Volvo C40 Recharge Review 2024

Written by Andrew Brady

8/10
heycar ratingProbably the coolest Volvo ever
  • 2022
  • Small SUV
  • EV

Quick overview

Pros

  • Stylish coupe-SUV based on the excellent Volvo XC40 Recharge
  • Superb leather-free cabin
  • Barely any less practical than the XC40

Cons

  • Not as sporty to drive as a Ford Mustang Mach-E
  • Driving range not quite as good as some rivals
  • Boot isn't quite as big as the XC40's

Overall verdict on the Volvo C40 Recharge

"Have you heard? Volvos are fashionable now. And nothing epitomises that more than the brand's first solely-electric car, the Volvo C40 Recharge - now known as the EC40 after a naming update in early 2024. It's a desirable and stylish electric coupe-SUV, based on the Volvo XC40 Recharge and intended to rival cars like the Tesla Model Y and Mercedes-Benz EQA."

Volvo C40 Recharge Review 2024: front dynamic

The Volvo C40 Recharge, which was renamed EC40 at the start of 2024, follows a similar concept to the Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron. It's much like a regular XC40 Recharge, albeit with a sportier roofline and an extra dose of sex appeal. Combine this with a classy, upmarket interior and an electric range of up to 345 miles, and we could be looking at one of the most desirable electric cars on sale today. Read our full Volvo C40 Recharge review to find out if it should be on your new car shortlist.


With the change of name to EC40, Volvo also added a third option to the line-up. Now, you have a single-motor variant that's was updated for 2023, with Volvo moving moving the motor from the front to the rear wheels. This, along with the updated XC40 Recharge, is the first rear-wheel drive Volvo in 25 years. The main reason for this is to improve efficiency, with the new single-motor version now able to cover 299 miles officially, compared to 272 miles for the front wheel drive car. In addition to this, there is now an Extended Range version with a 78kWh battery that can take the car to a combined official maximum range of 345 miles.


The third is a dual-motor model, and again it was updated for 2023, with the maximum range improving from 278 to 340 miles. Much like the Volvo XC40 Recharge on which it's based, the twin-motor Volvo C40 Recharge is hilariously quick. It's almost a bit too quick as it can cover 0-62mph in 4.7 seconds - even with four-wheel drive, the wheels will scrabble for traction if you're heavy with the accelerator pedal. There's something amusing about tearing towards the horizon in a silent Volvo SUV, but it's not remotely sporty otherwise.


You'd be much better sitting back, enjoying the high seating position and revelling in the refinement on offer. There are no silly fake engine noises here; just the slightest hint of wind noise makes its way into the cabin. Adding to the relaxed nature of the Volvo C40 Recharge is the one-pedal mode, which slows the car down as soon as you lift off the accelerator pedal. It takes a little getting used to (and don't worry, the brake's always there if you need it) but, with practice, you might start to enjoy stop-start traffic.


The Volvo C40 Recharge's superb cabin adds to its relaxed nature. There were three trim levels available (Core, Plus and Ultimate), but this was pruned to just two with the name change to EC40, so you can pick from Plus and Ultra now with a new car. You won't find leather in any of them - Volvo's gone for a more sustainable textile finish - but the C40 Recharge still feels extremely well finished and just as upmarket as bigger Volvo models. It's not overwhelmingly futuristic, either, and more user-friendly than a Volkswagen ID.5. You do get a portrait infotainment system powered by Android Automotive (that means Google Maps as navigation... good news, in our view) as well as a slick digital instrument cluster.


On paper at least, the Volvo C40 Recharge is no less practical than the boxier XC40. That's because official boot measurements are taken up to the window line. If you regularly pack your car to the rafters, you'll find the Volvo XC40 to be a more versatile choice. The XC40 will be better at carrying rear-seat passengers, too, but only the tallest of adults should find their heads brushing on the C40's raked roofline. 


Charging the Volvo C40 Recharge is done via a flap where you'd normally fill up with petrol. It can be charged pretty rapidly (at a speed of up to 200kW for the dual-motor), adding up to 80% charge in as little as 28 minutes. You'll need to find a fast-enough charger to do that; a home wallbox will be able to charge it overnight.


Like most premium electric SUVs, the Volvo C40 Recharge is quite an expensive car to buy. Prices start from around £50,500 for single-motor models, but you can soon spend closer to £59,000 on higher-spec twin-motor versions. That said, most buyers are likely to buy one via an all-inclusive subscription package, which can even include insurance and allow you to swap cars with just three months' notice.


Looking for a used car for sale? We've got 100s of Volvo Approved Used Cars for Sale for you to choose from, including a wide range of Volvo C40 Recharge cars for sale.

If you're looking for a comfortable, premium SUV that'll frankly make you feel good about yourself every time you drive it, the Volvo C40 Recharge is a great choice. It's not cheap and isn't the most practical electric SUV, but it does look pretty and has a superb interior. It's not a great deal less practical than the Volvo XC40 Recharge on which it's based and, while it's expensive to buy, you'll soon recoup some of the initial hit in lower running costs.

Unless you really want a ludicrously quick Volvo C40 Recharge, we reckon the single-motor variants will be sufficient for the majority of buyers. Even these are not a cheap choice so, with that in mind, the entry-level Volvo C40 Recharge Plus, or Core for used buyers, more than covers all the basics. Don't feel the need to stretch to a high-spec Ultra or Ultimate model.

The Volvo C40 Recharge faces stiff competition from a number of very desirable electric SUVs. We'd suggest you also look at the Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron (as well as the mechanically very similar Volkswagen ID.5 and Skoda Enyaq iV Coupe) as well as the Mercedes EQA, while the BMW iX1 should also be on your radar.


Naturally, if you're considering a Volvo C40 Recharge, you should probably look at the very similar (but slightly more practical) Volvo XC40 Recharge as well as the Polestar 2. We'd also strongly recommend the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5 - they might not have a premium badge, but they are two of the best electric cars money can buy. If you want a sportier choice, take a look at the Ford Mustang Mach-E.

Comfort and design: Volvo C40 Recharge interior

"The Volvo C40 Recharge might be based on the brand's smallest SUV, but its cabin feels just as posh and well-equipped as cars like the XC60 and even the XC90."

Volvo C40 Recharge Review 2024: front interior

You get a much higher, more commanding driving position in the Volvo C40 Recharge than in a Kia EV6, although the shallow windscreen and thick window pillars mean you kinda feel cocooned by the dashboard and centre console. Rear visibility is pretty poor - more so than in the XC40 Recharge - but all Volvo C40 Recharge models come with front and rear cameras as well as a reversing camera. The 360-degree bird's-eye-view parking camera fitted to the top-spec Volvo C40 Recharge Ultimate and renamed EC40 in Ultra trim is a very handy feature.


The Volvo C40 Recharge feels a lot like the regular Volvo XC40 inside, which is a good thing if you're transitioning from a petrol or diesel car and don't want something that feels too weird or wonderful. It's certainly very different from a Tesla - more traditional, but in a good way (at least, we think so).


One of the clues the Volvo C40 Recharge is different from a combustion-engined Volvo is the lack of an engine stop-start button. The car springs into life as soon as you get into the car - just put your seatbelt on, apply the brake, shift the gear lever to 'drive' and away you go.


As part of the Volvo C40 Recharge's eco credentials, Volvo's snubbed conventional leather in favour of vegan-friendly textiles. It still feels suitably upmarket, though, and we don't think many drivers will miss 'proper' leather (not unless you like being cold in winter and having a sweaty back in summer, anyway).

It's hard to pick fault with the Volvo C40 Recharge's interior in terms of quality. It feels just as well-finished as the Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron's and a step above what you'd get in a Tesla. All the switchgear feels well-engineered, while carpet up the side of the centre console is a nice touch.


There isn't any noticeable lift in quality between the most affordable Volvo C40 Recharge Core and top-spec C40 Recharge Ultimate (now Plus and Ultra with the renamed EC40), although the latter does come with some fancy ambient interior lighting and premium Microtech upholstery. As we touched on above, the Volvo C40 isn't available with leather seats, although it does use synthetic leather on the steering wheel and gear knob.

The Volvo C40 Recharge comes with a nine-inch portrait touchscreen infotainment display in the centre of the dash. We find it a bit more distracting than smaller displays positioned higher up in the driver's eye line, but a tech-heavy car deserves a tech-heavy media system.


It's actually powered by Android Automotive (Google's operating system and different from Android Auto) and uses Google Maps as the built-in navigation - not a bad thing as this is usually better than carmaker's own systems (as anyone who's ever used Android Auto will attest). It operates a bit like an iPad (or an Android-based tablet, to be more accurate), responding to pinch and swipe gestures. If you prefer using Waze to navigate, the good news is it can now be downloaded from the car's built-in Play Store app.


It feels suitably premium for a car of this price and the menus are fairly logically laid out, while Google's voice-activated personal assistance is on hand for those times when you don't want to traipse through menus. When it first went on sale, the Volvo C40 Recharge didn't have Apple CarPlay - but that was fixed via an over-the-air update in June 2022 and is standard on all cars now.


All Volvo C40 Recharge models (and the EC40 now) also come with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster which, although it's not as customisable as Audi's Virtual Cockpit, can switch between a minimalist display and a busier setup showing you navigation directions. It looks pretty smart and has a logical layout, so isn't too distracting to glance at on the move.


The standard Volvo C40 Recharge Core and Plus models came with an eight-speaker sound system. That's the same for revised EC40 PLus, but the Ultra trim enjoys the same top-spec 13-speaker Harman Kardon premium sound system as the previous Ultimate trim.

The Volvo C40 Recharge's external dimensions are pretty much the same as the XC40's. It measures 1873mm in width (2034mm including mirrors), 4440mm in length and 1591mm in height.


In the front of the Volvo C40 Recharge, you could be sitting in an XC40 Recharge. You get the same high seating position with lots of space and a decent amount of adjustment in the seats. There's the usual mix of storage cubbies, too, including big door bins and a wide centre console.


Naturally, the C40's rakish roofline means it's not quite as spacious in the back. Only the tallest of rear passengers should moan about limited headroom, although the rear doors are a little on the narrow side which makes getting in and out tricky.


The Volvo C40 Recharge now known as the EC40 has a boot that can accommodate 404 litres of luggage up to the window line. The positioning of the batteries mean there's no hidden underfloor storage, but you do get a small 31 litre compartment at the front of the car (under the bonnet). This is useful for small trips to the shops or maybe stowing away your charging leads.

Handling and ride quality: What is the Volvo C40 Recharge like to drive?

"Don't be fooled by its sporty looks - the Volvo C40 Recharge (EC40) is one of the softer electric cars on the market. That means it's best to sit back and relax rather than trying to punt it along at pace - the BMW iX3 is a better option if you're looking for an electric car that's fun to drive."

Volvo C40 Recharge Review 2024: rear dynamic

Despite being soft in its setup, the heavy weight of the Volvo C40 Recharge's batteries means it'll clatter over broken road surfaces. That's especially true of Ultra and Ultimate models fitted with the 20-inch alloy wheels - if you're looking for some extra bump-absorbing tyre wall, it's worth seeking out a C40 Recharge with 19-inch alloys.


The steering is pretty light and superficial, although you can add a bit of weight via the settings menu if you wish (doing so doesn't make a huge difference, really). The Volvo C40 Recharge is two- or four-wheel drive, depending on whether you buy the single- or twin-motor model. Both have a reassuring amount of grip, although if you stamp on the accelerator pedal in the more powerful version, you will notice the traction control system working away to prevent the wheels spinning.


We like the Volvo C40 Recharge's one-pedal drive mode, which uses the electric motor to slow the car down (to a complete stop) as soon as you lift off the accelerator pedal. You can still use the brake, obviously, but with a bit of practice you won't need to. 

When the Volvo C40 Recharge first went on sale in 2022, it was available solely with a twin-motor all-wheel-drive setup. This variant, badged the Volvo C40 Recharge Twin, uses a pretty sizeable 78kWh battery (with a usable capacity of 75kWh) and an electric motor on each axle. For 2023 this has been updated with the C40 Recharge Twin (now called EC40 Twin Motor) having a 82kWh battery (with a usable capacity of 79kWh) and power distribution has changed, with 150PS going to the front wheels and 258PS driving the rear. 


With 408PS, this Volvo C40 Recharge is almost unnecessarily quick. It'll officially sprint to 62mph in 4.7 seconds but it feels even quicker than this - you can feel the front of the car pitch up as it surges towards the horizon. It's no wonder that police forces are trialling the Volvo C40 Recharge as undercover traffic cars - a rogue Volkswagen Golf R won't break free of those flashing lights in the mirrors. However, the Volvo is limited to a top speed of 112mph...


Making do with 'just' 238PS, the single-motor Volvo C40 Recharge is perhaps a more sensible choice. It uses an ever-so-slightly smaller 69kWh battery (67kWh usable) and one electric motor driving the rear axle. Acceleration to 62mph takes 7.3 seconds, which will be more than sprightly enough for the majority of drivers. You certainly won't struggle on a short motorway slip road or pulling off a hasty overtake in the entry-level Volvo C40 Recharge.



A third option joined the range with the transition from C40 Recharge to EC40 for the naming. This is the Extended Range model, which uses the same drivetrain as the single motor model, but with a 78kWh battery that ups the driving range to a claimed combined of 345 miles. It also delivers the same 0-62mph sprint of 7.3 seconds as the 69kWh model, helped along by its 252PS output.

The Volvo C40 Recharge's official range figure varies depending on factors like the trim level and whether you're looking at the single- or twin-motor variant. Early models  Most models are capable of around 260 or 270 miles from a charge, but things have improved dramatically with the updated 2023 models. 


The single-motor C40 Recharge now has a maximum range of 297 and the dual-motor C40 Recharge Twin now has an official maximum range of 342 miles. The improved range makes it much more comparable to rivals like the Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron and better than the BMW iX1.


With the switch in name to EC40, Volvo also took the opportunity to revise the driving range claims of this car. So, the single motor model now claims a combined driving range of 299 miles, while the Extended Range version ups that to 345 miles. The Twin Motor can cover an officially stated 340 miles (339.9 miles on paper, but let's not split hairs).


Like all electric cars, the real-world range is likely to be slightly less than the official figure. That's especially true over winter or if you're heavy with the accelerator pedal. You should be able to travel more than 200 miles between top-ups, though.

Without an engine to mask noise from outside of the car, you might notice an ever-so-slight roar from the tyres or a bit of a whistle as the door mirrors cut through the wind. It's nothing too instrusive, though, and certainly nothing that can't be drowned out by the radio.


In fact, we'd probably say the Volvo C40 Recharge is one of the more relaxing electric cars to drive. The electric motor is very quiet, and there aren't any 'sporty' swooshing noises to upset the serenity of the cabin.

Volvo prides itself on its safety record (no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo, says the brand). It's no surprise, then, that Euro NCAP awarded the C40 Recharge (which also applies to the EC40) a full five stars when it was crash tested in 2022. That included an impressive 92% score for adult occupant protection, 89% for child occupants, 70% for vulnerable road users and 89% for the C40's safety assist features.


Pleasingly, you don't have to pay more for one of the higher-spec models or expensive options pack for a long list of driver-assist technology to help prevent a crash. The Volvo C40 Recharge comes with the City Safety Pack (including pedestrian and cyclist detection, front collision warning with full auto brake and rear auto brake). That means the car will look out for an impending collision and apply the brakes if necessary to prevent it (or at least reduce the severity).


The entry-level Volvo C40 Recharge also comes with the brand's Run-off Road Mitigation (which nudges you back onto the road if you start to steer off it) and Oncoming Lane Mitigation (which does much the same if you start to steer towards oncoming traffic). The Volvo C40 Recharge also comes with Isofix child seat mounting points on the front passenger and rear outer seats. 


The Volvo C40 Recharge Plus adds a few nice-to-have driver-assist features in the form of the Driver Awareness pack. This includes a Blind Spot Information System with Steer Assist, Cross Traffic Alert with Autobrake and Rear Collision Warning and Mitigation.


With the 2024-on EC40 renaming, both Plus and Ultra trims have the same fully stocked cupboard of safety gear as the previous Plus and Ultimate models.

Charging times: How much does it cost to charge the Volvo C40 Recharge?

"Plug the Volvo C40 Recharge into a 200kW rapid charger and you'll be able to charge it up to 80 per cent from 10 per cent in around 28 minutes. Such powerful chargers are usually quite expensive to use but they're ideal for a quick top-up on a longer journey."

Volvo C40 Recharge Review 2024: charging

For more convenient charging, we'd recommend investing in a 7kW home wallbox. Plug the Volvo C40 Recharge into this and it'll be fully charged in around 12 hours - ideal for an overnight charge. The cost of a charge depends on your home electricity tariff.


The Volvo C40 Recharge comes with a three-pin cable that allows you to plug it into any domestic electricity socket. You'll have to be patient, though, if you're charging this way - it'll take actual days. 

Volvo generally has a very good reliability record. The brand's 14th place (out of 29) in the latest HonestJohn.co.uk Satisfaction Index is slightly middle-of-the-road but, with fewer moving parts than petrols and diesels, electric vehicles tend to be more reliable.


All Volvo models come with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty - that's pretty standard for premium cars, which is a shame when the Kia EV6 is covered for seven years. The C40's battery gets a longer warranty - it's covered for eight years or 100,000 miles (whichever comes first). 

Electric car insurance can often be a little more expensive than insuring a petrol or diesel car. That's down to a number of reasons - namely expensive repair costs if the car's involved in a crash as well as the high performance on offer.


The cheapest Volvo C40 to insure will be one of the single-motor models, which have been placed in insurance group 34 for the Core model. The more powerful twin-motor variants are pricier to insure, rising to as high as group 43.

A big perk of electric cars like the Volvo C40 Recharge is they're currently exempt from road tax. You'll pay nothing in VED each year - a huge saving compared to premium petrol or diesel SUVs which are stung with an annual tax bill based on their emissions and are also subject to a surcharge if their list price is north of £40,000.

How much should you be paying for a Volvo C40 Recharge?

"Volvo latest EC40 prices start from £50,487 for the rear-wheel-drive Plusmodel, while the twin-motor AWD variant is priced from £55,527. In the middle sits the single motor Extended Range version from ££52,167."

Volvo C40 Recharge Review 2024: static side profile

High demand means used examples are hard to come by - and don't expect a big discount if you do manage to find one. There are some pre-registered and ex-demonstrator examples at dealers, though, allowing you to skip the waiting list for a new Volvo C40 Recharge. Volvo does offer some discounts, so you should see around £2000 knocked off the list price without any unseemly haggling.


Most buyers pick a new Volvo EC40 via a subscription package. This is similar to conventional leasing, with things like servicing, maintenance and roadside assistance included. You'll pay upwards of £669/month for a three-year subscription on an entry-level Volvo C40 Recharge Core, while £799/month gives you the freedom to swap cars with three months' notice. You can still finance it through the usual PCP or Hire Purchase routes, though. 


There's no doubt that the Volvo C40 Recharge is a premium electric SUV with a price tag to match. Rivals including the Polestar 2, Mercedes EQA and Audi Q4 e-tron are all available for less, but you do at least get a generous standard equipment list with the Volvo C40 Recharge.

The Volvo C40 Recharge was available in three trim levels: Core, Plus and Ultimate. The renamed EC40 now comes in Plus and Ultra trims, which mimic the previous Plus and Ultimate versions for equipment.


Standard equipment on the Volvo C40 Recharge Core includes 19-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, high gloss black exterior details, automatic LED headlights and adaptive brake lights. Inside, the Volvo C40 Recharge Core comes with a fixed panoramic sunroof, a nine-inch portrait infotainment screen and a 12.3-inch driver's display. Safety and security equipment includes Volvo's City Safety pack (with Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, Front Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake and Rear Auto Brake), Run-off Road Mitigation and Vehicle Deceleration Control. The C40 Recharge Core also comes with Isofix child seat mounting points on the front passenger and rear outer seats.


The Volvo C40 Recharge Plus adds Keyless Drive (with Keyless Entry and Keyless Start), Front Park Assist, a reversing camera and puddle lights. The C40 Recharge Plus also features a heat pump and a flexible load floor, as well as powered front seats and heated seats (front and rear). You also get an electric tailgate, heated steering wheel, auto-dimming mirrors and the Driver Awareness pack (with Blind Spot Information System).


Topping the range, the Volvo C40 Recharge Ultimate comes with active bending pixel LED headlights, a headlight cleaning system and front LED foglights with cornering function. You also get premium metallic paint as standard and 20-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels. The Volvo C40 Ultimate features a 360-degree parking camera, a premium Harman Kardon sound system and Connect Textile/Microtech upholstery.

Ask the heycar experts: common questions

Volvo quotes a range of around 270 miles for both single-motor and twin-motor models. This is very dependent on real-world conditions as well as the kind of driving you cover, but more than 200 miles should be very achievable in the real world. A 150kW rapid charger can boost the battery from 10 to 80 per cent in less than half an hour. With the renamed EC40, Volvo's claimed driving range for the car goes from 299 miles to 345 miles depending on the model you choose.
The Volvo C40 Recharge is now known as the EC40, with UK prices starting from around £50,500. Most buyers will opt for a subscription service, though, which starts from £669/month and includes maintenance and tax.
The Volvo C40 Recharge, or EC40 as it was rechristened in early 2024, is a more stylish alternative to the XC40 Recharge. It's based on the same platform and shares its electric drivetrain, but it features a more coupe-like design. It's very similar in size to the XC40, though, and Volvo says the sloping roofline doesn't hinder interior space.

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