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2022 Volvo C40 Recharge review: Fashionable, functional and surprisingly fast

When the 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge popped up on our EV Pulse vehicle schedule I didn’t think much of it. That’s not to say I have low expectations for Volvo products, not at all, but how good could a jauntier looking electrified version of the several-years-old XC40 actually be? As it turns out, far better than I anticipated.

Fashion-forward styling

The C40 Recharge is essentially a more fashionable version of the boxier XC40 Recharge, Volvo’s first EV. It, as you might imagine, is an electrified variant of the conventional XC40. Largely a copy-and-paste job, the C40 Recharge’s gracefully sloping roofline and unique taillights that extend upward along the more rakish back glass help differentiate this coupe-like crossover from its more conventionally styled siblings. Even though it breaks no new ground and that tapering top eats up some cabin space, this Volvo’s design is clean and elegant. The vehicle looks especially good dressed in Fjord Blue paint, an extra-cost, though moderately priced color.

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This fetching paint color is called Fjord Blue. Photo Credit: Craig Cole / EV Pulse

While I’m not the biggest fan of coupe-inspired crossovers, the C40 Recharge looks great, though it is much more than just a pretty face. This vehicle also offers startling performance, comes with plenty of tech and boasts of a comfortable, premium interior, so there are plenty of other reasons to consider one.

An eco-friendly and mostly upscale interior

Inside, the C40 Recharge’s cabin is pretty much identical to what you get in combustion-powered and electric versions of the XC40. This is great news because everything is beautifully designed and carefully constructed.

None of the materials employed are outrageously opulent, but pretty much everything looks and feels premium. There are plenty of low-sheen soft plastics and elegant matte-metallic accents. The carpet-like material on the door panels feels lovely, and in this example, the blue color looks super vibrant. Additionally, this is the first Volvo that’s completely leather-free. There are no animal hides on the seats, steering wheel or gear selector, a change that sounds like a downgrade but absolutely does not feel like one. The suede-like fabric on the seats is awesome, as is the artificial leather used elsewhere.

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Unfortunately, there are two parts of the C40 Recharge’s interior that could be enhanced. One is the block-off insert for the start button. Engineers took the ignition switch from the dashboard and put it in the driver’s seat so your butt turns the vehicle on when you sit down, but they could have done a better job disguising where the old switch used to be. And two, the terraced plastic trim on the doors and dashboard does not look great and the backlighting is super cheesy. I’d rather just have aluminum, bamboo, reclaimed barn wood, nearly anything else.

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Most of the C40 Recharge’s interior is beautifully constructed. Photo Credit: Craig Cole / EV Pulse

For the most part, comfort is another advantage of the C40 Recharge. The front bucket chairs are very firm, but commensurately accommodating. Both power-adjust in eight ways, plus they feature four-way lumbar and manual lower bolsters. This Volvo’s back seat has generous legroom, though not surprisingly, headroom is a little tight because of that sloping roofline. The outboard positions are heated, though unfortunately, the split backrest is very upright and does not adjust.

If you need to haul parcels instead of passengers, the C40 Recharge offers 14.6 cubic feet of space behind the rear seat (17.3 when loaded to the ceiling). Fold the rear backrests down and that figure grows to 49 cubes. This vehicle also has a small front trunk that clocks in at 0.7 cubic feet. That’s not much, but it is large enough to house the charging cable.

Hey, Google!

There’s tech aplenty in this Volvo. Front and center on the dashboard is a 9-inch portrait-style touch screen. This display is colorful, crisp and home to a snappy and intuitive Android-based infotainment system. This includes a host of Google services like Google Assistant, the Google Play Store and perhaps most importantly, Google Maps, which is super responsive, always up to date and dead simple to use, in other words, exactly what you want in a car.

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Earlier in the year, I tested this infotainment system in an S90 sedan and did not like it… at all. The performance was shockingly poor and oftentimes things didn’t work. The C40 Recharge uses the exact same hardware and screen as the S90, so I feared the worst, by my worries were unfounded. A Volvo spokesperson told me they’ve been pushing out over-the-air software updates roughly every six weeks, so the issues I faced before have been eliminated. The performance here is snappy and everything functions as advertised.

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Google services are accessible right from this Volvo’s dashboard. Photo Credit: Craig Cole / EV Pulse

While dramatically improved, this multimedia array still isn’t perfect. Android Auto is not supported since the system is already Google-based and Apple CarPlay is missing, though I’m told this smartphone-mirroring system should be arriving very soon. Also, when playing music via Bluetooth from your phone, there’s no way to jump from letter to letter through your alphabetized song list; you have to scroll and scroll if you don’t feel like using the voice assistant. Minor complaints aside, Volvo’s infotainment system went from one of my most disliked offerings to one of my favorites in just a few short months, a remarkable change.

Ahead of the driver is another screen, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. This panel looks nice, but it’s not very customizable, offering only two views: Navi, which shows an immersive map, and Calm, which leaves you with an oddly blank screen, though turn-by-turn directional arrows do pop up when you have a destination set in the nav system. This bare-bones look is similar to what Chad experienced in Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring plug-in hybrid SUV he tested not long ago.

Overall, Volvo’s done a great job with the C40 Recharge’s interior, though I do think the newer 2023 Genesis GV60 is a little nicer and a lot more interesting, but this Swedish crossover puts Tesla to shame and might have an edge over Audi, too.

There’s watts to talk about

Mounted between the axles and underneath the floor, this Volvo features a 78-kilowatt-hour battery pack (the usable capacity is rated at 75 kWh), a size that’s right in line with what competing SUVs offer. For instance, the 2022 Audi Q4 50 E-Tron Sportback Quattro has an 82-kWh battery, the Tesla Model Y’s is estimated at 75 and the GV60 is fitted with a 77.4-kWh battery. Naturally, all these packs use a lithium-ion chemistry.

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The C40 Recharge is a handsome crossover. Photo Credit: Craig Cole / EV Pulse

Of course, on longer drives you’ll definitely want to DC fast charge that big power brick. This Volvo should top out at 150 kW, enough to go from 10% to 80% in a projected 37 minutes. That’s a respectable if not stellar figure, though it’s still enough to top the Audi, which is advertised to peak at just 125. In comparison, the Tesla is estimated to max out at a thundering 250 kW and the new GV60, like other E-GMP-based cars such as the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6, should accept electrons at a rate of up to 235 kW, which is less than what Tesla offers but it’s still damn impressive.

As for range between top-ups, this Volvo is rated at an EPA-estimated 226 miles, which isn’t that great even if it’s 3 more than the standard XC40 Recharge can muster thanks to that more aerodynamic roofline. In comparison, the Q4 E-Tron Sportback should be able to go 241 miles between charges and the Model Y as many as 330 in Long Range trim with 19-inch wheels. Opt for 20s and you can expect 318 miles of range, or just 303 if you go for the Model Y Performance grade. As for Genesis’ latest and greatest all-electric SUV, the entry-level Advanced trim can go 248 miles between charges, though the Performance model is rated at just 235.

Borderline-shocking performance

Putting all those kilowatt-hours to good use, the C40 Recharge features two electric motors, one at each axle. Together, they provide standard all-wheel drive along with a crushing 402 horsepower and 486 pound-feet of torque (torque is as per the vehicle’s window sticker and Volvo PR, though the company’s consumer site lists it as 487 lb-ft). That’s enough to propel this vehicle from 0 to 60 MPH in as little as 4.5 seconds, a legitimately quick time.

Those output numbers give the C40 Recharge a performance advantage over the Q4 E-Tron Sportback and the GV60 Advanced, though this Korean vehicle’s Performance trim has the edge in horsepower and torque with boost mode engaged. The C40 Recharge should also outrun a 2022 Model Y Long Range fitted with 19-inch wheels, though the Model Y Performance is a lot quicker.

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Headroom is a bit tight in the rear and that backrest does not adjust. Photo Credit: Craig Cole / EV Pulse

Regardless of how fast you’re going, this Volvo’s interior always remains super quiet, with basically zero powertrain or tire noise. There’s just barely a wisp of wind rush around the pillars and that’s it.

The C40 Recharge’s ride and handling are commendable. Despite rolling on large (and undoubtedly heavy) 20-inch wheels, this utility vehicle feels poised and controlled. The ride is firm but never bouncy, harsh or unsettled. This vehicle’s steering is no different from what you get in other EVs, meaning it’s perfectly fine. You can adjust the weighting, but there are only two settings: normal and firm, the latter of which makes things slightly heftier.

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Similarly, you won’t find a range of selectable options or paddles to adjust the regenerative braking; the one-pedal driving mode is either on or off, which, like the instrument cluster and steering weight is refreshingly simple, but maybe too simple. I like this, but others may want more granularity.

This is a Volvo, so there are way too many driver aids to list, but this vehicle comes standard with the usual suspects, amenities like blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist, front and rear parking sensors and more. If you somehow fail to avoid a collision, the C40 Recharge also earned a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the best score possible.

2022 Volvo C40 Recharge: Stylish and sensible

There’s plenty to love about the C40 Recharge. This coupe-like crossover’s design is clean yet interesting, the performance on tap is borderline shocking, you’ve got to love that beautiful interior and the Google-based infotainment system works well. Of course, there are some downsides to this vehicle, but not many. The range could be better; 226 miles is fine, though I’d like to see at least 300 as an option. The battery’s 150-kW DC charging rate is respectable but not the best and that sloping roofline looks great, though a touch more back seat headroom would be nice.

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If you’re shopping for an all-electric crossover, put the Volvo C40 Recharge on your test drive list. Photo Credit: Craig Cole / EV Pulse

As for pricing, before any available incentives or rebates, this example goes for $60,540 including $1,095 in destination fees. The only option padding that figure is a mere $695 for the lovely Fjord Blue paint job. Volvo is pretty much offering this vehicle in a one-and-done configuration, which keeps things simple.

If you’re shopping for a premium electric vehicle, put the C40 Recharge on your test drive shortlist because it’s quick, comfortable and oh-so classy. The 2022 model year is pretty much spoken for, even if some examples are still kicking around dealership lots, though you should still be able to order a 2023 Volvo C40 Recharge.

At a glance

  • Year: 2022
  • Make: Volvo
  • Model: C40 Recharge
  • Trim: Ultimate Twin
  • Type: 4-door compact premium crossover
  • Horsepower: 402
  • Torque (lb-ft): 486
  • MPGe ratings (city/highway/combined): 94/80/87
  • EV range (miles): 226
  • Pros: Quick acceleration, refined ride, premium interior, speedy and intuitive Google-based infotainment system
  • Cons: Range could be better, somewhat limited back seat headroom, backlit interior trim
  • Base price: $59,845 (including $1,095 in destination fees)
  • As-tested price: $60,540 (including $1,095 in destination fees)
Written by Craig Cole

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