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2023 Volvo C40 Recharge: Electric trailblazer

Benjamin Yong Darpan, 31 Mar, 2023
  • 2023 Volvo C40 Recharge: Electric trailblazer

As Volvo continues to electrify its offerings, one of the more recent entries is the C40 Recharge that represents the first model in the lineup to be manufactured purely as an EV with no internal combustion variant. Built on the same platform as the popular XC40 Recharge but boasting a coupe-style rather than conventional roof, read on to find out what separates this derivative apart.

While both exteriors look strikingly similar from the front wearing solid panel front grilles, Thor’s Hammer-DRL-equipped LED headlights and angular front bumpers, the similarities end past the front doors. 

The C40’s roofline takes a dive as it approaches the rear giving a sportier appearance at the cost of second row headroom (there’s 440 millimetres less than the XC40) and some cargo capacity. The sliver of a rear window, a common issue of fastbacks, reduces visibility as well. Rather than boomerang-shaped taillights, here the lamps take on a sort of bent paperclip shape with the top portion meeting two black-painted spoiler fins.

Inside, the cabin is standard contemporary Volvo fare though for the first time no animal leather is used. Instead various eco-friendly materials are applied to surfaces, such as the partially recycled Fjord blue carpets and fabric door cards that really liven up the interior. Similarly, the huge fixed panoramic glass up top, surround by a cool black headliner, bathes the space in natural light. 

Like the XC40, the infotainment system consists of a large portrait-oriented nine-inch touch display running on a fairly intuitive Android OS. As opposed to select competitor vehicles in the luxury segment choosing to delete the instrument cluster, a large 12.3-inch data screen above the steering wheel displays virtual gauges in addition to a plethora of other customizable information including navigation maps and battery charge status. 

Though the C40 is a cutting-edge EV, the classic Scandinavian design doesn’t give drivers the impression they’re operating an overly futuristic automobile and may serve to ease the transition to zero-emissions motoring for certain buyers.

Two 150-kilowatt electric motors, one installed at each axle, provides propulsion rated at approximately 402 horsepower and 487 lb-ft of torque. No slouch in the acceleration department, the official 0 to 100 km/h time is 4.7 seconds making for a fun time behind the wheel rain or shine thanks to full-time all-wheel drive. 

A high-capacity 78-kilowatt-hour battery yields approximately 360-kilometres of range on a full charge, which takes around 10 hours at Level 2 or as little as 40 minutes (to 90 per cent capacity) if plugged in at 150-kilowatt Level 3 station. An excellent brake regeneration system utilizes kinetic energy created when slowing down to juice up the cells anytime the accelerator is released or the brake pedal is depressed, without the need to touch the shifter or tug on any paddles. 

The Volvo C40 Recharge is sold in three trims — Core, Plus and Ultimate — and starts at MSRP $59.950. Delivery times continue to be variable, impacted by global semiconductor delays, and consumers are advised to contact their local retailer for an estimate. 

Highlights (as tested)

MSRP: $74,600

Motor: dual  

Horsepower: 402 (net)

Torque (lb-ft): 487 (net)

Transmission: one-speed automatic 

Layout: front/rear motor

Fuel economy: 2.7 Le/100 km mixed city/highway (manufacturer estimate)

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