It is no secret that the automotive industry is going all electric with most major manufacturers saying that they’re going to shift within the next couple of decades. One of the more ambitious goals was set by Volvo. They say in seven years, by 2030, that they are going to have the full lineup of their vehicles, all electric. They started last year in 2022 with the Volvo C40 Recharge, their first all-electric model. Now with recent updates to the 2023 Volvo C40 Recharge, owners get more range, faster charging, and new RWD options.
Unlike it’s XC40 sibling, which was designed to incorporate gasoline or electric powertrains, the C40 Recharge only comes as a full electric model. However, it does share it’s dual motor powertrain with the XC40 as well as the Polestar 2. The later being a vehicle that is in the same family of brands owned by Geely Automotive Group.
The C40 is basically the same size as its XC40 sibling, both are 174.8 inches in length, with a wheelbase of 106.4 inches, but the C40’s roofline sits roughly 2 inches shorter. However, that doesn’t affect the headroom for front passengers, the C40 actually has about 2 inches more space compared to the XC40 due to it’s built-from-the-ground-up EV platform.
While the C40 has eight color options to choose from, I did find that the ‘Fusion Red’ on this C40 really stood out, especially in direct sunlight. The paint just sparkles.
Volvo really did a great job with the styling for the C40 Recharge. The front and rear especially with the incorporation of the Thor’s hammer running lights into the headlight assembly, and the rear LED lights that say hello and goodbye with a lighting sequence.
Price (MSRP), and Trim Level, which one would I buy?
The C40 Recharge is offered in three trim levels for the 2023 Model year, that include the entry-level; Core. Mid-range Plus, and the top trim Ultimate which I had for testing. Pricing starts at $56,395 on the Core and adds $1,550 for the Plus and $4,800 to move into the Ultimate trim level. If I were shopping for a C40, I would go for the Ultimate. That trim level is the only one to get a Heat Pump, and the Advanced Driver Assistance System with Adaptive Cruise Control and Volvo’s Pilot Assist lane keeping. There are a few other differences that I’ll get to later on.
Drivetrain and Performance
After the latest package of product updates, there are two drivetrain options for the C40, RWD or AWD. There are now two different RWD choices that replace the previous FWD option. These are powered by a single 175 kW (238 hp) motor with the standard range 69 kWh battery option, or the choice to upgrade to a long range 82 kWh battery pack that is combined with a 185 kW (251 hp) motor.
For those wanting increased traction and performance (and I fit squarely into that category), Volvo is giving the dual motor AWD powertrain a more efficient and powerful set of motors.
In the front, they have a 117 kW (158 hp) asynchronous electric motor, and on the rear axle an 183 kW (249 hp) permanent magnet motor, good for a combined power rating of 402 hp. That’s the same power rating as before, but now it’s biased towards the rear. And if you’ve done the math and realized that 158 plus 249 equals 407… yeah I noticed that too. I’m sure someone smarter than me can explain why they still rate the C40 officially at 402 hp. I’m confused by that too.
0-60 comes in at roughly 4.5 seconds but I’ve seen some tests at 4.2. And using all of the available 487 lb-ft. of torque the C40 Recharge will run the full 1/4 mile in 12.8 seconds at 109mph before hitting it’s limited top speed of 112mph.
Range and Charging
The RWD C40 standard range with the smaller battery pack has an EPA-estimated range of 245 miles on a single charge, which isn’t bad. But if you want more, the long range single motor is the way to go with a 275 mile EPA estimate. That’s not the best in class, but it’s more than enough for most people to cover their daily driving needs.
The AWD option, for those who can drive it efficiently without succumbing to the temptation of pressing their right foot to the floor, should return roughly the same 275 mile estimate as it is paired with the bigger battery.
Charging speeds were also improved with the recent update that allows for charging at a peak rate of 200 kW. Volvo says a 10-80 percent charge takes approximately 28 minutes.
The interior of the C40 Recharge is cozy, but not cramped. There is plenty of space for all passengers front and rear provided that you aren’t looking to stretch out and move around while driving. Volvo makes a point to note that the interior is leather free and made with sustainable materials. There are storage compartments located strategically around the cabin that provide plenty of places to store your water bottles, phones, etc.
Styling is premium and consistent with it’s class, but one thing that is unique to the C40 is the textured topography across the dash and door panels that can be backlit for a really neat affect, especially in the dark. The topography is inspired by the scenic mountain district Abisko in northern Sweden.
The seats are super comfortable and would be great on a longer road trip. For the Ultimate Trim, they are heated, even the back seats. The steering wheel is also heated on this top trim level.
Rear leg room is spacious, the rear seats do fold down in a 40/60 split and has a passthrough built into the middle of the seats when in their normal position.
A large panoramic roof adds a feeling of spaciousness but because it has a protective UV coating, you and the interior are protected from glare and UV radiation from the sun.
Positioned in the center of the car is the 9in screen and infotainment system that features Google apps like Google Assistant, Google Maps, and Google Play built-in and standard. I found myself quickly getting comfortable using the Google Assistant when driving. Apple CarPlay is also available, but limits some of the functionality compared with Android based phones.
The C40 Recharge is capable of automatic over-the-air updates ensuring that the car is always improving over time and up to date.
Passengers ears will be delighted by the premium Harman/Kardon sound system powered by a 600W digital amp and outputs sound to 13 hi-fi speakers that include an air-ventilated subwoofer.
Safety and Driver Assistance
The Volvo C40 Recharge comes with a plethora of standard safety features including 260 degree parking view, cross traffic alerts and auto braking, blind spot notifications and corrective steering, collision warning with automatic braking, and Volvo’s most advanced Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Keeping Assistance features.
Summary and Thoughts
Overall, I liked the C40 Recharge and would rank it as one of the top 5 electric vehicles that I would consider if I were looking to buy. The Twin AWD in Ultimate trim might be the most expensive, but it’s worth every penny and provides such a value over the lower trim levels.
I found the performance to be exhilarating and it was a blast to drive. There were really only a couple of things that I would change about the C40. Rear visibility through the rear-view mirror was significantly limited, and I wish the front trunk were bigger. But other than being nit-picky, I really found very little to complain about.
It’s a fantastic option and anyone shopping in the compact SUV market shouldn’t buy anything without testing out the Volvo C40.
Thank you to…
Before ending I want to give a huge thank you to Daniel Kutcher and the team at Volvo Cars of Richmond. Daniel actually made it possible for me to spend time with this C40 and I’m so very grateful to have had the experience. I’ve known Daniel for a little while and he is one of the most selfless people I know. If you’re in the market for a vehicle, I really suggest you reach out to Daniel and ask about what Volvo can do for you.
Volvo Cars Richmond
7211 West Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23294
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