Volvo has set out to change its drivers’ views on mass market electric cars with the latest addition to its battery-only range – the C40 Recharge.
Like all electric cars new retrospective taxation levels will apply in the UK from April 2025.
It’s different from the moment you go on line to look at the C40 Recharge, with single or twin motors utilising 67 or 75kWh batteries and powering 231 or 408hp motors with front or all-wheel-drive all in a Coupe SUV styled bodyshell. Prices range from £47,100 to £61,950 with the Recharge Twin test drive model priced at £57,000 or the more likely £725 pcm lease deal.
After the larger XC40 Recharge the more compact C40 Recharge will appeal to those wanting a sleeker looking, more sporty coupe appearance without sacrificing practicality.
Volvo has carefully developed the C40 Recharge Twin to build on the EV strengths of instant power, compact powertrain with all-wheel-drive capability for wintry weather, plenty of room for people and luggage and all wrapped up in a very clean design both outside and in.
Launching just as the Covid pandemic hit parts’ supplies, Volvo decided to simplify their offering with the C40 electric models and they really would like you to buy into leasing the car with a Care package including servicing, warranty and roadside assistance, insurance and home-charging set up.
The twin motors are near silent with only a faint distant whirring noticeable while the linear transmission ensures constant, strong and smooth acceleration from standstill with a particularly strong surge when the pedal is slammed to the floor.
This refinement is matched with a progressive regenerative braking system to optimise energy use and consumption and keep everything under control. It is sufficiently powerful as a regenerated system to drive one-footed and only use the throttle to go forward as easing off can induce very strong slowdown.
How you use the ‘brake’ pedal can add a bit to your range and we consistently saw it show about 220 miles between boosts. Temperature and what powered items you use will also bring down the possible distance.
Instruments were clear but not big and could be changed depending on chosen driver settings while the infotainment centre was comprehensive and fairly quick to use.
The powertrain’s silence meant any road rumbles and suspension noises seemed louder than in most ICE cars but in reality they were not excessive, just in the background.
In the hands, the C40 Recharge Twin had a good turning circle and no vibration or kickback but it did not give me much feedback. With front coil springs and rear multi-link suspension the set up is as good as many sporting saloons but the test car did not feel particularly agile although roadholding was good and the ride quality was reasonable but not standard setting for an SUV.
The seats were generous and fairly comfortable with adequate adjustment infront but not as absorbing as you might think in this class of car. Room was fairly good.
Access was unobstructed to the cabin and into the boot area with a useable shape and capacity even before the split back seats were folded forward.
For the driver, visibility was good to front and sides but there was only a pillar-box vision to the rear and the c-pillars did hide blindspots and you need sensors to cover these when reversing.
Good front wash and wipers as well as bright lights were appreciated at night and the air conditioning kept the interior clear.
For a family car the oddments room was adequate but not exceptional throughout but it did include points for mobiles or game players in the back.
Overall measurements mean it’s easy to park in town and use in older multi-storey car parks while the room for occupants is better than some larger SUVs. It also looks very good from any angle.
A five-year warranty is above average and with less to go wrong in an ev, the Volvo C40 Recharge Twin is an attractive proposition but comes at a price which means it will have stronger appeal to business users than private drivers and the lease cost is pretty hefty if you don’t want to own the car after a few years.
Volvo C40 Recharge Twin
Price: £57,000, £725pcm
Mechanical: 408hp twin motors, single speed, AWD
Max Speed: 112 mph
0-62mph: 4.7 sec
Range: 220 miles
Insurance Group: 43
C02 emissions: Zero g/km
Current Bik rating: 2%
Warranty: 5yrs/ unlimited miles
Size: L4.44m, W2.04m, H1.60m
Bootspace: 419 to 1295 litres
For: Power and range very reasonable, attractive and functional interior, roomy, smooth and quiet mechanically, good warranty
Against: Seats could have been comfier, rear vision compromised by design, some road noise, expensive for size, in common with all-electric cars much higher retrospective tax costs will be applicable from April 2025.