The 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge puts lots of personality into a compact crossover body. The C40 pitches Volvo virtues in a compact electric crossover footprint. Rivals include the Ford Mach-e, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, Mercedes-Benz ELB, and the Tesla Model Y. It’s perky, unpretentious, and plugs in to the electric-car future: what’s not to like?
The compact footprint and tall-coupe body could make for a surprisingly cohesive look, but Volvo smartly leans into a urban-hipster aesthetic with the C40. It ditches the boxy glamour of Volvo’s bigger crossovers, and it’s XC40 sibling, in the process, but picks up street cred with a handful of trendy design cues; hammer-shaped LED headlights, a curvaceous coupe roofline, and taillights that have a cool light effect that runs all the way up the rear sides. It’s short and swoopy that has a youthful shape that should age well.
The C40 Recharge is a very different piece of work from it’ Volvo crossover siblings, save it be for the XC40 with which is shares most things. Its power comes from a 78-kwh lithium-ion battery pack, teamed to a pair of 150-kw electric motors, for a net of 402 hp. It cruises in near silence and zips past gas-powered C40s, taking just 4.7 seconds to hit 60 mph and doing it without the gas car’s slight turbo lag. Charged full, the EPA pegs it at 226 miles of range with standard all-wheel drive.
It’s more leaden, of course, batteries add weight to an already heavy crossover body, and less eager to dive into corners. But with its instant off-the-line acceleration, it has an engaging personality all its own. The C40 has a firm ride, and with a short wheelbase it can generate some busy ride motions, particularly on versions with the unnecessary 21-inch wheels and R-Design sport suspension. It’s otherwise entertaining to drive, with hefty steering that’s precise and agreeable to rapid switchbacks and lane changes.
The smart safety money’s on the C40. The IIHS gives it the Top Safety Pick+ honor. While the NHTSA hasn’t technically scored the C40, it has tested the nearly identical XC4o which scores the compact crossover at five stars overall. The C40 comes with standard blind-spot monitors with steering assist, active lane control, automatic high-beam LED headlights, and automatic emergency braking. The Recharge also has a surround-view camera system.
Inside it goes for less baroque, too. Gone is the lava-orange carpet from its debut years; now the C40 wears blond or gray leather like its siblings, with wood trim and light touches of metallic trim. The dash jogs in the middle with its portrait-style 9.0-inch touchscreen, and we’ve become fans of the expansive options presented on the screen in that orientation.
Four people fit fine inside the C40, with their roll-aboard luggage in back. The sculpted front seats have a wide range of adjustment to fit lots of body types; 6-footers have ample head room, but shouldn’t count on cooling for the leather-clad buckets. To go with their blacked-out exterior trim, the C40 seats clad in a grippy sueded material with nappa leather. Volvo tucks storage bins for small items around the cabin: in the door panels, in the dash, and in the center console.
The C40’s relatively narrow body means two people also get good head and leg room in back. A third will just make things awkward. The high-mounted bench seat ensures a decent view ahead for those in back. With just under 14.6 cubic feet behind the rear seats, the C40 can net out at about 48.7 cubic feet of space with just two front passengers on board.
The C40 has lots of features and options, but the 4-year/50,000-mile warranty with 3 years/36,000 miles of scheduled maintenance is the standout. $56,395 start you out at the CORE, which includes 19-inch wheels, a cloth interior, power heated front seats, power rear hatch, wireless smartphone charging, and Volvo’s new Google-based infotainment system on a 9.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Plus for $57,945 adds fog lights, 360-degree cameras with parking assist, power passenger seat, and power rear head rests. At the top is the Ultimate at $61,195 which adds a heat pump for better cold weather range, heated steering wheel, adaptive cruise control with pilot assist, 20-inch wheels, and heated rear seats.
The Volvo C40 Recharge, like the XC40 Recharge that came before it, is a great early entry into an ever competitive and growing EV marketplace. Luckily Volvo shows up with its A-game bringing a formidable contender with the C40 Recharge. Bold muscular styling, cutting edge technology, a responsive powertrain, and Volvo standard safety credentials make the C40 a force to be reckoned with.