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      Volvo C40 Recharge First Drive Review

      Bilal Ahmed Firfiray

      Bilal Ahmed Firfiray

      Why would I buy it?

      • Coupe-SUV styling 
      • Higher claimed range 
      • Blistering quick acceleration

      Why would I avoid it?

      • Compromised second-row space

      Engine and Performance

      Volvo C40 Recharge Right Front Three Quarter

      Underpinning the C40 Recharge is the same CMA platform you get in the XC40 Recharge. And unlike the XC40 Recharge which also gets an ICE version, the C40 is available only as an EV. What we get here in India is the dual-motor version. There’s one motor on each axle with a combined output of 402bhp and 660Nm. 

      Volvo C40 Recharge Right Rear Three Quarter

      The 78kWh battery pack has a claimed range of 530kms on a single charge (under WLTP cycle) which is more than the XC40 Recharge’s 418kms. It also supports 150kW of DC fast charging capable of getting the charge from 10 to 80 per cent in just 27 minutes. 

      What the specification won’t tell you is that this is a fast car. Sprint time of 0-100kmph comes up in just 4.7 seconds! It’s even quicker by a few milliseconds compared to the XC40 thanks to the more aerodynamic body style. And the way it catapults ahead is neck-snapping. Be it any speed, one quick dab on the throttle and the digital instrument cluster fails to keep up with the lighting quick-way the C40 mounts up speed. 

      Volvo C40 Recharge Right Side View

      One change over the XC40 Recharge here is the Auto Mode for one pedal. It intelligently controls when and how you’d need the one-pedal setup which we weren’t able to test out completely in the limited time we had the car. But otherwise, the one-pedal setup on the C40 works brilliantly. 

      Ride and Handling

      Volvo C40 Recharge Right Front Three Quarter

      The steering is quick and responsive as well and there’s also a way to add stiffness to the steering feel via a setting in the touchscreen. In terms of ride quality, the C40 is well-absorbent and goes over all the bumps and creases without sending any of them inside the cabin. It doesn’t crash or thuds even on the worst of the potholes and the ride only gets better as the speed increases. There are no drive modes here but there’s ADAS and that's another thing we'll have to check once we get the C40 back home.  

      Exterior Design

      Volvo C40 Recharge Front View

      Up front, the design of the C40 is identical to the MY2023 XC40 Recharge. But move to the back and the sloping roofline makes for an awe-inspiring sight. Unlike some other coupe-SUV designs which appear afterthought and shoddily done, this one is quite well executed. Out in the wild, the C40 Recharge does grab a second look which is something the XC40 isn’t able to do. 

      Volvo C40 Recharge Left Side View

      The sloping roofline is like a proper coupe silhouette and the taillamps are quite tastefully designed around the whole pillar and the tailgate. And there are spoilers too; two to be precise. One is mounted on the roof with a double-bubble vent design while the other one is lower down the belt-line done up in gloss black. The 19-inch dual-tone alloy wheels are the only choice for now, but you can have the C40 in six colour options.  

      Comfort, Convenience and Features

      Volvo C40 Recharge Dashboard

      No animals were harmed in the making of this Volvo. All materials you see inside the cabin are vegan and leather-free. Extending its eco-friendly nature is the extensive use of recycled materials all around. Now personally I am a huge fan of minimalistic cabins, and that’s why Volvo’s cabin is one of my favourites. You get the same layout across the model range and the touchscreen system you see here is also the same. It runs Google's Android-based OS and has a good response and simple interface. But there’s the party piece of the C40 cabin – the dashboard insert here has backlit topography of Abisko National Park in Sweden. The contours of the topography are traced to create this abstract design in a 3D effect. It’s like a new Mahindra or Tata EV sporting the topography of Ranthambore National Park. How cool is that?! 

      Volvo C40 Recharge Second Row Seats

      Now the most significant trade-off with a coupe SUV is the compromised headroom here in the second row. But we saw it during the walk-around video as well; the space here isn’t too bad. Sure the windows are narrow and the view outside is hampered. But the scoop in the roof doesn’t brush your head on top. Taller passengers sure might rub their heads on top, but for someone with my frame, longer journeys shouldn’t be a hassle.  That said, I wish the seat back wasn’t as upright as it is here. It makes for an awkward seating position. 

      Volvo C40 Recharge Front Row Seats

      Now that aside, the C40 is high on practicality. Let’s take a look at all the clever solutions one by one. First up is the built-in trash can that's integrated into the centre console and is removable as well to empty once it's full. Secondly, there’s a hook inside and over the glove-box so you can hang your grocery bags.  And that’s not all; the glove-box also has a pen holder. 

      Volvo C40 Recharge Instrument Cluster

      There's a plastic ticket holder on the windscreen where you can even hang your toll receipts. Then there's an additional flexible tray with hooks to hold your extras which also creates a separate compartment within your boot space. Apart from the boot space, this being an EV, there's an additional 31 litres of frunk as well.   


      Volvo C40 Recharge Right Front Three Quarter

      Volvo will launch the C40 in India on 4 September and bookings are set to commence the next day on 5 September. When it goes on sale in India, the C40 Recharge will be sold alongside the XC40 Recharge. It is targeted at people with finer taste in wines, who prefer calling the chauffeur instead of a driver, and those who know the taste of caviar. And since it will carry a premium over the XC40 Recharge it should lighten your pocket by around Rs 60 lakh (ex-showroom). 

      Volvo C40 Recharge Right Rear Three Quarter

      At this price, the C40 Recharge is entering a space that has other premium EVs like the BMW i4 which is a sedan, Mercedes-Benz EQB which is a seven-seater crossover, and the Korean pair of Hyundai Ioniq 5 and the Kia EV6 – which are the biggest threat to the C40. They offer almost everything the Volvo has on offer and some more. They are also equally good to drive while being spacious and practical too. 

      Volvo C40 Recharge Rear View

      But you know the Volvo brand, and you know what it stands for. And the C40 gives you all of that with extra oomph in the style department. It's surely quite handsome looking than the XC40 and is blisteringly quick as well. Over the XC40, it claims to offer more range too. So the C40 Recharge delivers everything you come to expect from a Volvo, and we think it will be worth the extra money it will demand over its sibling.

      Pictures by Kapil Angane and Volvo India

      Volvo C40 Recharge
      Volvo C40 Recharge ₹ 61.25 Lakh Onwards
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