Categories: Tests

Volvo C40 Twin Charge test: an electric car cut out for the road?

Volvo continues its path towards the complete electrification of its vehicles with the release at the beginning of the year of its new 100% electric Crossover, the C40. This model, presented in 2021 by the Swedish manufacturer, is an introduction to the electric future of the brand. Established in the premium electric SUV marketthe C40 is up against big opponents such as the Audi Q4 e-tron, Mercedes EQA and Tesla Model Y.

A design close to the XC40

Very close to the design of the XC40, the Volvo C40 sports some stylistic novelties. On the outside, we note the presence of this unique grille at Volvo, painted blue. She is accompanied by new LED headlights. At the rear, the cut roofline accentuates the crossover style of the vehicle. The rear face is more elaborate than that of the XC40, again with new LED headlights. The C40 will feature 19 inch or 20 inch rimsspecially designed for this electric version.

Inside, the cabin is unique to Volvo models. Well finished and quality, however, we regret a flagrant lack of modernity compared to competing models. We find a 12.3-inch vertical screen which disappoints a bit. Not modern enough and too small compared to other vehicles on the market, it is distinguished by a very responsive infotainment system, managed by the Google interface. Systems Apple Car Play and Android Auto are also installed on board. Behind the steering wheel is a 9 inch digital screen which will display battery power usage and navigation.

The C40 will be equipped, from the entry level, with a sunroof which will allow to give more brightness on board. It is also the first Volvo model whose interior does not contain any animal leather elements. If the intention is good, the result is failed. The blue carpet on the inner doors is not up to the standard of the car and its price.

The C40 also offers a 413 liter trunk volume in standard configuration. Another storage space of 31 liters is available at the front, in which a travel bag fits very easily.

New technologies for electrical use

The Volvo C40 features the latest technological innovations from the Swedish brand. First, the infotainment system will be equipped with the Google interface. You can thus plan your trips with Google Maps. The GPS will display available routes, as well as the number of refills needed on the course and percentage of battery remaining during each stage. Enough to consider long journeys with serenity. For a motorway trip, the terminals of the Ionity consortium will for example be automatically displayed, but you can also decide to go to other charging stations.

Other technology to report, le One Pedal Drive. This system, which is increasingly used on electric vehicles, makes it possible to regenerate the battery when you release the accelerator pedal. The car drives like this with just the right pedal. On the Volvo C40, the One Pedal Drive system will slow the vehicle to a complete stop. Sensitive, it will be necessary to take care not to release the accelerator too suddenly. If this system is mainly intended to save energy in the cityit is also very effective on motorways, in downhill areas.

A breathtaking engine

The C40 has a 78 kWh battery that delivers 408hp and 660 Nm of torque

, all associated with a four-wheel drive transmission. Power that will have you glued to the seat with every acceleration. Something to impress drivers the less knowledgeable. the 0 to 100 km/h is reached in less than 5 seconds. A great performance for a vehicle that weighs almost 2.2 tons.

Fortunately, Volvo has been offering a much wiser version since the beginning of the year with a two-wheel drive transmission at the front with an output of 231hp and 330Nm of torque.

The battery can be recharged in 35-40 minutes on fast terminals and up to 8 a.m. on a standard home socket.

Volvo C40, an electric car that knows how to travel

Regarding the first impressions of driving, we see the very frank accelerations of the C40. The 660 Nm of torque are felt on every acceleration, which sometimes spoils the comfort on board. It will therefore be necessary to be very flexible on the accelerator pedal to avoid too much inconvenience passengers. The C40 also shows not very dynamic and quite heavy on small roads with bends. A defect that quickly disappears thanks to the available traction, but the 2.2 tons of the vehicle are still well felt.

It is of course on expressways that the C40 is most at ease. Quiet and very smooth to drive, it is very pleasant on the highway.

An autonomy that leaves us hungry

This is ultimately where the Volvo C40 disappoints the most. L’autonomy is too low to take full advantage of this SUV. In town, the C40 will be fuel efficient, especially thanks to the One Pedal Drive system. But as soon as the vehicle is launched on an expressway or motorway, the battery drains quickly. Even more if you use the air conditioning.

Arrived at 130 km / h, this mastodon of more than 2 tons pulls too much on the battery to be able to travel over long distances. The C40’s autonomy on the highway is around the 270-290 kilometers. That’s weak, too weak even for a high-end electric vehicle. Especially since its American competitor, the Tesla Model Y, travels for its part more than 420 kilometers on the highway. Enough to completely drop the C40.

Too high a price?

Regarding prices, the C40 is available for purchase from €46,800 for the 231hp Recharge version with the Start finish. For our test model, i.e. the 408hp Twin Charge Ultimate version, it will take at least 64,300 €. A fairly high price for the Twin Charge version, since it is very similar to that of the Tesla Model Y (€64,990), with less good on-board services and less autonomy.

The Volvo C40 is overall a good car, but we regret that Volvo was content with a few modifications for its first 100% electric model. If this SUV leaves us a little unsatisfied, the Swedish brand suggests good prospects for its next electric models.

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