Expert Reviews

2024 Volvo C40 Recharge Review

AutoTrader SCORE
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
  • Safety

Volvo’s fastback C40 electric crossover burst out of the gates for 2022 with two motors, all-wheel drive (AWD), and a formidable 402 horsepower.

Quick, rakish, and not entirely practical, Volvo’s first dedicated electric vehicle (EV) made quite a statement, signalling the Swedish automaker’s aim to have its fleet entirely battery powered by 2030. To that end, a less pricey single-motor rear-wheel drive C40 joins the lineup for 2024.

With up to 478 km of range from its larger capacity battery, the 2024 Volvo C40 Recharge Single Motor trumps its AWD sibling’s range by 64 km.

Styling: 9/10

Dipped here in new-for-2024 Cloud Blue paint and riding on standard 20-inch alloy wheels, this 2024 Volvo C40 Recharge trim cuts a striking profile. It’s a look that previews the future while also honouring such established Volvo design cues as the Thor’s Hammer headlights and bold vertical taillights. The C40’s snout has no traditional grille – the body-coloured front panel advertises its all-electric status in no uncertain terms. Interesting design touches abound, like the chic extensions at the back of the roof that cleverly hide the hatch hinges.

Safety: 8.5/10

The base trim C40 Core gets a generous list of safety features that includes blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assistance, oncoming crash mitigation, pedestrian and bicycle detection, road sign information, whiplash-reducing seats, and the back-up camera that’s mandatory on all new vehicles. Moving up to the Plus trim nets surround-view cameras, while the Ultimate adds adaptive cruise control and highway driving assist.

I can personally attest to the effectiveness of Volvo’s blind-spot assist system. It yanked the C40 back into its lane when I started a lane change as a vehicle (unseen by me) moved into the adjacent lane. This stuff works. Now, I can’t totally blame the C40’s large rear three-quarter blind spots for this, but they didn’t help. As with all Volvos, the C40’s structure feels rock solid, imparting a sense of security and confidence. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) tested a 2023 Volvo C40 and awarded it the highest Top Safety Pick+ designation.

Practicality: 7.5/10

Those seeking ultimate practicality in a compact Volvo EV will opt for the otherwise identical XC40 Recharge with its more practical upright rear roofline. The roof of this rakish C40 sits 60 mm (2.4 in) lower than the XC40’s, although due to its standard full panoramic glass roof, there is in fact slightly more front headroom than in the XC40. However, rear passengers lose 25 mm (one in) of hairdo clearance, and the load space behind the rear seats takes a hit, too. The C40’s cargo space measures 489 L with the seats up and 1,205 L when they’re folded flat. That’s 89 L and 123 L less, respectively, less than you’ll find in the XC40.

The C40 does come with standard powered tailgate and a small frunk that will accommodate an overnight bag. There’s some useful storage in the cabin, too – long door pockets, a storage/phone charge cubby ahead of the gear selector, and a decent-sized covered bin between the seats. The single motor C40 has a maximum towing capacity of 900 kg (1,984 lb).

User-Friendliness: 7.5/10

The C40’s start-up process is about as user-friendly as it gets. There’s no start/stop button – the Volvo comes alive when you unlock and enter, and similarly shuts down when exiting.

As with other Volvos, the C40’s dash is dominated by a 9.1-inch portrait-oriented touchscreen. There’s also a 12.3-inch gauge cluster for the driver. The infotainment system is Google-based, with the capacity for over-the-air updates and voice command via Google assistant. The embedded Google Maps navigation works a treat with accurate traffic info and a way-cool photo-realistic display.

The interface still requires too much in the way of screen poking to access basic HVAC functions. Ditto for accessing and scrolling through radio stations. Thankfully, there is a rotary volume control below the screen flanked by a few physical buttons for track forward and back, and front and rear defrost. The little electronic gear selection wand works in the typical fashion – forward for reverse and back for drive.

Features: 8.5/10

Over the Core and Plus trims, the Ultimate gets a fine 13-speaker stereo, heated rear seats, headlight cleaners, adaptive cruise with driver assist, a heated steering wheel, faux suede seating surfaces, heater washer nozzles, power child safety lock, and 20-inch alloy wheels (up from 19-inch units). What you won’t find is any leather in this Nordic chic cabin. The seat fabrics, door cards, and floor mats are made from 100 per cent recycled plastic bottles – seventy-one in all, Volvo tells us. And in true Volvo tradition, the chairs are supremely comfortable and supportive.

The engraved (recycled) plastic trim panels on the front doors and dash are inspired by a topographical map of Abisko Park in northern Sweden. While they don’t look like much in daylight, soft backlighting at night makes for beautifully ethereal accents.

Power: 8/10

With 248 hp and 310 lb-ft of instant torque on tap, the C40 Single Motor is plenty brisk. While not as quick as its blazing Twin Motor sibling, it effortlessly slices and dices through city traffic and shows equal prowess at higher speeds, where passing and merging is no problem. Volvo claims the C40 Single Motor will reach 100 km/h in 7.4 seconds.

Comfort: 8.5/10

If you measure comfort by seat quality and cabin quietness, the 2024 Volvo Recharge Ultimate Single Motor comes up aces. However, as well contoured as these seats are, some buyers might bemoan the fact that ventilation is not offered in this premium vehicle. And heat for the steering wheel doesn’t show up until one forks out for the top Ultimate trim. The rear outboard seats (heated in the Ultimate) are very nice, too, and the faux-suede inserts are more butt-friendly than leather on cold mornings and hot summer days. The C40 offers a firm but quiet and well-controlled ride.

Driving Feel: 8.5/10

The Volvo C40 in rear-wheel drive guise is a pleasure to drive. It shows all the hallmarks of electric propulsion – smooth, quiet, and swift acceleration – along with that intangible essence of Volvo that wraps the whole experience in a sense of security and quality. While not as sporty or engaging as some immediate rivals – the Ford Mustang Mach-E comes to mind – it’s still an eager little EV with decent steering feel and a willingness to dive into a bend.

On the highway, the C40 is calm and quiet, with a bit of wind and tire noise the only intrusions. Unlike some competitors, Volvo doesn’t offer a fake soundtrack. The selectable one-pedal driving function allows for just that. Lift off the accelerator and the car decelerates quite aggressively. You learn to modulate this just like with acceleration, and the C40 will come to a complete stop without hitting the brakes (yes, the brake lights are activated).

Fuel Economy: 8.5/10

With a claimed maximum range of 478 km, this rear-drive C40 jumps to near the head of the class, bettering the Genesis GV60 and Audi Q4 E-Tron. The Mustang Mach-E with its extended-range 90-kWh battery does better at a claimed 491 km. The C40 Recharge Single Motor’s 82-kWh battery can accept DC fast-charging up to 200 kW and will charge from 10 to 80 per cent in about 30 minutes. On a Level 2 home charger, a typical charge takes eight hours. For optimum battery life, Volvo recommends not exceeding 90 per cent charge and not dropping below 20 per cent.

Value: 7.5/10

With the introduction of this Single Motor model, the entry point for the C40 coupe drops to $59,950 for the base Core model. Next is the Plus trim at $68,000 that adds an air purifier, heat pump, 360-degree cameras, upgraded upholstery, ambient lighting, a power passenger seat, power folding rear head restraints, and that cool backlit topographical trim. The $72,250 Ultimate tested here rounds out the lineup. All three can be upgraded to the Twin Motor powertrain for an additional $3,550. Interestingly, there is no price differentiation between this C40 and the more pragmatic XC40 Recharge.

The Verdict

The Volvo C40 Recharge is a premium and unique electric offering that veers from the mainstream and delights with its design, build quality, and recycled and renewable interior materials. The new-for-2024 Single Motor model increases the C40’s range and lowers the price. Yes, the 2024 Volvo C40 Single Motor is still expensive, and you’ll find more utility and value elsewhere (Ford Mustang Mach-E, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6). There’s also the identically priced, roomier, and (to these eyes) equally cool-looking Volvo XC40 Recharge, the C40 becomes a tougher sell. But then if this stylish little electric SUV tugs at your heartstrings, it guarantees exclusivity.

Engine Displacement 185 kW
Engine Cylinders Single rear motor
Peak Horsepower 248 hp
Peak Torque 310 lb-ft
Fuel Economy 17.8 / 21.8 / 19.6 kWh/100 km, 2.0 / 2.4 / 2.2 Le/100 km cty/hwy/cmb; 478 km est. range
Cargo Space 404 / 1,205 L seats down
Model Tested 2024 Volvo C40 Recharge Ultimate Single Motor
Base Price $72,250
A/C Tax $100
Destination Fee $2,620
Price as Tested $74,970
Optional Equipment