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2023 Volvo C40 Recharge - Review by Larry Nutson

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2023 Volvo C40 Recharge  

By Larry Nutson
Executive Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau

There’s a change in the wind. Volvo Car USA reported sales of 102,038 cars for the full year 2022, down 16.5 percent compared with last year. This, however, is mostly due to supply chain issues that plague many industries. Interestingly, the share of fully electric Volvo cars reached 7.2 percent during 2022, up 14.3 percent over 2021.

Recently Volvo Car USA reported sales of 8,560 cars for February 2023, up 38 percent compared to the same month last year. It’s the fifth consecutive month of year-over-year growth.

Sales of the company’s fully electric cars -- the XC40 Recharge and C40 Recharge compact luxury SUVs -- increased 75 percent compared with the same month last year and comprised 11 percent of sales.

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The Volvo C40 Recharge is the first Volvo model in the company’s history to be designed as pure electric only. Based on the new Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), the C40 Recharge is a crossover utility vehicle with a lower and sleeker design featuring improved aerodynamics. Inside there’s a high seating position liked by many.

The 5-passenger C40 Recharge comes with twin electric motors, one on the front axle and one on the rear axle. With a total output of 402-horsepower, power comes from a 78kWh battery that can be fast charged from 10 to 80 percent in 37 minutes. The car has an EPA-certified range of 226 miles on a full 100% charge.

New for 2023, the C40 Recharge is also available with one electric single motor on the front axle. This version, rated at 231-hp, comes with a 69kWh battery. Official driving range wasn’t yet available but should be greater than the twin-motor version.

Core, Plus and Ultimate trims are offered with prices starting at $56,395.

Standard features include a power driver seat with memory, power retractable door mirrors, remote starting, panoramic roof, heated front seats, power rear liftgate, adaptive headlights, and wireless phone charging.

The C40 Recharge is equipped with a long list of collision warning, collision intervention, and driving control assistance features that use an array of radars, cameras, and ultrasonic sensors.

The C40 Recharge comes with an infotainment system jointly developed with Google. It provides Google apps and built-in services, such as Google Maps, Google Assistant, and apps on Google Play.

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Tailored Wool Blend upholstery in the Recharge models is made from 30 percent responsibly produced wool and 70 percent polyester with contrasting white piping.

Battery vehicles require a focus on features that help optimize energy-saving and cruising range for year-round driving. In addition to aerodynamic design choices and body weight reduction efforts, systems and equipment are needed to reduce energy consumption, especially power used for heating in cold climates. The C40 Recharge has a heat pump system for both heating and air-conditioning.

The rear cargo area offers 49 cu.ft. with the rear seat folded. There’s also a front trunk.

For my drive evaluation I drove an Ultimate trim finished in Fjord Blue. The base price is $60,100.

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With lots of available torque acceleration is very quick. The all-wheel drive system puts the power to the pavement with zero to 60 mph taking only 4.7 seconds---not recommended for the inexperienced. Driving an EV on the highway is exceedingly pleasant thanks to minimal vibrations and no buzzing internal-combustion engine to disturb the trip. 

Regenerative braking uses the inertia of the vehicle while coasting to put charge back in the battery. Commonly referred to as one-pedal driving, it reduces the frequency the brake pedal must be depressed, helping to reduce the driving task. I use regen braking consistently while driving the stop-and-go streets around my home in Chicago.

The C40 Recharge has decent driving range. However, your needs for your typical driving pattern must be considered in determining if a battery-electric vehicle (BEV) is right for you. Charging is all important. Personally, I recommend the installation of a Level 2 charger at your residence. It’s key to a good ownership experience. If you live in a cold climate it is best to be able to garage a BEV.

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Also note charging times are dependent on factors such as outdoor temperature, current battery temperature, charging equipment, battery condition and car condition.

There are more and more new pure-electric battery-powered vehicles coming on the market. It’s quite the norm that all perform and drive very well. Driving ranges vary and driving conditions plays a big role in that. Over the next few years public charging infrastructure should improve and become more widespread and convenient. Bide your time!

The future is electric. Happy motoring!

© 2023 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy