2022 Volvo C40 Recharge Review

2022 Volvo C40 Recharge - C40 Recharge crossover has winning ways


Price: $58,750

Pros—All-electric. Snazzy styling. Roomy. Fast. Compliant ride. Composed handling. AWD. No fuss entry/start. One-pedal drive.

Cons—Small back window. Thick windshield posts and outside mirrors hinder corner turning.   

Bottom Line—Volvo’s purely electric compact crossover is generally a winner

Volvo’s snazzy new all-electrical C40 Recharge Twin Ultimate compact crossover goes like the blazes and is easy to live with.

Some may have to look twice to see this is a Volvo because it has a decidedly sporty look with its sloping black roof and gloss black spoiler at its dramatic tail end. It lists at $58,750, without a $1,095 destination charge and before federal, state and local incentives.

One of the first things someone new to the C40 will notice is that the doors automatically unlock if a driver is holding the key fob, and the C40 then starts by itself when the driver’s seat is occupied. No ignition key, switch or starter button are needed. It makes things simpler for its driver, especially if he is in a hurry.

A one-pedal feature that allows elimination of the brake pedal—just let up on the accelerator and the C40 predictably slows and eventually stops while charging the batteries at the same time. Actually, I preferred conventional three-pedal driving and shut off the one-pedal feature, thanks to an easily used integrated touch screen that allowed me to make a variety of  adjustments.

The C40 Recharge Twin Ultimate comes in just one fully-equipped upscale trim—there’s no need to wade through a variety of trim levels or power outputs to get the model and performance you want. There are few options because this Volvo is very well equipped. One allows the C40 to be a little better suited for curvy roads. Another is for off-road driving, but this crossover isn’t designed for rugged off-road stuff— although it looks like it might be with its high ground clearance.

Two motors—one in front, the other in back—generate 402 horsepower and 486 pound-feet of torque. Acceleration is impressively instant and smooth, and the 0-60 time is a seemingly effortless 4.7 seconds. Freeway merges and high-speed passing are a breeze, and the brake pedal has a firm, leaner action. Towing capacity is 2,000 pounds.

Steering is fairly light and a little dull, but accurate, and a driver can adjust it to be a little firmer. The ride is compliant, and handling is composed. However, this is no sports crossover despite low-profile tires on very stylish 20-inch double spike black diamond cut alloy wheels. Also, a low, heavy battery pack provides a lower center of gravity, and the full-time AWD system helps stability.

The driving range is an estimated 226 miles, which is not the best, nor the worst. Estimated fuel economy is 94 miles per gallon in the city and 80 on highways for a combined 87 m.p.g. figure. The battery pack can be charged to 80 percent of capacity in about 40 minutes with a 220 DC fast charger.

Entry and exit is easy, and there’s room for four tall adults, or for five in a pinch. The back seats are a bit narrow, and the rear center is best left to a cushy armrest with twin cupholders.

The streamlined interior  contains recycled materials. In fact, this is the first Volvo not to have a leather interior, although I suspect some upscale car buyers would want some leather.

But there’s plenty of other stuff in there. It includes attractive seat stitching, handy front/rear cupholders, 13-speaker Harmon Kardon audio sound system, heated power front seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, 12.2-inch progressive digital driver display,  9-inch integrated touchscreen, inductive smartphone charging, 4USB-C ports, 2-zone automatic climate control, 360-degree surround-view camera, bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming and tinted rear windows for rear side doors and cargo area.

The front  seats are supportive in turns and have manually operated thigh extenders. Windows are somewhat slim, but there is a tinted fixed panoramic sunroof that lets in light, but has no sunshade. Rear vision through a small back window caused by the sloping roof makes using the side view mirrors a must. And thick windshield pillars and large outside rearview mirrors obstruct vision when making street corners.   

The automatic rear hatch opens to reveals a fairly roomy (14.6 cubic feet) cargo area, which expands to an impressive 42.6 cubic feet with the rear seat backs folded down. The cargo floor is removable to allow a moderate amount of hidden storage. Cabin storage is decent, with a covered console bin and large door storage pockets.

Safety features include a blind-spot information system with steering assist, cross-traffic alert with auto brake collision avoidance, low- and high-speed collision mitigation that detects vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists, run-off road protection and run-off road mitigation, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping aid, road-sign information and rear park assist camera, whiplash protection system in front seats and front and side curtain air bags with a driver-side knee airbag.

The C40 Recharge Twin Ultimate may be one of the best Volvos yet. It impresses on many fronts.

Dan Jedlicka

Dan Jedlicka's Website

Dan Jedlicka joined the Chicago Sun-Times in February 1968 as a business news reporter and was named auto editor later that year. He has reviewed more than 4,000 new vehicles for the Sun-Times--far more than any newspaper auto writer in the country. Jedlicka also reviewed vehicles for Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Autos Internet site from January, 1996, to June, 2008.

Jedlicka remained auto editor at the Sun-Times until October, 2008, and continued writing for the newspaper's AutoTimes section, which he started in 1992, until February, 2009. While continuing his auto writings at the Sun-Times, he served as assistant financial editor of that newspaper from 1970 to 1973, when he began his automotive column.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including NBC's "Today," ABC's "20/20" and "The CBS Evening News." He was a host, consultant and writer for Fox-TV Channel 32's 1991 New Car Preview show and that Chicago-based station's 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 Chicago Auto Show Previews.

Jedlicka's auto articles have been printed in national magazines, including Esquire and Harper's. His auto columns have been reprinted in U.S. government publications and economic textbooks and he is profiled in the "World's Greatest Auto Show" history book about the Chicago Auto Show. In late 1975, Jedlicka was host and technical advisor for three one-hour television specials, "Auto Test 76," which aired nationally on PBS and were the first nationally televised auto road test shows.

In 1995, Jedlicka was the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois Inc.'s Consumer Education Award, given annually to a person who has gained distinction in the field of consumer education. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Media category and inducted into the Legends of Motorsports Guild at the Carquest World of wheels custom car show in Chicago in January, 2006.

Jedlicka was a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury, composed of a select number of auto journalists from throughout the country, from 1995 until 2009. From 2010 to 2012, he was a member of Consumer Digest magazine's auto experts panel that gave Best Buy new vehicle recommendations.

He is a 1987 graduate of the Bob Bondurant Race Drivers School and later of the BMW "M" and Skip Barber Advanced Driving schools. He was a member of the U.S. team that participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia race/rally in Italy and has been a race winner at the Chicago area's Santa Fe Speedway.

Jedlicka has owned 25 classic cars, including 1950s and 1960s Ferraris and 1950s and 1960s Porsches, a 1965 Corvette, a 1967 Maserati and a 1957 Studebaker supercharged Golden Hawk. Jedlicka resides with his wife, Suzanne, in the Frank Lloyd Wright historic district of Oak Park. They have two children, James and Michele.

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