This week I'm bringing you the 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge Twin Ultimate luxury crossover- the first Volvo designed to be purely electric and probably one of my favorite looking SUVs to date. The C40 introduces some big firsts to the Volvo brand. It's Volvo's first vehicle with a 100-percent leather free interior, and its first model equipped with Google Built-In. It also launches new headlight technology and a new design direction. The lineup is refreshingly simple - and by simple I mean it only comes in an Ultimate trim. Also to know: you can only order it online.
The C40 ushers in some new design language to the Volvo brand and I, for one, am loving the design direction. It introduces a sleeker, lower profile SUV design to the brand and Volvo's Fjord Blue Metallic hue is just gorgeous especially set against contrasting glossy black design elements.
Statement-making and aerodynamic 20-inch double spoke black diamond cut alloy wheels look terrific as does its dramatic tail end with a gloss black spoiler. Headlights also evolve with the C40. Volvo's hallmark Thor’s Hammer headlights are augmented with new PIXEL LED headlight technology which automatically adjust to light conditions. Oh and this is cool. The Volvo emblem in the grille will heat up to make sure the camera stays clear in cold conditions.
The C40's powertrain consists of twin electric motors - one on the front and one of the rear- powered by a 78kWh battery. It delivers some terrific performance numbers: 402-horsepower and 486 pound-feet of torque. Volvo cites a 0-60 mph time of 4.7 seconds.
Slipping into the driver's seat of the C40, it starts up automatically, if you're holding the key fob. There's no push button start which can take a moment to get used to.
The C40's impressive interior is modern, luxurious and 100-percent leather free, a first in Volvo history. The premium materials including the hardware for the door handles and the premium Harmon Kardon speakers are excellent as you'd expect. A mix of textures and hidden surprises have hints of Scandinavian influence.
Take for instance the carpet in Fjord Blue, a color Volvo says was inspired by deep inlets on the Scandinavian west coast. The carpet is 100-percent recycled PET plastic bottles. There's no additional charge for it and you can combine it with 4 of the 7 exterior paint colors.
Another example are the backlit translucent graphics on the dashboard and front door panels, which are a nod to mountain sceneries in Sweden’s Abisko national park.
In terms of room, keep in mind the C40 is a compact crossover, thus the seats in the front and rear are on the slimmer, more narrow side than you might find in a mid-size SUVs. You'll find cubby areas for storage designed uniquely into the sides of the front seats.
This model sports one of two non-leather upholstery choices - partly recycled microfiber textile seat panels and contrasting bolsters and inserts in Microtech. The four-way power and heated driver's and passenger's seats - with contrast stitching - each have a manually operated thigh extender. The heated sport steering wheel is the perfect size and weight.
A slim center console is home to a shift by wire gear-shift knob, a large wireless charging pad and two small cupholders.
A few other observations: The windows are slim, especially for the second row due to a sloping roofline. But there is no issue with natural light thanks to the standard fixed panoramic roof. While there's no sunshade, Volvo says its tinted glass protects occupants from glare and UV radiation. Also, the C40's slim rear doors are worth noting. They could be a challenge for some passengers as they exit the vehicle, like my dad who is 5' 10" tall.
The narrow rear seats sit slightly higher than in the front. A cushiony center arm rest offers cupholders. A middle floorboard hump isn't likely to make for a comfortable seating option for a 5th passenger. More rear visibility is on my wish list. It's somewhat impeded on the side by the power-folding rear seat headrests and slim rear window real estate.
The C40 offers Volvo's always outstanding technology including a digital driver display and multimedia tablet display. A 12-3 inch digital driver's display is terrific. It offers full map integration (and wow does it look great at night) and the graphics are so large and easy to read. It displays your charging information and much more.
The 9-inch tablet-style multimedia touchscreen displays great graphics and maps. It's quite responsive and you easily swipe from one page to the next. You'll control a lot of the vehicle's features this way, including the one pedal function (which helps save battery power), which I would prefer to be a stand alone button on the console. Volvo's back up camera resolution and 360 view is always terrific.
The Ultimate's 13-speaker Harman Kardon sound system delivers excellent sound quality. Connectivity wise you'll get 4 USB-C ports - two for each row.
The C40 is equipped with a power tailgate which opens to impressive cargo space. There's a pass through area to the rear seats, as well as underneath storage. The removable/folding load floor also accommodates shopping bags with hooks and an elastic strap. You'll also get a cargo cover and stainless skid plate back there.
Ride and Drive
The Volvo C40 is one of the sportier Volvo's I've driven to date - not in terms of tight handling, but in the suspension and power. Its off the line acceleration is terrific thanks to impressive torque. It delivers a confident ride and excellent braking. Steering is on the looser side, but you can tighten it up a bit using a setting in the multimedia system.
Range and Charging
The C40 delivers an EPA estimated 210- mile range on a charge. You can store the C40's charging cord in the Front Load Compartment - referred to by many as a "frunk". With DC fast charging, Volvo says you'll get an 80% charge in just 40 mins. It will be slower at a Level 2 public charging station and we're talking a snails place if you just plug into your 110-volt outlet at home (Trust me on this!)
Volvo says 2022 model year C40 owners receive 250 kWh of complimentary Electrify America charging. On Volvo's website I came across this other terrific piece of info:
"Receive FREE wall-box EV charger with 2 years warranty, FREE home electrical health check, FREE installation and FREE cost for recharging car’s high-voltage battery through EA Anywhere application".
The C40 is loaded with a host of features including a power operated tailgate, the Pilot Assist Driver Assistance system, heat pump, Harman Kardon premium audio, those awesome-looking 20-inch wheels, a 360 camera, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, and front and rear parking assist.
The C40 is equipped with Volvo's terrific suite of drivers assistance features including Stop and Go Cruise Control and Volvo's semi-autonomous Pilot Assist technology is one of my favorite in the biz.
There is certainly a lot to love about the new C40 -- the new stylish design direction won me over immediately, as did the well-designed and executed interior and use of sustainable materials that deliver the luxury you expect from the brand. That said, it won't be the right crossover for everyone. Design features like the slim rear doors and narrow seats may not work for all.
- What I liked most: Performance, exterior design, non-leather interior.
- What I would change: Design wider rear seat doors for better exit.
- MSRP: Base price: $58,750; as equipped: $60,540
- Fuel Economy MPGe: 94 city/80 highway/87 combined.
- Odometer reading when tested: 68 miles.
- Weight: 4,817 pounds.
- Spare Tire: Tire mobility kit.
- Length-Width-Height: 174.4” long/80.1” wide/62.8” high.
- Fuel Tank Capacity: N/A.
- Official Color: Fjord Blue Metallic. ($695)
- Towing Capacity: 2,000 pounds.
- 2022 Volvo C40 Ultimate: An impressive performer with scene-stealing looks and a fantastic cabin.
- Warranty: 48 month/50,000 mile Limited Warranty Coverage; 144-month corrosion protection. Complementary Factory maintenance and wear coverage 4 years or 50,000 miles. 250 kWh fast-charging with Electrify America.
- Final Assembly Location: Ghent, Belgium.
- Manufacturer's website: Volvo