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Volvo C40 Recharge brings a lower and sleeker option to the brand’s electric range

Volvo’s pursuit of an all-electric future has gotten off to a brisk start with the launch of the C40 Recharge, which was revealed on the same day as the brand set out its plans to be EV-only by 2030. Lower and sleeker than the XC40 Recharge SUV, it blends performance, fast charging and a 261 mile range.

From head-on, the C40 Recharge could easily be mistaken for its XC40 Recharge stablemate. Move around a few degrees either way and the differences become obvious very quickly: the C40 is lower and thanks to a fastback body style, sleeker than the XC40 which is a straight-up SUV.

Adding the C40 Recharge to the Volvo line-up can be viewed much in the same way as Audi and its Sportback models. They’re a middle ground between immensely popular SUVs, of which Volvo’s XC40 is very definitely one, and sportier coupes. In Volvo’s case, the C40 sits somewhere between the XC40 Recharge and the Polestar 2.

At 4431mm long and 2035mm wide the C40 has the footprint as the XC40, though almost 700mm has been shaved off its height thanks to that coupe roofline. This has marginally reduced rear headroom and overall luggage space, but most buyers won’t notice.

Powertrain

The C40 Recharge is based on the CMA platform and shares a powertrain with the aforementioned XC40 Recharge and Polestar 2. This is no bad thing; with 402bhp and 487lb-ft of torque thanks to motors on the front and rear axles it will hit 62mph in 4.9 seconds. When we tested the Polestar, we said it had “brilliant performance” and there’s no reason to think that the Volvo will feel much different on the road.

A 78kWh battery gives the C40 Recharge a WLTP range of 261 miles, which is helped by stellar aerodynamics. It’s possible to juice to 80 per cent in 40 minutes thanks to 150kW DC capability, or overnight using the on-board 11kW AC charger. According to Volvo, its over-the-air (OTA) software updates will see the car’s range actually improve over time as refinements are made.

Interior and tech

We don’t know an awful lot about the interior of the Volvo C40 Recharge just yet but expect it to be broadly in-line with the XC40 Recharge in terms of overall look and feel. We do know that it will come with a range of unique colour and deco options and will be the first Volvo model to be completely free of leather.

The Google-based infotainment system, which uses the Android operating system, is maintained. When we used it, we said “the fonts and graphics are strong, clean and quickly interpreted. It is easy to use and responsive, and one of the best smartphone-like displays we’ve ever seen”. In other words, it’s very good – and thanks to those OTA updates will also be upgraded iteratively.

Price and availability 

With the XC40 Recharge starting at just over £53,000 we would expect the Volvo C40 Recharge to come in at just a little more, though we will confirm prices as soon as they are finalised.  

Update 04.06.21: Volvo is now taking orders for the C40 Recharge for both buyers and those opting to get one via Volvo’s new subscription service. Prices start at £57,400 – in the ballpark that we expected – and subscription via UK Care by Volvo starts at £729 per month. Either a fixed 36 month period or a flexible contract with three months’ notice is available.  

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