Essentially an XC40 with a sloping roofline, the C40 is also a harbinger of how Volvo plans to sell EVs going forward.
Volvo is reentering the coupe game with its new 2022 C40 Recharge, but it's not the kind of coupe you may have expected -- or maybe even hoped for. The C40 is a four-door compact crossover SUV that's basically a "coupe" version of the existing XC40 Recharge, with a sloping roofline and some interesting design details. Volvo says it's the brand's first model that has been designed as an EV from the start, and there won't be a gas-powered equivalent.
The C40's roofline is obviously the biggest differentiator compared to the more traditional SUV looks of the XC40, and I think this new model looks great. It's a continuous curve from the top of the windshield down to the edge of the hatch, where there's an integrated spoiler, and the C40 is a substantial three inches shorter than the XC40 in overall height. The rear windows are kicked up like on the regular XC40, but it actually seems like there's more lower glass area. And while there's about two inches less headroom for rear passengers in the C40, it actually offers front passengers more headroom than the XC40 does when fitted with a fixed panoramic sunroof, which is standard on the C40.
The nose of the C40 has a more angular bumper with new fog-light housings, a closed-off vestigial grille with smoother edges, and new LED headlights with pixel tech. The sculpting in the lower body sides is different from the XC40's, though there's still lots of black plastic cladding, and there are new wheel designs. My favorite design feature are the LED taillights, which extend horizontally into the hatch as well as vertically along the edges of the rear glass with a cool segmented look.
Volvo says the C40 is its first EV to have a completely leather-free interior, and it'll be available with unique color and trim options, but otherwise the inside looks largely the same as the XC40's. It's got a minimalist design with a digital gauge cluster and a large central touchscreen, and don't worry -- the C30 still has that cool felt carpeting. The C40 will use Volvo's new Android Automotive–based infotainment system, which is one of our favorites on the market and allows for over-the-air updates. And as the XC40 already has a slightly sloping hatch, the C40's total cargo volume is only slightly smaller.
The C40 Recharge's powertrain is identical to that of the XC40 Recharge. There's a 78-kWh battery pack and an electric motor at each axle, with a total output of 402 horsepower and 486 pound-feet of torque. Volvo's claimed 0-to-60-mph time of 4.7 seconds is identical to the XC40's, as is its 112-mph top speed. The EPA hasn't rated the C40 yet, with Volvo estimating a 210-mile range; the XC40 Recharge is rated by the EPA at 208 miles, and it would make sense for the sleeker C40 to get a slightly better rating. The C40 can get an 80% charge in 40 minutes when plugged into a DC fast charger.
Volvo says the C40 will be exclusively available to purchase online. Customers will get a "care package" that includes roadside assistance, service and warranty, as well as home charging tech and even insurance, if available (some states' laws make this offering problematic). Importantly, this model will still be delivered and serviced through Volvo's existing dealer network. Expect the C40 to carry a higher price than the XC40 Recharge, meaning a starting point in the neighborhood of $60,000 (before any incentives or tax credits) is likely, and the model may be only be offered in one trim level and motor configuration to reduce build complexity and simplify inventory. The C40 will go into production this fall at Volvo's plant in Ghent, Belgium, right alongside its XC40 Recharge sibling. The model is expected to go on sale in the US by the end of the year.
The C40 is part of Volvo's push to be fully electric by 2030, with the aim for half of its cars to be EVs by 2025 and the other half hybrids. Volvo says the C40 will help triple production at the Belgium plant by 2022, at which point 60% of the factory's production will be EVs. A new Volvo EV will debut every year by 2025, with the next one after the C40 set to be the next-gen XC90 SUV.