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Car reviews - Volvo - C40 - Recharge

Our Opinion

We like
Sleekly sculpted body, cohesive interior styling, subscription and after-sales support, impressive acceleration, accurate steering, logical tech interface, one-pedal operation
Room for improvement
Firm ride and suspension noise, rearward vision, low rent feel of some cabin plastics, seating position may feel high for some, no cover for glass ceiling

Volvo’s second pure-electric model has arrived with up to 300kW of emissions free power

26 Oct 2022



SIX months after it announced the Australian pricing and specification of its second all-electric model, Volvo Cars Australia has launched its exciting C40 Recharge Pure Electric into the local market, priced from $74,990 plus on-road costs in single-motor guise.


Volvo’s new compact eSUV, which notably integrates augmented LED lighting technology in the Swedish marque’s signature Thor’s Hammer headlight design, introduces the new face of Volvo battery-electric vehicles to the local market.


The C40 Recharge – which is offered in single- and twin-motor format – rides on Volvo’s Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform (which it shares with the closely related Polestar 2) and offers a lower, sleeker design that the larger XC40 Recharge.


As such, it presents a sportier, coupe-like roofline and stylish rear-end execution that cleverly disguises a capacious interior with high-set seating position, leather-free upholstery, and a range of model-specific colour and trim options.


Offered as standard with a 9.0-inch touchscreen infotainment array developed with Google, the C40 Recharge utilises an Android-based operating system that provides drivers with Google apps and built-in services, including Google Maps, Google Assistant, and Google Play Store. It’s very good.


The system arrives with a four-year data subscription included as standard.


What’s more, the C40 Recharge can receive software updates over the air, meaning it will “continue to improve over time after it has left the factory”, Volvo says.


The list of safety equipment is extensive; it includes forward collision warning and mitigation, front and rear park assist, blind-spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping aid, parking assistance, hill start assist and -descent control.


The C40 Recharge is also equipped with keyless entry, remote-opening and electrically operated tailgate, panoramic roof, auto-dimming mirrors, dual-zone climate control, heated front- and rear seats, as well as power-folding head restraints.


Additionally, twin-motor variants (from $82,490 plus ORCs) receive all-wheel drive, 20-inch alloy wheels, 360-degree camera technology, a Harman Kardon premium audio system, and Microtech & Textile upholstery.


The single-motor Volvo C40 Recharge offers 170kW/330Nm and up to 434km of driving range while twin-motor variants – with 300kW/660Nm – provides up to 420km of driving range. Respectively, the duo can accelerate from standstill to 100km/h in 7.4 and 4.7 seconds.


Battery capacity is listed at 67kWh in single-motor trim and 75kWh for the twin-motor with charging from a household outlet taking as long as 40 hours to achieve. A 150kW DC fast charger will reduce that number to as low as 32 minutes (from 10 to 80 per cent).


The small-segment SUV measures 4431mm in length, 1875mm in width and 1582mm in height and offers a cargo area of 413 litres in five-seat mode (and to window height).


Both C40 Recharge variants come with Volvo's five-year unlimited kilometre warranty, an eight-year roadside assistance package, eight-year battery warranty and two-year interval servicing.


Driving Impressions


It doesn’t take long to feel at home behind the wheel of the Volvo C40 Recharge. The operation of the vehicle is simple, and logical, with technology that it a cinch to use and at the same time supportive of the experience at the wheel – even the sat nav calculates (quite accurately, we might add) how much charge you’ll have remaining once you reach your destination.


The driving experience is equally straightforward. The driver simply hops in, fastens their seatbelt, selects Drive and pushes the accelerator. No need to turn the vehicle on or to confirm any on-screen prompts here… it’s just one smooth operation from go to whoa.


In fact, in most scenarios you’ll never even need to use the brake pedal. Volvo has calibrated the single-pedal operation of the C40 Recharge so well that in normal driving scenarios the car can be brought to a stop by simply easing the pressure on the right-hand pedal until the vehicle comes to rest. It works exceptionally well and becomes quite instinctive very quickly.


Of course, depressing the pedal the opposite way unleashes that instantaneous acceleration we’ve come to enjoy of battery electric vehicles. In both the single- and twin-motor we found progressive and brisk acceleration, the twin-motor and all-wheel drive have an obvious off-the-line advantage over its single-motor sibling.


That’s not to say the single-motor offering should be discounted. It still hustles with the kind of pace that would embarrass many petrol-powered sports cars – and has plenty in reserve for highway overtaking when required. It’s also more frugal when driven back-to-back with its higher performing twin, using 20.6kWh (average) against 21.5kWh on test.


For an electric vehicle the C40 Recharge has an impressively analogue level of feedback. That might sound like an odd thing to say, but the natural feel of the steering and brake pedal is such that you can easily forget you’re driving an EV.


The weighting and accuracy of the steering is just about perfect, and the brake pedal – when you do need to use it – wonderfully progressive.


Yet there are other facets of the C40 Recharge’s operation that aren’t as well metered. For example, the heavy battery pack and electric motor(s) means the suspension works hard over broken surfaces, at times transmitting the shock from rough edges – as well as appreciable suspension knock – into the cabin.


To be fair, the roads selected for the launch showed Volvo Cars Australia wasn’t shying away from demonstrating its very latest on some of the worst South Australia had to offer, and when back on maintained black-top the C40 Recharge reverted to its planted, near-silent stance with aplomb.


Elsewhere, we found a few minor quibbles some owners may find equally grating. The eco-friendly cabin, for example, can present as a little low rent, especially in some of the plastics used on parts of the dashboard, centre console and door trims.


We also found the rear vision from the C40 Recharge is very restrictive, the thick C-pillars, sloping roofline and small rear window conspiring to limit the field of vision from the rear-view mirror. Fortunately, when manoeuvring, the 360-degree camera helps to alleviate any guesswork.


Finally, we think some drivers may find that the driver’s seat can’t be lowered adequately for that “spot on” driving position and be frustrated that the glass ceiling doesn’t offer adequate insulation from the scorching Aussie sun. They’re little things in the greater scheme of things, but worth considering if you’re taller, or living in the country’s northern reaches.


Otherwise, the C40 Recharge is a fine car, and another step forward for a brand with electrification in its sights. It offers the safety levels and technological innovations we’ve come to expect from the 95-year-old brand, while at the same time offering the kind of easy-to-operate battery electric motoring many buyers are looking for.


What’s more, it’s one of the few BEVs with steady stock supply – and not to mention particularly strong after sales support – in the country right now, meaning you won’t have to wait long to feel at home behind the wheel of a truly modern, and particularly attractive, electric car.


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