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2024 Volvo C40 Recharge and XC40 Recharge RWD review: Longer and faster

Neither the C40 Recharge nor XC40 Recharge has been overhauled for 2024, but drivers are sure to appreciate the new trim level Volvo is offering because it includes foundational improvements, not just frou-frou visual tweaks as is so often the case. For the latest model year, this Scandinavian automaker is introducing new long-range, rear-wheel-drive models that make these premium, all-electric SUVs even more appealing. In fact, these are the first rear-drive Volvos offered in the U.S. for some 25 years. After extensive testing — more than 1,300 miles on an epic road trip across the American west — I’m happy to report both updated SUVs are more appealing than ever.

The headline enhancement for ‘24 is the inclusion of a new lithium-ion battery, one with a gross capacity of 82 kilowatt-hours (up from the 78-kWh you get in all-wheel-drive models). This alteration, along with other changes helps significantly increase the range of both the XC40 Recharge and C40 Recharge. The former tops out an impressive 293 miles, while the latter, thanks, in part, to its tapering top and absence of roof rails, should do 297 on a full charge. EV Pulse was one of just four media outlets that got to put these range claims to the test while checking out Volvo and Starbucks’ new EV charging network, which includes 50 chargers stationed at 15 of the java giant’s locations between Denver, Colorado and Seattle, Washington. These vehicles’ longer legs were much appreciated on this monumental drive, which included charging stops in five different states.

In addition to increased vehicle range, that re-engineered battery pack also DC fast charges significantly quicker. Rear-drive models max out at an impressive 200 kilowatts, a huge leap ahead of other Recharge models; the best they can do is around 155. In ideal conditions, the ChargePoint chargers installed on Volvo and Starbucks’ route can add up to 110 miles of range to either of these SUVs in a scant 15 minutes.

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With added range, you have more opportunities to explore. Photo credit: EV Pulse / Craig Cole

Yet another noteworthy alteration for the 2024 model year is that rear-drive versions of the all-electric C40 and XC40 both feature a new electric motor. Designed in-house by Volvo engineers, this permanent magnet dynamo delivers a respectable 248 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. These figures deliver entirely appropriate performance, though neither model hits like a sledgehammer. These SUVs accelerate well, reaching 60 mph just about 7 seconds, which is perfectly fine for everyday use, though a skosh more oomph might be appreciated, especially at interstate speeds where vigor wanes. Climbing hills on the highway can, at times, be a little concerning.

Twin Motor Recharge models (read: all-wheel drive) are also on the receiving end of some important enhancements for 2024. While they retain the smaller 78-kWh battery pack used before, they also gain more range thanks to newly designed electric motors. In previous years, these variants were fitted with two 150-kW dynamos, but for 2024 they gain a Volvo-developed 255-hp unit at the rear and a new 147-hp induction motor up front, which only engages when additional power or traction is needed. This shrewd powertrain engineering helps enhance vehicle range, boosting the Twin Motor XC40 Recharge’s range to 254, an increase of 21. The comparable C40’s range should be 257 miles, 31 more than before.

Now, aside from all these landmark technical improvements, the new rear-drive Recharge SUVs are just as lovely as ever. Both are handsome and beautifully assembled, there’s a decent amount of cargo space in the back (less in the C40 because of the tapering roof) and the shared interior is upscale and attractive, with plenty of excellent materials on display, including an absolutely lovely wool-blend fabric on the seats. Everything inside looks great except for the hokey backlit plastic trim on the dashboard and door panels.

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The new, rear-drive models DC fast charge much quicker than other Recharge models. Photo credit: Volvo

These vehicles’ front seats are shockingly comfortable, too, keeping tuchus discomfort at bay, even after a whole day in the saddle. And of course, Volvo’s Google-based infotainment system is one of the best, intuitive and exceptionally responsive. Not surprisingly, this multimedia array includes a host of related services such as the Google Play Store, Google Assistant and the ever-useful Google Maps app, which was accurate and effective at least 90% of the time — we did have a couple issues with weird navigation routing, but in the grand scheme of things this was a minor issue. Icing on the cake, the infotainment system also supports Apple CarPlay, which provides iPhone users with a familiar and intuitive interface.

Out and about, both rear-drive SUVs handle well. Their meaty steering wheels are pleasant in the hand and easy to grip. The ride quality is superb as well. It’s on the firm side, so the body is well controlled, even over undulating pavement, but nothing is ever harsh. The suspension does a commendable job keeping roadway roughness out of the occupant compartment. Overall, Volvo engineers have struck an admirable balance with both these EVs.

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Both of these updated SUVs are seriously impressive. Photo credit: EV Pulse / Craig Cole

Pricing is another area where the 2024 C40 Recharge and XC40 Recharge models impress. In rear-drive, extended-range guise, the former starts at roughly $55,000, while the latter kicks off at a little less than $54,000. Both of those figures include $1,195 in destination fees. The models evaluated here are, naturally, much ritzier, though neither one should completely break the bank. In high-end Ultimate trim, both Recharge models should check out for just about $60,000, not a bad price for upscale, refined and significantly improved all-electric utility vehicles.

Written by Craig Cole

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