping you comfy and supported over longer trips.

It’s not all rosy in here, though. For starters, the dramatic coupe roofline eats into headroom in the back seats compared with the regular XC40 Recharge. It’s not a dealbreaker by any means, but taller passengers will find that the tops of their heads brush the headlining in the back of the C40 Recharge. Smaller rear windows means it feels a bit dark in the back, too.

With a more steeply sloped rear window, the view out the back is also extremely restricted. Being a Volvo, however, there are plenty of parking cameras and sensors available to help keep you from accidentally bumping bumpers in a busy car park.

Boot space comes in at 414 litres, which is the same as what you get on the regular electric XC40. It’s a hatchback opening too, so loading bulkier items is just as easy.

And as for battery and motor options? Well, there’s just one set-up to choose from. This comprises a 75kWh battery with a claimed range of 273 miles, which is used to power two electric motors for a combined output of 408hp, and a 0-60mph time of 4.7 seconds.

The result is blisteringly quick acceleration when you plant your foot – it really does surpass the point of ridiculousness. But it does at least mean overtaking manoeuvres are a breeze, and when you’re cruising about it remains a smooth and quiet car to plod around in.

Overly light steering and fairly soft suspension does mean it’s not all that fun to drive quickly, but it does make it more than comfortable enough for trundling around town – even if its big alloy wheels can make it feel a bit fidgety over lumps and bumps.

And as for charging? Well, plug into a 7kW home wallbox and you’ll replenish the C40’s battery overnight. Track down a 150kW DC rapid charger, and it’ll be topped up from 10% to 80% in 40 minutes.

You can buy the C40 Recharge on a monthly subscription basis through the Care by Volvo service. Payments start from £679 per month on a three-year contract, but you can find out more about that on our Volvo C40 Recharge deals page.

How practical is it?

Front seat passengers will find the C40 Recharge to be very comfy indeed, but that sloping roofline does eat into rear headroom

Boot (seats up)
413 litres
Boot (seats down)
1,205 litres

The C40 Recharge comes as standard with sporty looking seats that are heated and electrically adjustable. They’re a bit on the firm side, but plenty of bolstering helps to keep you supported – so you don’t end up groaning and aching after long drives. You might find that you could do with a bit more reach adjustability in the steering column, but on the whole you’ll be comfy and cosy at the wheel.

In the back, practicality does take a bit of a hit. That sloping, coupe-style roof line might look great, but the compromise is that there’s less headroom in the back. Passengers who are six-feet tall will find that the tops of their heads are very close indeed to the roof-lining, and if you’re even taller you might find yourself sitting at a bit of an uncomfortable angle. There is a good amount of legroom, at least.

Isofix anchor points are fitted to both of the outer rear seats.

No complaints here, really. Up front, there’s a couple of good-sized door bins for drink bottles and what not, and because they’re fabric-lined your various bits and pieces don’t rattle around noisily.

The centre console has two additional cup holders that are deep enough to ensure your coffee cup or drink bottle doesn’t topple out if you suddenly accelerate. There’s also a wireless charge pad just ahead of the gear selector, and another storage compartment underneath the central arm rest.

In the back there are a couple of additional doorbins, and the centre armrest folds down to reveal additional cupholders.

While the C40 Recharge’s sloping roofline does eat into rear headspace, its boot capacity is the same as the standard XC40 Recharge SUV. So you still get 414 litres of storage space, which is accessed via a large opening and a practical hatchback-style tailgate.

The tailgate is electrically-operated and features hands-free opening – all you have to do is wave your foot beneath the rear bumper and it’ll pop open. That’s handy if you’re lugging heavy shopping bags around. There’s also a small storage compartment under the bonnet, where you’ll be able stash away charging cables.

Alternatives such as the Skoda Enyaq have even larger boots, as does the likes of the Audi Q4 e-tron Sportback.

What's it like to drive?

The C40 Recharge is ridiculously quick in a straight line – almost unnecessarily so. Electric range is good, but alternatives offer even more from a charge

At the moment, the C40 Recharge is offered with only one battery and motor combination. You get a 75kWh battery that’s good for a claimed range of just over 270 miles, and an electric motor at each axle for all-wheel-drive and a combined output of 408hp and 660Nm.

As a result, the C40 Recharge is blisteringly quick in a straight line. Volvo says it will dash from 0-60mph in just 4.7 seconds, and it feels every bit as fast as those numbers suggest it should be. Given this is otherwise a sensible, unsporting family SUV in the way that it drives, that ridiculous performance does feel somewhat unnecessary. It does make overtaking a breeze, though.

During our drive, the trip computer said we were averaging 2.6miles per kilowatt-hour of energy used, which translates to a theoretical real-world range of just under 200 miles. If most of your driving takes place at slower, inner-city speeds, chances are you’ll get even more range from the battery.

And as for charging? Well, plug the C40 Recharge into a 7kW home wallbox and you’ll easily be able to top it up to 100% overnight. At a public 150kW DC rapid charger, you can top the Volvo’s battery up to 80% capacity in just 40 minutes.

It’s worth pointing out that other electric SUVs offer greater range than the Volvo. The Audi Q4 e-tron Sportback, for instance, has a claimed range of up to 316 miles; while the certain versions of the Ford Mustang Mach-E can travel as far as 379 miles on a charge.

It’s very likely that Volvo will release a cheaper single motor version at some point, which should provide even greater range from a charge. This hasn’t been confirmed just yet, but you should expect this version to be able to travel more than 300 miles with a full battery.

With very light steering and smooth, precise acceleration from its electric motors, the Volvo C40 Recharge is a very easy car to drive around town. It’s raised-up driving position means you can easily see down the road in front of you, but its sloping roofline and narrow rear window makes for pretty terrible rear visibility. Luckily, it comes as standard with 360-degree parking cameras and sensors, so backing into narrow bays isn’t too tricky.

There’s a one-pedal drive mode, too. This ramps up the regenerative power from the electric motors, and gradually slows the car down to a halt when you lift off the throttle. The force with which the motors slow the car is quite strong, so it can take a bit of getting used to. Once you’ve wrapped your head around the technique, though, you’ll likely find that you leave the C40 Recharge in one-pedal mode all of the time.

With a softer suspension set up, the C40 Recharge is comfortable at high speed out on the motorway, but its large alloy wheels does mean that it can feel a little bit tetchy over bumps when you’re travelling slowly. There’s a bit of tyre roar and wind noise too, but generally this is a comfy car for travelling long distances in – particularly with the standard-fit adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist systems activated.

Through corners there is a fair bit of body lean, but you don’t get the sense the car is wallowing about uncontrollably. The steering is very light and does feel a bit vague, so this isn’t really a car that encourages you to drive in a sporty fashion – despite the immense power that’s under your right foot. Still, there’s more than enough grip on offer to easily keep things tidy.

What's it like inside?

The Volvo C40 Recharge has a plush cabin that looks and feels great. The infotainment system is pretty slick too, but it doesn’t get Apple CarPlay (yet) and some important controls are buried away in submenus

Volvo C40 Recharge colours

Metallic - Fjord blue
Metallic - Fusion red
Metallic - Onyx black
Metallic - Silver Dawn
Metallic - Thunder grey
Premium metallic - Crystal white
Premium metallic - Sage green
Solid - Black Stone
Next Read full interior review
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