2023 Volvo C40 Recharge

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2023 Volvo C40 Recharge Test Drive Review: Step Into The Future

Whether the soaring gas prices will prove to be the tipping point for electric-powered cars or not, Volvo has timed its first dedicated all-electric vehicle well and aimed it carefully at its higher-end demographic. The timing couldn't be better for the Volvo C40 Recharge to hit the market. Effectively a spin-off of the XC40 Recharge, the C40 is EV only and eschews a traditional roofline for a coupe-styled one. The compact luxury crossover has one trim with all the bells and whistles included. The drivetrain creates 402 horsepower from a 78-kWh battery and two drive motors, achieving an EPA estimated range of 226 miles, some way off its Tesla Model Y rival. However, the Volvo feels more special from behind the wheel. Because the C40 Recharge is a premium Volvo, it comes with a full suite of safety features, a premium leather-free interior, and a Bowers & Wilkins sound system. What's interested us as much as the drivetrain and ride quality is the thought and detail that's gone into this important EV for the Swedish brand.

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 10 /10
  • Performance 8 /10
  • Fuel Economy 8 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 9 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 9 /10
  • Reliability 8 /10
  • Safety 10 /10
  • Value For Money 7 /10
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2023 Volvo C40 Recharge Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2021 C40 Recharge?

The latest addition to Volvo's Pure Electric range, the C40 recharge is all-new for 2022. Although it shares a few important things with the XC40, namely the powertrain and some of the interior styling, it has a sloping roofline and stands out a little more for its sleeker profile. The Swedish automaker proudly notes the C40 Recharge is 100% leather-free and yet still manages to fit into the luxury small EV SUV category. It comes in only one trim with a new name: the Recharge Twin Ultimate.

Pros and Cons

  • Alluring exterior design
  • Leather-free interior still looks awesome
  • Impressive performance
  • Comprehensive safety suite
  • 250 kWh of free charging on Electrify America network
  • High starting price
  • Not much on the options list
  • Less than ideal cargo capacity

What's the Price of the 2023 Volvo C40 Recharge?

Fortunately, there is only one Volvo C40 Recharge in the range for 2022, and it's well equipped at that. The price of the Volvo C40 Recharge is $58,750, excluding a $1,095 destination fee. The C40 may also qualify for federal tax credits, depending on the state you live in.

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2023 Volvo C40 Recharge Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Pure Electric Twin Core P8 eAWD
Single Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
Pure Electric Twin Plus P8 eAWD
Single Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
Pure Electric Twin Ultimate P8 eAWD
Single Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
See All 2023 Volvo C40 Recharge Trims and Specs

Handling and Driving Impressions

A good driving instructor will teach students to drive in a calm and business-like manner, and this is an excellent vehicle for doing just that. Volvo's cars tend to inspire calm and efficient driving, and with a quiet drivetrain and great noise, vibration, and harshness control, the C40 is one of the best. However, as with most heavy vehicles (despite being a compact crossover, the C40 with its batteries weighs 4,817 pounds), the suspension has to be tightly sprung to counter the weight. The ride is still compliant and isn't sports car stiff, but we can't describe it as super-smooth either. However, the benefit comes on a twisty road where that low-slung weight keeps things planted and helps make sure tire contact is maximized for all four wheels in a corner. Again, it's no sports car, but fun can be had with the C40 and the power on offer.

The C40 shines the brightest with the regenerative braking set properly and driving with one pedal - particularly around town. With the brakes coming on automatically when coming off-throttle and Volvo's excellent implementation of the one-pedal system, it's a breeze to get used to. It makes stop-start traffic easier to deal with while using the kinetic energy of electric braking to feed some charge back into the battery. In a whole day's driving into the countryside and around town, we only touched the brake pedal three or four times.

Another nice touch is also taken from the Polestar 2. There's no start/stop button in the C40, so you just unlock the car, get inside, put your foot on the brake, and select drive to go. When you select park, leave the car, and lock the door, the C40 shuts itself down. It doesn't take long to get used to and takes one seemingly small step out of the chain to add convenience to the car.

Verdict: Is the 2023 Volvo C40 Recharge A Good SUV?

Volvo doesn't acknowledge it, but the comparison is too strong not to mention - the C40 is, essentially, the compact crossover version of the Polestar 2 sedan. And, that's a great thing as we love the Polestar 2. The ride is great, if a little firm, there's a lot of power there when you need or want it, the tech is top-notch, and Volvo has thought through the details. The interior is excellent and challenges other premium automakers to raise their game with more eco-friendly materials while maintaining quality. There's little to fault, and even the price seems about right for a top-trim Volvo, which is exactly what the C40 currently is. There's little to compare it to in premium terms right now other than the Tesla Model Y, and Volvo beats it out on build quality, materials, and interior design all day long. Tesla may have the lead in battery technology right now, but Volvo is doing the math while ignoring the pointless range wars. The best advice anyone can give is to buy a car with the amount of range needed for your lifestyle.

What Volvo C40 Recharge Model Should I Buy?

As there's only one trim level for the Volvo C40, that's an easy decision. You're getting all of Volvo's bells and whistles, including all-wheel drive, an excellent Harman Kardon sound system, and heated rear seats as standard. We would leave the $510 Protection Package Premier and go aftermarket for wheel-locks and a luggage mat if the cargo space is to be used for dirty hiking boots and the like. The rest of the $510 we would have spent can go towards a dedicated charge point for the garage.

2023 Volvo C40 Recharge Comparisons

Volvo XC40 Recharge Volvo
Volkswagen ID.4 CarBuzz

2023 Volvo C40 Recharge vs Volvo XC40 Recharge

The differences between the C40 and its XC40 Recharge sibling are not just limited to an 'x' in the name, although it's true that these models share quite a few things. This includes the powertrain in the XC40 Recharge, and thus also outputs. Both vehicles also share the same towing capacity of 2,000 lbs. Where the squarer XC40 Recharge does have the edge is in cargo capacity. In the cabin, the design and layout is very similar and the features list is pretty much the same, too. The C40 has rear seat heating as standard, though, and has the unique, sustainably-sourced materials to make it stand out. EPA figures are similar but the new Volvo C40 Recharge manages around 2 MPGe more and has a slightly better range, too. Naturally, you also have the option of getting the XC40 as a gas model, in which case there is much more variety to choose from - and a lower price tag. Comparing apples with apples, though, the XC40 is around $7,000 cheaper.

See Volvo XC40 Recharge Review

2023 Volvo C40 Recharge vs Volkswagen ID.4

The VW ID.4 starts at almost $18k cheaper, although a top-end ID.4 can cost around $50k, all-in. The VW was launched with three trims to choose from, and power outputs of 201 hp and 228 lb-ft of torque. Sure, this is half of what the C40 offers, and the ID.4 ships with standard rear-wheel drive, although AWD is available. Performance isn't much to write home about in the ID.4 but what it does well is provide more range; VW claims up to 280 miles for the RWD ID.4 Pro. Towing capacity is higher than what the C40 manages, and cargo space is almost twice as good in the ID.4 - there's over 30 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats, and almost 65 cubes when those seats get folded down. And in the cabin, the ID.4's simplistic layout is just as pleasing as the spartan Scandinavian. We're partial to the understated elegance and humble luxury of the Volvo, though the reasonably-priced ID.4 also offers massaging front seats over and above what the C40 has. To be honest, this isn't genuinely a fair comparison - the C40 competes in the luxury segment and is just a step above the ID.4 in this regard. But that being said, the ID.4 provides a lot of value for what it costs.

See Volkswagen ID.4 Review
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