Test bench | Volvo C40: exercise in style

With the C40, Volvo lends itself to an exercise in expensive styling.

Posted on May 18

Eric LeFrançois

Eric LeFrançois
special cooperation

play with words

Despite appearances, the C40 Recharge is not really a new model. It’s new to Volvo, but it’s actually an outgoing variant of the XC40. That doesn’t bother the Sino-Swedish brand to present it as its first all-electric vehicle based on the premise that this model, unlike the XC40, doesn’t have a combustion engine counterpart.

Nothing would stop the C40 from having an internal combustion engine under the hood. This Volvo shares the same architecture with the XC40 and Polestar 2. The latter claims to be so malleable that it can accommodate a variety of powertrains.

As usual, it will be up to the reader to assess the “performance” of the designers who here apply the “cut” treatment introduced by German manufacturers to energize some of their products. The recipe is not very complicated. It consists of further arching the pavilion and then extending this line using the telescope as a support. This style has its downsides. On the one hand, it usually results in reduced headroom and cargo space. On the other hand, it compromises rear visibility. Naturally, driving aids (parking radar, reversing camera, blind spot sensors) reduce inconvenience, but not all. And that can’t overshadow the lack of a windshield wiper either.

  • The C40 does not present itself as a sports car, but behaves as one.

    PHOTO PROVIDED BY VOLVO

    The C40 does not present itself as a sports car, but behaves as one.

  • This Volvo completely deprives itself of leather in favor of recycled materials or materials produced from plants.

    PHOTO PROVIDED BY VOLVO

    This Volvo completely deprives itself of leather in favor of recycled materials or materials produced from plants.

  •     The rear seats have good leg, knee and head room.

    PHOTO PROVIDED BY VOLVO

    The rear seats have good leg, knee and head room.

  • The very small chest in front.  The biggest is behind.

    PHOTO PROVIDED BY VOLVO

    The very small chest in front. The biggest is behind.

  • In terms of onboard living, the C40 offers decent space, nothing more.

    PHOTO PROVIDED BY VOLVO

    In terms of onboard living, the C40 offers decent space, nothing more.

  • With the C40, you apply the brakes or let the vehicle slow to a complete stop without ever using the brake pedal.

    PHOTO PROVIDED BY VOLVO

    With the C40, you apply the brakes or let the vehicle slow to a complete stop without ever using the brake pedal.

  • The C40 doesn't offer the same energy efficiency as the two aforementioned competitors in terms of range and power consumption.

    PHOTO PROVIDED BY VOLVO

    The C40 doesn’t offer the same energy efficiency as the two aforementioned competitors in terms of range and power consumption.

  • Weighing more than two tons, this Volvo makes us feel a kind of heaviness when changing supports and an unpleasant sensation of inertia.

    PHOTO PROVIDED BY VOLVO

    Weighing more than two tons, this Volvo makes us feel a kind of heaviness when changing supports and an unpleasant sensation of inertia.

1/8

Anyone who has ever sat in a Volvo 240 will surely smile upon discovering the C40 with its blue suede carpet. And the more contemporary will notice that this Volvo completely deprives itself of leather in favor of recycled or plant-based materials. A trend in the making, but not yet on the agenda of many buyers.

Copy paste

Unsurprisingly, the interior furniture of the C40 hardly differs from that of the XC40. Due to the positioning of this “faux coupé”, it is difficult not to feel a certain disappointment. The XC40’s few gimmicks (the trash can integrated into the center armrest, for example) answer “gift”, sure, but for a vehicle of this price (and this look) we were expecting a bigger uniqueness.

The simplicity of the controls, the comfort of the seats (at the front) and the care in manufacturing do not change anything. The impression remains: the requested amount does not match what we have in front of us.

We’ll recognize the infotainment system for its ease of use, but its screen still refuses to broadcast Android Auto and Apple CarPlay systems.

In terms of onboard living, the C40 offers decent space, nothing more. The rear seats have good leg, knee and head room. However, the very low positioning of the bench seats makes it uncomfortable on long journeys for tall and insufficiently sculpted people to keep us in turns. As for the chests (yes, there’s a small one on the front), let’s see the bigger one. This offers volume comparable to the XC40 Recharge (read electric) but remains behind the competition. And since we’re talking about a trailer, let’s remember that the C40 can tow a (modest) load. The cost of the ride involves an additional outlay of about US$1,800.

transition model

The C40 doesn’t present itself as a sports car, but behaves like one. As soon as the traffic light turns green, this Volvo starts off hard and marks acceleration times and times for the less energetic. With the equivalent of more than 400 hp under its right foot ready to react instantly, the C40 approaches, without, however, matching the speed of a Tesla Model Y or a Mustang Mach-E GT (see the screen “Competition “). The C40 also doesn’t offer the same energy efficiency as the two mentioned competitors in terms of autonomy and energy consumption (see the “Specifications” tab).

The C40 jumps fast and well, but several factors invite you to relax in the first corner. Naturally, the weight of the vehicle is at issue. Weighing more than two tons, this Volvo makes us feel a kind of heaviness when changing supports and an unpleasant sensation of inertia. These insights are, however, masked by a smooth steering that is careful not to reveal the front axle work. It is possible to strengthen the assistance of the latter, but this function only overloads it (artificially); it doesn’t make it more direct, more sensitive, or more precise.

Finely tuned and short, the C40 retains the services of a properly tuned suspension. Despite its 20” tread, it is soft enough to filter out road imperfections and reasonably firm to limit body movement. On the other hand, electric worshipers are sure to notice the C40’s higher decibel level. This is undoubtedly due to the “hybrid” nature of its chassis, which, it is worth remembering, was designed to accommodate different types of thrusters. The most demanding will also regret the absence of a configurable braking system that allows you to establish energy recovery. With the C40, you apply the brakes or let the vehicle slow to a complete stop without ever using the brake pedal. A luxury for some drivers.

Volvo C40 recharge

Award

72 600 $

Eligible for government discounts

No (provincial and federal)

Visible at dealerships

Now buy online

We love

smart interior
Strong acceleration and pick-ups
manufacturing quality

we love less

The price difficult to justify
disappointing autonomy
artificial direction

our verdict

Being electric doesn’t excuse everything.

data sheet

PHOTO PROVIDED BY VOLVO

Volvo C40 recharge

Engine(s)

  • 2 electric motors
  • Combined power: 402 hp
  • Max Double: 487 lb-pi

performances

  • Weights: 2132 kg
  • Acceleration 0-100km/h: 4.5s
  • Towing capacity: 750 kg

Gear box

  • default: automatic
  • optional: none
  • Drive mode: four-wheel drive

tires

Battery capacity/assumed range

  • lithium ion battery
  • All-wheel drive: 78 kWh (useful: 75 kWh), range of 364 km

Consumption / billing

  • 20.2 kWh/100 km (all-wheel drive)
  • Maximum charging power: 150 kW

dimensions

  • Wheelbase: 2702mm
  • Length: 4440mm
  • Height: 1590mm
  • Width: 1873 mm (excluding exterior mirrors)

Separated at birth?

PHOTO FROM FPI STUDIOS, PROVIDED BY DODGE

Dodge Caliber

Let the manufacturer who has never imitated the cabin of an Audi or the profile of a Jeep throw the first bolt. If we look at the C40 from certain angles, it resembles the shapes and proportions of the Caliber (our photo) marketed by Dodge from 2007 to 2012. A comparison that some will no doubt find unflattering, but there is worse. Some passersby encountered during this test felt that the frame slope and roof arch of the C40 were more like the Pontiac Aztek.

informed consumer

PHOTO PROVIDED BY VOLVO

The Volvo C40 and XC40 Recharge

Considering the asking price for the C40, isn’t it better to pay for the Recharge version of the XC40? The latter offers a slightly shorter range (5km) but is more practical and more affordable (it costs almost $12,000 less). Even better, the XC40 Recharge qualifies for government subsidies. In its defense, the C40 ships a number of accessories offered against a supplement on the XC40.

share your experience

The press will soon publish the test of the following vehicles: Acura Integra, BMW 2 Series, Genesis GV60, Honda HR-V, Mercedes C-Class, Nissan Z, Subaru WRX and Volkswagen Jetta (GLi). If you own one of these vehicles or are waiting for delivery, we’d love to hear from you.

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