Every week, wheels.ca selects a new vehicle and takes a good look at its entry-level trim. If we find it worthy of your consideration, we'll let you know. If not, we'll recommend one - or the required options - that earns a passing grade.
With most car companies staring down the barrel of government-mandated deadlines for the sale of vehicles powered solely by electricity, the number of EVs available in any given segment has increased dramatically over the last couple of years. Volvo is no different, introducing the new C40 Recharge as a foil to other small luxury crossovers without a tailpipe.
Befuddling nomenclature notwithstanding (Recharge means all-electric, except when it doesn’t), the $72,600 C40 takes typical Volvo styling cues like a minimalist front and sky-high taillamps and drags them into the electric era. Cutting a distinctly compact SUV-like profile, a jaunty spoiler juts from the rear hatch and a belt buckle sized corporate badge adorns the grille-less nose. Any paint colour other than Black Stone costs $900, so one might as well select an interesting hue like Fjord Blue or Fusion Red if you’re spending the extra coin.
All-wheel drive is standard on the C40 Recharge, the product of two electric motors cranking out just over 400 horsepower. Total range from its 76kWh battery pack is estimated to provide around 360 kilometres of driving range, a sum within a shout of many other vehicles in this segment. With DC fast charging – those big suckers at gas stations or mall parking lots – one should be able to juice a C40’s battery from near flat to about 80 per cent in roughly 35 minutes.
The interior of this EV incorporates many cues from other Volvo products currently on sale, meaning the centre stack is dominated by an enormous tablet-style screen while buttons are few and far between. If you like Swedish austerity, this is the cabin for you. That’s not to say this car is poorly equipped, since it comes with all manner of features like Harman Kardon Premium Sound, wireless phone charging, heated front and rear seats, neat Microtech upholstery, and unique back-lit translucent 3D-style decor which lends a natural glow to the interior.
What We'd Choose
Just like buttons in its cabin, the options list for this C40 is minimalist in nature. Apparently, Volvo is taking a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to their smallest EV. The grand sum of $600 permits the addition of a second charging cable, one which can plug into the type of outlet used for electric kitchen stoves and clothes dryers. If that sort of electrical outlet is available near your parking spot, be sure to get this option since it will charge your snazzy new C40 much more quickly than a standard 110V household outlet.
But the real choice sits right across the showroom in the form of the XC40 Recharge, a corporate all-electric cousin with slightly less range (about 350 km) but a much more approachable price tag – one starting $12,650 less than the C40. Upgrading the XC40 to include the C40’s standard niceties like the Harmon Kardon sound system negates those savings but if you can do without some of that largesse, the XC40 Recharge might just be the one to select from this duo.