Volvo C40 Recharge

Twin Ultimate

Volvo C40 Recharge, 2022, front
Volvo C40 Recharge, 2022, front, action
Volvo C40 Recharge, 2022, side
Volvo C40 Recharge, 2022, rear
Volvo C40 Recharge, 2022, interior
Volvo C40 Recharge, 2022, front boot, frunk
Volvo C40 Recharge, 2022, rear seats
Volvo C40 Recharge, 2022, charging point
Volvo C40 Recharge, 2022, boot

VOLVO'S race to become a pure electric manufacturer has taken a major step forward with the launch of its dramatic new C40 compact crossover.

And if the first Volvo model designed to be all-electric-only looks slightly familiar it's hardly surprising, as it's clearly based on an established favourite, the XC40.

But while the XC40 has a squarer, more upright stance the newcomer has svelte, coupe-like styling combined with the all important height of an SUV.

With its high waistline, deeply sculptured clamshell-like bonnet and rear window spoiler it has a very tough, chunky image which sets it apart from other SUV coupes. And when you get behind the wheel its driving characteristics feel chunky too but in a good way.

The build quality is top notch as you would expect from Volvo, especially as this top-of-the-range model driven here has a price tag approaching £60,000.

Power comes from two electric motors - one on each axle therefore making it four-wheel-drive - each putting out 201 bhp.

That combined 402bhp means this five-seater family car, which has no sportscar pretensions, will accelerate from standstill to 62 miles per hour in a rocket-like 4.7 seconds. And as with all electric cars that power is instant.

And while petrol engined cars are all exhaust roar and gear changes the C40 does it all in a silent whoosh in a single gear, often taking unsuspecting passengers by surprise.

Who said electric cars are dull?

Like the Polestar 2, produced by Volvo's sister company, you can set the C40 for single pedal driving so as you lift off the accelerator the car starts to brake more severely than on an engine-powered car and you rarely need to touch the foot brake at all.

It won't appeal to everyone but using it means saving energy as the regenerative braking affect from it boosts the batteries.

And also like the Polestar 2 there's no ignition switch or starter button. Everything simply comes to life as soon as your bottom hits the driver's seat allowing you to immediately move the gearshift to drive and press the accelerator.

There's no choice of driving modes with the C40 but you do have a choice of setting the steering to light or heavy, although personally I found little difference between the two.

The C40's interior is stylish but minimalist with few buttons or knobs as most onboard operations are carried out on the central nine-inch touchscreen or the multi-function steering wheel.

And while the upholstery looks like leather and Alcantara it's actually a suede textile as the C40 is the first Volvo with a leather-free interior. The sporty front seats are electrically adjustable and all seats can be heated along with the steering wheel to beat the chill of winter.

There's also a full-length glass sunroof - a standard feature of all C40s - to ensure the interior is always light and airy.

A relatively small rear window can make reversing a little tricky, but the problem is more than made up for by a reversing camera which gives - in my opinion - the best 360 degree birds eye view of any manufacturer allowing you to impress any onlookers as you make the manoeuvre.

And when night falls the C40 Twin Ultimate impresses with its advance pixel technology headlights which dramatically light the road ahead while cleverly putting cars in front of you and approaching in shadow.

Boot space is reasonable at 413 litres rising to 1,205 litres with the rear seatbacks down and being an electric car there is a small 32-litre storage space beneath the bonnet although charging cables tend to take most of that.

Volvo claims a range of 273 miles on a full charge which I found a little ambitious with around 250 being nearer the mark on the car I drove, although as with petrol or diesel cars it all depends on conditions and your right foot.

But any shortcomings in range were more than made up for in performance and handling. There's some body roll - perhaps because of the height of the car - but it's all easily controllable making the C40 a delight to drive quickly.

And as already mentioned the C40 is quick, really quick. But sometimes at busy junctions and roundabouts that sort of instant power can be a lifesaver.

FAST FACTS

Volvo C40 Recharge Twin Ultimate

Price: £58,900

Mechanical: 408 bhp, two electric motor driving all wheels via automatic transmission

Max Speed: 112mph

0-62mph: 4.7 secs

Combined MPG: 273 miles

Insurance Group: 42

C02 emissions:0g/km

Bik rating: 2%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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