What is it ?
The C40 Recharge is Volvo’s first standalone electric car. Looks wise, it’s a coupe-SUV, built on the same platform as both the XC40 Recharge & the Polestar 2.
Our Twin Pro test car, uses the same dual motor set-up as the XC40 Recharge & Polestar 2. So, a 78kWh battery powers the motors offering 402bhp, 0-62mph in 4.7 seconds & a 273 mile electric range. The single motor front-wheel-drive Volvo C40 Recharge has 228bhp available & can accelerate from 0-62mph in 7.4sec & comes with a 271 mile range.
Three to choose from; Core, Plus or Ultimate. The cheapest way in is the single-motor only Core costing £47,100 or £669 per month. Then you can select either Twin or Single Motor versions of Plus & range topping Ultimate, with this one coming in at £61,950 0r £799 per month.
It’s a similar shape & size to the Polestar 2, so it’s a chunky, squat, almost coupe like SUV, but unlike the Polestar it features a sloping roof, which makes it stand out in a crowd. Distinctive LED lights feature on each corner.
The C40 is unmistakably a Volvo & is similar inside to the XC40 Recharge. So you get the usual Volvo portrait touchscreen, 12″ drivers display, Google Apps, Volvo vertical air-vents & steering wheel controls. There is though, no leather in the cabin, as this is the first Volvo model to come Vegan-friendly. The seat & door finishes are excellent & the overall the inside of the C40 puts the Tesla Model 3 to shame.
All C40’s come very well equipped. So you get a 9″ centre console touchscreen, Google Automotive Services, Volvo Cars app, wireless/inductive mobile phone charging, an eight-speaker sound system with four USB sockets, City Safety – includes pedestrian & cyclist detection, plus front collision warning with fully automatic emergency braking, including at junctions, Oncoming Lane Mitigation, Run-off Road Protection – automatically tightens the front seat belts, a fixed panoramic sunroof, keyless entry/start, automatic LED headlights with active high beam, rear parking sensors, a power-operated tailgate, two-zone climate control with CleanZone air-quality system, cruise control with speed limiter, a 12.3″ progressive driver’s information display & finally 19″ alloy wheels.
There’s a Range Assistant app for the XC40, designed to help you maximise & monitor accurate, real-time electric range. This can optimise energy management & for example, can automatically adjust the climate control to select a more efficient setting. We found it a little confusing.
When fully charged, our Recharge Twin Pro indicated 261 miles of range, with a minimum of 140 miles & a medium of 170 miles illustrated. The three figures are there to give an indication of the potential range based on ‘worst’, ‘medium’ & ‘best’ scenarios using these variables.
When we were out in the C40, what tends to happen is that subconsciously, you assume that the cars range is always the medium figure, in our case 170 miles. So, you tend to want to re-charge sooner than perhaps you need to.
Driving in June the cars range is pretty accurate, so drive sensibly & expect to get 230 miles plus from your C40.
C40 comes with rapid-charging. At the car’s maximum charging speed of 150kW, the battery will be replenished from 0 to 80% in 40 minutes, while a full charge from a regular 7.4kW home charger, like our own Rolec, http://www.rolecserv.com/home-charging takes around 11.5 hours.
Up front there’s loads of head & legroom. Rear passengers take a hit from the sloping roof though & rear visibility suffers. You also get a decent glove box & door pockets, twin cup holders & an armrest with storage under it. The boot opening is wide with no awkward lip to get things over & there’s 413 litres on offer, with the added bonus of 31 litres under the bonnet, perfect for storing both charging cables.
At 2,620kg, you can certainly feel the weight of the C40. Climb aboard & the car starts as soon as you unlock the doors. It moves away quietly & stays that way even on the motorway. Steering is accurate & light although you can increase the steering weight if desired, via the touchscreen.
Whilst the C40 does a pretty good job of riding over poor road surfaces, you know you’re in an EV, with a hardness to the ride which is unmistakeable in all electric vehicles. Urban driving is relaxing & faster A & B roads, illustrate just how well the C40 handles on twisting roads. Unsurprisingly, it’s on the motorway where it really shines.That massive 660Nm’s of torque takes you from lane 1 to 3 in an instant which never gets boring.
Settle in at 70mph & the adaptive cruise control takes over. You can adjust the speed & distance using the steering wheel controls & make & receive hands-free phone calls from here as well. All of the switch gears easy to reach & the new infotainment systems an improvement over the previous Sensus set up.
In the town or city, single pedal driving is possible, as there are two levels of regenerative braking: a coasting mode, or a setting to choose how much regenerative braking you want when you lift off the throttle.
Anyone thinking of choosing a Volvo as their next company car should know that Volvo will be ramping up their BEV production capacity in 2022. Furthermore, Volvo expect 65% of their 2022 BEV & 75% of their 2022 PHEV volumes to be in the fleet and business sectors, so order yours now !
The XC40 has been our favourite Volvo since it was launched, but we think we’ve found a new love, even preferring the C40 to the Polestar 2. The build quality is superb, the addition of Google Assistant a bonus & the fixed 2% BIK for the next 3 years makes it an incredibly attractive proposition for fleet customers.
The C40 is expensive, with out test car, the Recharge Twin Pro costing £53,100 & available from £719 per month, although with no deposit or sign-up fee required. Price wise, It’s firmly in Tesla Model 3 & Y territory, as well as competing with the Polestar 2. Our only other niggle is that we would prefer a simple electric range indicator, rather than the Range Assistant, which was confusing.
With the addition of the C40 to their range, Volvo has a winner on it’s hands. It’s great fun to drive, is very well made, offers some clever Scandi design touches throughout & it looks different as well. Yes, it’s expensive, but the good news for company car drivers, is that Volvo does offer a cheaper single motor version which drop’s the car’s price-tag to £47,100 for the single-motor only Core version, making this one the one to choose.