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Driven: 2022 Volvo C40. Image by Volvo.

Driven: 2022 Volvo C40
The coupe version of the XC40 is a looker, and itís only available with electric power. But is it any good?

   



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2022 Volvo C40 Recharge Twin Pro

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Volvo describes its C40 as a crossover, but this car is essentially an XC40 family SUV with a new back end. And a very attractive back end at that. Unlike the XC40, however, the C40 is solely available in all-electric form, promising a long range and ample performance. But with a less practical rear than an all-electric XC40, does the C40 really make sense?

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge Twin Pro
Price: C40 from £47,100
Engine: two electric motors
Battery: 78kWh lithium-ion
Transmission: single-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Power: 408hp
Torque: 660Nm
Emissions: 0g/km
Range: 273 miles
0-62mph: 4.7 seconds
Top speed: 112mph
Boot space: 380 litres

Styling

From the driving seat forward, the C40 is pretty much identical to the XC40 SUV, with its faired-in grille, 'Thor's hammer' headlights and high ground clearance. But the C40 changes further back with a lower roofline, rakish rear window and smart LED tail lights that run down the rear pillars. It's a real looker, but then so too is the standard XC40, which costs slightly less than this coupe version. Choosing your favourite will come down to personal preference.

Interior

Volvo has been getting its interiors right of late, and the C40 Recharge cabin is just as good as that of the XC40. Mainly because the two interiors are more or less identical. Our high-spec test car teamed leather upholstery with backlit trim and plenty of chrome, as well as two massive displays.

The central touchscreen uses Google technology to provide an instant response and smartphone-esque controls, making it one of the best infotainment systems on the market. And the Google Maps navigation system has the uncanny ability to predict your state of charge when you reach the destination, giving you a good idea of whether you'll need to charge en route or not.

Then there's the digital instrument display, which is another shining example of Volvo's brilliant minimalism. Clean, high-resolution and easy to read, the system may not have the customisation options of an Audi Virtual Cockpit, but it's much less complicated to use. In many ways, it's a better option.

And of course, all this is matched with Volvo's quality. The cabin may not be quite as well built as that of a BMW or an Audi, but it's easily a match for a Jaguar or Land Rover, and it's more stylish to boot. And some of the materials are fantastic.

Practicality

Naturally, the C40 is less spacious than the XC40 on which it's based, but it's still a reasonably practical car. There's plenty of room in the cabin for grown-ups, and the boot will be big enough for most people's needs. At 380 litres, it's about the same size as that of a Volkswagen Golf. However, it's around 70 litres smaller than that of the all-electric XC40 and that's quite a big hit to take. Especially for a more expensive car.

Performance

The C40 is available with a choice of powertrains, but customers essentially have to pick between single- and twin-motor set-ups. Our test car came with the 408hp twin-motor option, offering all-wheel drive and a range of up to 273 miles on a single charge. In the real world, however, we found a range of around 180-200 miles was more achievable on motorways, albeit during a warm spell when the air conditioning had to work hard. Over a mixture of roads, something around 230-250 miles would probably be manageable.

Thatís assuming you can steer clear of the C40ís ludicrous turn of pace. With 660Nm of torque, the car can sprint from 0-62mph in 4.7 seconds and keep going to 112mph Ė mainly because Volvo has decided thatís as fast as cars need to go. Presumably the Swedish company didnít speak to any GermansÖ

Ride & Handling

While the C40 may be rapid in a straight line, don't mistake this for some kind of sports SUV. The bodywork is still quite tall and the suspension is soft, so there's a lot of body roll in corners and the steering feels lifeless. You have to make a guess at how much lock and force will be required, then adjust it on the fly.

On the plus side, the C40 is quite comfortable. Most electric cars suffer for their heavy batteries that seem to drag them down into potholes, and the C40 does that to an extent, but it really isn't bad as electric cars go. And the high-speed ride is particularly good.

It's also refined, with as little motor noise as you'd expect. There's a bit of tyre roar and wind noise, but that might be partly because there's no engine to mask it, and it never gets too intrusive anyway.

Value

C40 prices start at just over £47,000, which makes the C40 a fairly expensive car. Volvo doesnít like to talk about asking prices Ė possibly because theyíre off-puttingly high Ė but it reckons youíre looking at around £670 a month for a base-spec C40 on a personal contract purchase. Given youíll spend a similar amount on a BMW iX3, that sounds quite expensive. And letís not forget thatís for a basic car with the single-motor powertrain Ė not this top-of-the-range Recharge Twin version.

Verdict

The C40 looks great from the back, and the interior is very pleasant Ė as is the 408hp output of our Recharge Twin test car. However, in most ways itís identical to the electric XC40, which renders it a little bit pointless. Stick with the conventionally shaped car and you still get an attractive vehicle, but it has a more useful boot and the option of a more flexible hybrid powertrain.



James Fossdyke - 23 Aug 2022



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