Last year, Volvo gave us their first ever all-electric vehicle; the XC40 Recharge. This year, they’ve given the car the “coupe-like” treatment in the form of the 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge. Mechanically, it is the same as the XC40 but with a coupe-like SUV design that everyone seems to want these days.
Now, before we go any further, I originally wanted to compare this car against the Jaguar I-Pace. Unfortunately, the Volvo started acting up and it had to be returned for repairs. I’ll get into what happened a bit later in the review.
Motors – The Volvo C40 comes standard with two electric motors that power the front & rear axles. Combined, they have an output of 402 hp and 486 lb-ft of torque (300 kW & 659 Nm). That is quick enough for a 0-100 km/h time of around 4.5 seconds. Pretty good for something that tips the scales at 2,185 kg (4,817 lbs). Like many other electric vehicles, power is instant and relentless until the speed is hovering around the 120 km/h mark. After which the acceleration slows down but it’s still more than enough for our roads here in North America.
Battery & Charging – Providing the power to the motors is a floor mounted battery pack that has 75 kWh of usable energy. It allows the 2022 C40 to drive for up to 364 km (226 miles). That is on the low side when compared to the likes of the Tesla Model Y or Hyundai Ioniq 5 but it’s about the same as the Jaguar I-Pace.
Recharging the battery can be done at a maximum of 150 kW and from 10% to 80% in about 33 minutes. From the fastest level 2 charger, it’ll be around 8 hours from 0% to 100%. Not too bad but again, the Ioniq 5 can do it faster.
Braking – One of the best driving experiences of the Volvo C40 is the effortless use of the one-pedal drive mode. It makes rush hour commutes a breeze. The car can be smoothly controlled, right down to a stop, with just slight movement of your right foot on the accelerator pedal. If you need to use the physical brakes, the pedal is firm and the brakes stop the car with authority.
Handling – To drive, the 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge isn’t particularly sporty. The steering is numb, feeling a little too light. It can be adjusted for a firmer feel but it’s just too artificial. That being said, the C40 is planted around corners with the body roll kept in check by the suspension. It does tend to understeer when pushed to its limits but at least you will never have to worry about snap oversteer. In two words, it’s safe.
Ride Comfort – With The 20” wheels, the 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge has a firm but not uncomfortable ride. You will feel the bumps in the road but the suspension rounds off the corners so that they don’t feel too harsh in your seat. Speaking of which, Volvo makes some of the most comfortable seats in the business with enough padding and enough adjustments for various body sizes.
Interior Space – Front occupants have a generous amount of space. Legroom and headroom are plentiful for tall adults like myself at 6’4”. The back seats are a bit more cramped in the vertical axis. Due to the sloping roof, headroom is very tight. Legroom though is good behind my tall driving position.
Cargo space is small at just 489 L (17.3 cu-ft) with the rear seats up. With the seats folded, the cargo capacity increases to 1,205 L (42.5 cu-ft) which is still quite a bit less than the Jaguar I-Pace. But the C40 does have a small storage compartment under the hood for smaller items.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – Like many EVs, the 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge is a fairly quiet and smooth vehicle. There are no vibrations from the powertrain and the cabin is insulated from the outside world. But the sounds from the electric motors is a bit more noticeable in this C40 than in other EVs.
Odds and Ends
Pricing – The 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge starts at $59,950 CAD ($55,300 USD). This demo vehicle was equipped with the price of $75,500 CAD ($60,795 USD).
Gadgets – The Volvo C40 can be equipped like a luxury vehicle should be. It has heated seats in all four corners, heated steering wheel, a panoramic moonroof (which doesn’t open), surround view cameras, LED headlights, power liftgate, Harmon Kardon sound system, dual zone climate control, and more.
This car also has Volvo’s new infotainment system which is now Android Automotive based. It has Google built-in services & apps such as Google maps and Google assistant. It looks similar to Volvo’s old Sensus system so if you’re used to that system, you should be fine with this one. However, I have had a couple of minor issues with this new system. When I first picked up the car, the GPS system could not reconnect with the satellite system so Google maps didn’t work until after restarting the car. The next day, the entire infotainment system stopped working while on my way to work. Nothing on the screen worked, I could not change the climate, the radio station, the heated seat controls, nothing. I had to pull over, turn off and lock the car, walk away so that it stopped detecting the key, and then restart the car before it worked again.
Now infotainment systems sometimes crash, I’ve seen it happen before. But this just further proves my point that climate and seat controls should NOT be integrated into the infotainment system. They should be separate physical controls.
As well, the Volvo C40 has the same keyless start system as a Tesla. You just get in it with the key somewhere on you, put the car into Drive and away you go. This is the main reason why the car had to go back for repairs. After a few days, the car stopped recognizing the key. I could not lock or unlock the car with the key fob. I tried changing the battery but no luck. The car still ran but only if I placed the key in the center console. But it would display a message to call SOS services. I pressed the button a few times, and nothing happened. I also left the car overnight, unlocked, to see if it would reset itself or something. No luck. So it had to go back to get its software fixed because I did not feel comfortable leaving an almost $80,000 car unlocked out on the street. Turns out that the over the air update was somehow disrupted and it needed to go to a dealership to re-upload the software update.
Interior Design – The C40 Recharge shares almost all of its interior design with the XC40. From the tablet style touchscreen to the steering wheel, the seats, and center console. This particular car has the optional Fjord Blue carpet which looks great… in photos & videos. In reality, there is a reason why carpets are black. The driver’s side carpet was starting to have stains on the floor mat and this car had about 5,000 km on the odometer. Each of these cars go through a thorough cleaning process before the next journalist gets into the car and it’s done by professionals and yet, even they couldn’t get the carpets looking like new. Again, the blue looks great but not very practical in the real world.
Exterior Design – Everything from the front bumper to the front door is identical to the Volvo XC40. It’s from then on that the C40 differentiates itself. The car has the “coupe” styling that is in fashion right now in the auto industry and I personally don’t like it. I think the car looks ok but I don’t understand the point of having a stylish coupe design in a crossover SUV. It hampers rear visibility, it removes rear passenger headroom, and it can carry less cargo than the normal XC40.
Safety – The Volvo C40 is a safe vehicle with the car earning a Top Safety Pick+ from the IIHS. It scored well in crash tests and received good marks for the advanced safety and driver aids. The car also can be equipped with the excellent Pilot Assist system that can aid in making boring highway drives more comfortable. It is not a hands-free system but it does a great job of keeping the car centered in the lane.
Warranty – The Volvo C40 has a 4 year / 80,000 km new vehicle & powertrain warranty. The battery is covered by an 8 year / 150,000 km warranty.
Conclusion – Putting aside the issues with this demo vehicle, the 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge is a good first attempt from Volvo at making an EV. It’s not perfect however because there are less expensive EVs out there with more range. If I were comparing it against the Jaguar I-Pace like how I had initially planned to, I would have chosen the Volvo over the Jaguar. I just found the Volvo to drive a bit better for daily commutes than the Jag. But like the Jaguar, I would personally go with another EV altogether because others like the Kia EV6 have more range, same features, and cost less.
Thank you to Volvo Canada for providing the vehicle. www.VolvoCars.com