The primary criticism of crossover-coupes is that they sacrifice a sedan’s drivability and a crossover’s versatility in the name of style, all while carrying a higher price tag. And you know what? I can forgive that. After all, if style makes the consumer happy and they’re willing to pay, who am I to judge?
But not every crossover-coupe can make such a strong argument that its sacrifices are worthwhile. After driving the 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge for a week followed immediately by a similar stint in the XC40, this sleek crossover-coupe simply isn’t different enough to make up for the shortcomings produced by its body or those inherent in Volvo’s EV architecture.
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|Quick Stats||2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge|
|Motor:||Twin Permanent-Magnet Synchronous|
|Output:||402 Horsepower / 486 Pound-Feet|
|0-60 MPH:||4.5 Seconds|
|EV Range:||226 Miles|
Gallery: 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge: Review
- Exterior Color: Fjord Blue
- Interior Color: Charcoal/Fjord Blue
- Wheel Size: 20 Inches
The C40 Recharge follows the crossover-coupe handbook to the letter. The design from the B-pillar forward is essentially identical to the XC40 Recharge, which itself is a lightly modified version of what Volvo sells on the gas-only XC40. A body-color grille insert is the primary distinguisher for the EV models. Once past the B-pillar, the body lines and fender are similar, but they play against an aggressively raked rear window that terminates in the most adorable little decklid. The wing spoiler and body-hugging taillights set the C40 apart, but there’s little hiding the familial design traits.
That’s true of the cabin to an even greater degree. The Swedish minimalism remains stylish and sophisticated, but there’s little arguing that this design is getting a little long in the tooth. The touchscreen infotainment system is on the tiny side, for example. That said, the C40’s available blue carpet and light-up trim pieces are a pleasant departure from the XC40. The latter come into play at night, bathing the dash and door panels in in soft, white light.
save over $3,400 on average off MSRP* on a new Volvo XC40
- Seating Capacity: 5
- Seating Configuration: 2 / 3
- Cargo Capacity: 17.3 / 42.6 Cubic Feet
Like the XC40 Recharge, the C40 rides on a platform shared with gas-powered vehicles. That means vestigial traits like a transmission tunnel that prevent Volvo’s EVs from feeling as open and airy as rivals riding on dedicated skateboard platforms. But there are broader concerns with the C40’s shape, too. The aggressively raked roofline and limited second-row legroom mean the back seatis difficult for all but the shortest adults to access.
|Interior Dimensions||Headroom, Front/Rear||Legroom, Front/Rear||Cargo Volume|
|Volvo C40 Recharge||39.4 / 36.7 Inches||40.9 / 36.1 Inches||17.3 / 42.6 Cubic Feet|
|Ford Mustang Mach-E||40.4 / 39.3 Inches||43.3 / 38.1 Inches||29.7 / 59.7 / 4.7 Cubic Feet|
|Hyundai Ioniq 5||39.1 / 37.5 Inches||41.7 / 39.4 Inches||27.5 / 59.3 Cubic Feet|
|Tesla Model Y||41.0 / 39.4 Inches||41.8 / 40.5 Inches||30.2 / 72.1 / 4.1 Cubic Feet|
|Volkswagen ID.4||40.6 / 37.9 Inches||41.1 / 37.6 Inches||30.3 / 64.2 Cubic Feet|
The front seats are comfortable and roomy though, offering adequate support without giving in to oversized and claustrophobic side bolsters. The bottom seat cushion is a touch on the flat side, but there’s enough thigh support that it doesn’t punish taller adults. The ride is comfortable and pleasant at both low and high speeds, proving well isolated on rougher roads and pinned down on undulating surfaces. The C40, like the XC40’s gas model, has a solid handle on wind noise too.
- Center Display: 9.0-inch Touchscreen
- Instrument Cluster Display: 12.0-inch
- Wireless Apple CarPlay or Android Auto: No
The Google Automotive infotainment system introduced on the Polestar 2 has made its way to the C40 and XC40 EVs. Living on a portrait-oriented display that looks smaller than the 9.0 inches corner-to-corner measurement suggest, the display nevertheless benefits from attractive graphics and quick responses. I’m less keen on Google’s infotainment suite than some of my colleagues – I really enjoyed the format and style of Volvo’s old Sensus Connect system – but the prompt start-up when switching the C40 on and the straight-forward layout of the menus in Google’s system helps.
- Motor: Twin Permanent-Magnet Synchronous
- Output: 402 Horsepower / 486 Pound-Feet
- Transmission: Single-Speed Automatic
The C40 is lickity-split quick, blowing the doors off any single-motor rival and keeping pace with dual-motor alternatives with sportier pretenses. The sprint to 60 takes just 4.5 seconds, three-tenths quicker than the dual-motor, extended-range Ford Mustang Mach-E and on pace with the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6. Like those rivals, the C40 benefits from a huge surge of torque from a standstill. The accelerator response is brisk and entertaining, even outside of the more aggressive drive modes. The subtle acceleration sound is rather lackluster, though.
The C40’s handling isn’t as sporty as its looks would suggest, but this Volvo is at least as entertaining as competitors like the Ioniq 5 or Volkswagen ID.4. It feels poised and controllable in corners, with predictable body motions and well weighted steering, even if the sheer mass – 4,700 pounds – remains a constant and annoying hindrance. As my colleague Brett T. Evans covered in his review of the XC40 Recharge, the C40’s one-pedal braking system is quite good. Throughout my week at the wheel, attentive driving meant I rarely had to reach for the brake pedal.
- Driver Assistance Level: SAE Level 2 (Hands-On)
- NHTSA Rating: Not Rated
- IIHS Rating: Top Safety Pick Plus
The C40 Recharge packs the same Pilot Assist active safety system as other Volvo models, which means one-button activation and excellent behavior once underway. Aside from rear automatic emergency braking and hands-free driving, the C40 has virtually every active safety system on the mainstream market right now.
But its rearward visibility is aggressively mediocre. It’s worse than every other crossover on the market, and I’m including similarly shaped vehicles like the BMW X4. You’ll spend plenty of time fiddling with the rear-view mirror, and even then, your field of view will be supercar bad.
- EV Range: 226 Miles
- Efficiency: 94 City / 80 Highway / 87 Combined MPGe
- Base Price: $58,750 + $1,095 Destination
- Trim Base Price: $59,845
- As-Tested Price: $60,540
Like the XC40, the C40’s starting price eclipses most of the competition, although when you outfit those vehicles with a dual-motor setup and a longer-range battery, the price gap shrinks. Still, the C40 never feels like an especially solid value. Yes, it has a premium badge and the performance is brisk, and with no options to choose other than a shade of paint, placing an order is pretty damn easy.
A Ford Mustang Mach-E, Hyundai Ioniq 5, or Volkswagen ID.4 offer more range, similar performance, and a lower price tag. But the C40’s primary rival for my attention lives right across the showroom – the XC40 does everything the C40 does, but without compromises to second-row usability or rearward sightlines, and for about $6,000 less.
|Pricing||Base Price||Comparable Spec|
|Volvo C40 Recharge||$58,750 + $1,095 Destination||$59,845|
|Ford Mustang Mach-E Premium 4X||$43,895 + $1,100 Destination||$58,900|
|Hyundai Ioniq 5 Limited AWD||$39,950 + $1,295 Destination||$52,395|
|Tesla Model Y Long Range||$67,990 + $1,200 Destination||$69,440|
|Volkswagen ID.4 Pro S AWD||$41,230 + $1,295 Destination||$50,705|
2022 Volvo C40 Recharge