2022 Volvo C40 Recharge presents a sleeker take on the XC40 Recharge

SUVs are proving to be so popular these days that they all seem to be spawning coupe-like variants that are SUVs, just less practical. The Volvo XC40 Recharge is the latest to procreate, with the Volvo C40 Recharge set to debut as a 2022 model early next year. The last time that Volvo used the […]

SUVs are proving to be so popular these days that they all seem to be spawning coupe-like variants that are SUVs, just less practical. The Volvo XC40 Recharge is the latest to procreate, with the Volvo C40 Recharge set to debut as a 2022 model early next year.

The last time that Volvo used the “C” designation was back in 2013, for a pair of two-doors, the C30 (a funky little hatchback) and the C70 (a convertible). The C40 Recharge is instead a four-door electric crossover, though it does have some funkyness of its own that was on full display when I got to get a close look at it last week in Los Angeles.

The powertrain will be shared with the XC40 Recharge—and its cousin, the Polestar 2. Its dual electric motors produce a combined 402 hp and 486 lb-ft of torque and deliver all-wheel drive. There’s also the same 78-kWh battery that gives the XC40 Recharge 208 miles of EPA estimated range, and Volvo predicts that the C40 Recharge will come in slightly above that thanks to aerodynamic improvements. It will also offer 150-kw CCS-format DC fast charging that can charge the battery up to 80% in about 40 minutes.

2022 Volvo C40 Recharge

2022 Volvo C40 Recharge

2022 Volvo C40 Recharge

2022 Volvo C40 Recharge

2022 Volvo C40 Recharge

2022 Volvo C40 Recharge

2022 Volvo C40 Recharge

2022 Volvo C40 Recharge

Approaching the C40 Recharge, it certainly has a different feel to it than its more upright sibling. We suspected that the C40 Recharge may ride a bit lower, given its profile and positioning as the sportier offering of the pair. But, Volvo instead tells us that the ride height will be exactly the same, as is the C40 Recharge’s wheelbase and 174 inches of overall length. Below the windows, the two vehicles are practically identical. It’s above that where things change dramatically.

The roofline seems to hit the B-pillar and then instead of continuing on flatly, takes a dive down to the beltline. Following that dip are the taillights, which run up the sides of the C40 Recharge in a dramatic S-shape. A small spoiler has been added, along with a pair of air deflectors on the back of the roof that serve the dual purpose of running air down under the spoiler and covering up the liftgate hinges, which have been repositioned to the top. It gives the C40 Recharge more of a boy-racer look than the more staid XC40.

One of our largest concerns after seeing the initial photos of the C40 Recharge was the effect that sloped roofline would have on backseat headroom. It does cut down the amount of backseat headroom by a couple of inches, but at 5’11”, I still noted a few inches between the top of my head and the headliner because the seats sit about an inch lower in the C40 Recharge than they do the XC40 Recharge. The other advantage the C40 Recharge enjoys is a giant standard glass roof, which makes the cabin feel airier, even though there’s less headspace. 

2022 Volvo C40 Recharge

2022 Volvo C40 Recharge

2022 Volvo C40 Recharge

2022 Volvo C40 Recharge

2022 Volvo C40 Recharge

2022 Volvo C40 Recharge

The vehicle I saw popped with its Fjord Blue paint and that color continued its way into the interior, where the carpets and cloth finishes inside the doors are also adorned in that color. This is Volvo’s first leather-free interior, the seat upholstery feels like alcantara but it’s all synthetic. The carpet is made of 100 percent recycled PET plastic bottles and the topographical trim pieces (based on Abisko National Park in Sweden) are partly made of recycled plastic as well.

Official cargo specs were not available, but Volvo did confirm that it would be less in the C40 Recharge than the XC40 Recharge’s 21.7 cubic feet. From the beltline down, the cargo areas are identical but you do lose some vertical storage space due to the taper of the liftgate. The small storage cubby under the hood is identical, offering enough space to store the charging cables or other small items.

2022 Volvo C40 Recharge

2022 Volvo C40 Recharge

Volvo also previously stated that the C40 Recharge would mark the beginning of a transition to an online purchase process with “transparent and set pricing models” and that the EVs would technically be available for actual purchase and payment online only. That doesn’t appear to be the case anymore. Volvo representatives we spoke to said that the buying process in the United States, which remains an outlier in this regard, would remain conventional and less centralized than previous announcements would indicate. 

The C40 Recharge is slated to arrive in early 2022.