The Volvo C40 Recharge Electric Pure, put to the test

It is the least expensive of the electric SUVs of its kind that can offer so much power, equipment, or exclusivity. It is the first Volvo that was born as pure electric and in which it is already appreciated that the Swedish brand has put, and in what way, the batteries.

Volvo’s second 100 percent electric delivery in recent months. If the first was precisely the XC40, its donor, now it is the turn of a striking and very elegant couperized body that once again takes up the C designation in the brand. Same wickers – CMA architecture, the brand’s “little” one – same components as the Twin Recharge Pure Electric version, but months apart that have allowed the C40 to be tuned almost, almost to perfection.

I was critical of certain aspects of that XC40 Pure Electric Recharge that we tested for the first time even though the mask was mandatory, with an overflowing power that did not fit at all with the philosophy and set-up of the car, and also with an energy consumption well by above what is expected. These months seem to have been enough for Volvo to review and readjust parameters for a car that will be exclusively electric. Now the C40 shows that Volvo is serious about electrification. It can be booked online —exclusively sold through this channel— although the first deliveries will not be made until the first quarter of next year.

VOLVO C40 RECHARGE PURE ELECTRIC: GOOD DESIGN, MINIMAL LOSS OF FUNCTIONALITY

Although it is 69 mm lower than the XC40, the difference is not in the chassis but the new descending line of the roof, a visual element that, together with the rear deflectors, a small spoiler and a few light clusters with a runway effect – extend up to the roof – they make the Volvo C40 have a very high visual impact and turn out to be a sleek, dynamic and very elegant car – the small rear window does subtract some visibility -.

All C40s come with a panoramic roof as standard and have almost the same capacity as an equivalent XC40. As is logical, it costs a little more to access the rear seats due to the descending shape of the roof and although there is a significant reduction in the free height in these seats, the interior habitability is still optimal; it does not vary the width or the leg space.

It retains the 31-liter front “frunk” – ideal for cargo cables –  while the boot hardly loses capacity:  413 liters , little in absolute value but comparatively better than many of its competitors. Inside, Volvo environment, betting on a false simplicity in handling – we have to continue looking for many functions in the infotainment system menus -, qualities with the usual standard and indisputable Premium environment even when Volvo stops using from this model natural leathers in favor of synthetic fabrics.

Volvo C40 Recharge

Of course, the icing on the cake is the integration of the Google ecosystem in navigation, being able to configure the particular account in the multimedia system and register profiles, routes, etc. Navigation also includes an application for estimating autonomy to destination, charging points, and their occupation in real-time. In short, it is like synthesizing the best applications of the smartphone in the car’s system, being, without a doubt, an unbeatable assistant and navigation system. By the way, the calculation of autonomy at the destination, even programming routes of more than a hundred kilometers, has been absolutely precise, which is especially practical when programming any type of displacement.

VOLVO C40 RECHARGE PURE ELECTRIC: MORE “ELECTRIC” THAN THE EQUIVALENT XC40

Volvo updates multimedia and software of its cars via the cloud, remotely, so I imagine that many of the improvements and evolutions that we have noticed in the C40 will end up arriving, if they have not already, to the XC40 SUV. One of the main differences that I have asked to feel clear is more gradual acceleration management, to the point that the front end no longer collapses when you accelerate suddenly with the steering wheel slightly turned – with the XC40, the front end reacted very abruptly to the mechanical stake.

I would bet that the parameters of the driving assistants have also been revised, being much less intrusive but just as effective – practically 50% of the route has been raining or with wet ground – or that the suspension is also – or at least, It seems so to me— somewhat less flexible than the equivalent XC40, although rolling comfort is still one of the main values ​​of this car.

Volvo C40 Recharge

As I was saying, although technically it is the same as the equivalent XC40, I think that being an exclusively electric car implies a better integration and overall tuning of the car. Regarding aspects already mentioned, also mention a better brake pedal feel. I also find that energy recovery management and One Pedal mode operation is better accomplished – we miss a faster means of accessing this function – especially in those transitions where very little pedal travel is used. -Urban use- or the foot is lifted abruptly from the accelerator -the retention is still very intense, but more gradual, affecting less to the comfort of the passengers-.

Detail by detail, the C40 already leaves the flag very high both in terms of dynamics and performance, pleasure or touch. Silence and isolation, refinement, high lateral grip, very well controlled body oscillations, steering with a very natural return. A magnificent wheeler. 

ITS CONSUMPTION

Another aspect that seemed to me to improve the equivalent XC40 is that its consumption was somewhat high during contact; In this case, moving even with less favorable outside temperatures —without exceeding the genetic speed of the different routes but being little careful to get to them—, I have remained at figures of between 20.5 and 22.5 kWh per 100 km – announces 22 kWh / 100 km—, arriving in all cases —programmed trips in the navigator of more than one hundred kilometers— with the autonomy indicated at the time of starting the journey. With such records, I think it is feasible to reach an average range of 360 per battery charge of the 444 km finally confirmed by the brand —24 km more than initially declared due to the final updates.

Volvo C40 Recharge interior

The two engines continue to offer enormous and instantaneous power and make the C40 a very fast car thanks to its 408 global hp, so much so that it leaves a new balance point in the range with less power and a little more autonomy. At the moment, the brand does not confirm another new variant as it did not with the XC40, which already offers a version with a single-engine, 231 hp, and somewhat smaller batteries for a range of around 400 km.

As is customary for the brand, the equipment is impressive in terms of comfort elements and more especially in active and passive safety, leaving minimal customization details as an option. The battery is guaranteed to 8 years of life at 160,000 km. As I said, you can purchase the C40 Recharge Eléctrico Puro online although you will have to formalize the purchase at the indicated dealer. There is only one version with prices that range between 54,167 euros if you pay in cash, 56,100 euros if you buy it together with a maintenance package and comprehensive insurance for three years, or 53,000 euros if you finance it. Premium prices that, however, are the most competitive among their peers.

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