2024 Volvo C40 Recharge

As long as you don't need to lean on public charging infrastructure, there's a lot to like about the C40 Recharge
As long as you don't need to lean on public charging infrastructure, there's a lot to like about the C40 Recharge

by Imran Salam | March 20, 2024


The one word that kept coming into my mind, as I put the 2024 Volvo C40 Recharge through its paces, was “easy”. There’s just something easy about daily-driving an EV like the C40. Well, mostly easy, save for one frustrating experience. More on that later.

Volvo has electrified their entire lineup in some way shape or form, starting with their mild hybrids that use a 48-volt battery to store energy recovered from braking, to plug-in hybrids, to fully electric vehicles like this C40.  I’m not sure of another (legacy) manufacturer that has committed themselves to electrification the way Volvo has, so clearly, it’s important they get the formula right. Something like the C40 isn’t meant to just be a compliance car.

Making the transition to electric easier, Volvo hasn’t done anything crazy inside or out to denote that the C40 is electric. Aside from a flat grille and the lack of exhaust tips, you’d otherwise have no clue the C40 is all-electric. Heck, even the charge port is out back and is in the exact spot you’d expect a gas cap to be. The chunky 20-inch wheels are traditionally attractive — no wind cheating turbine wheels here — plus the entire profile is what you’d expect from a compact crossover and the entire look is quintessentially Volvo, from the standard “Thor’s Hammer” LED headlights to the tail lights running up along the sides of the hatch. Most onlookers will think the C40 is just a regular Volvo, and I like that. I’m in the camp that believes an electric vehicle doesn’t need to shout about it, and this traditionally handsome C40 fits the bill.

The C40’s interior keeps on with tradition but adds a dash of uniqueness to keep things fresh. There’s no leather here; the C40’s seats are upholstered in a warm and inviting “wool blend” woven fabric reminiscent of your family room couch. The 13-inch inch digital gauge cluster that is simple yet clean, displaying only the information you really need. The portrait-oriented, nine-inch infotainment touchscreen is a tad small, doesn’t use that extra real estate well, and the Google software feels like a tablet from 2014, but it’s still easy to navigate and mostly responsive. You get some physical climate and audio controls —thank goodness there’s still a physical volume knob — but most are on the screen, though the climate controls are displayed at all times. Unfortunately, you can’t spec Volvo’s fantastic Bowers & Wilkins audio system on the C40, but the Harman Kardon system is still a solid offering.

Beyond that, the classy crystal shift lever appears here as it does in many other Volvos these days, adding a bit of pizazz to an otherwise simple cabin. The ambient lighting is unique, looking like textured plastic during the day but lighting up in what I’d describe as the moon’s surface at night. It’s a interesting blend of shapes and greyish beige shades, and much more unique than the sharp LED lighting you’d see from other luxury marques.

The C40’s ride is surprisingly sporty. It feels tuned more towards sportiness than comfort overall, but well within reason. I wasn’t expecting this, especially coming out of the V90 Cross Country, which I found to be far too soft. The dual-motor (or Recharge Twin, in Volvo-speak) powertrain is strong and silent, offering up 402 horsepower and a stout 494 pound-feet of torque split across all four wheels. Wind and road noise are pretty well-controlled, although I wouldn’t say it’s luxury car quiet with the occasional thump reverberating through the cabin. Overall, the C40 inspires confidence and never felt lacking in power. It’s powerful enough to give your passenger that freight-train feeling, although it does run out of steam as you get up there in speed.

One thing Volvo can’t seem to nail is steering feel. There is virtually none in most modern Volvos, and this C40 is no exception. It’s simply too light, even when you engage the “steering feel firm” setting, but it’s the only thing that lets me down because the rest of the chassis tuning is on point. Here’s hoping a software update can address that.

A bigger miss is range anxiety. It’s still a thing and the C40 won’t be challenging the status quo here. At best, the C40 is rated at 414 kilometres of range with its 82 kWh battery, although in the chilly temperatures during my time with it, the C40’s on-board computer showed a disappointing-but-not-surprising 290 km, as the cold weather tax on electric vehicle range is universal. I’m also going to soap-box-rant about charging: if you don’t have a Level 2 charger at home or at the office, you’ll hate relying on public charging. It’s a mishmash of different companies offering different rates and costs, forcing you to use various apps and loading up virtual wallets, limited availability, and some stations not working at all.

It’s an abysmal experience that would keep me from adding an EV to my fleet until it’s properly addressed, and gives me zero faith in Canada reaching their 2035 EV goals — but I’m not complaining about that. In all fairness, these qualms aren’t limited to just Volvo, but I will give Tesla credit for opening up their Supercharger network and look forward to more manufacturers adopting their charge port design.

Outside of relying on public charghing infrastructure, the 2024 Volvo C40 Recharge was a pleasure to live with. It’s right-sized, zippy around town, handsome on the outside, and comfortable and non-distracting inside. There’s a calm and easy demeanor to the C40 that you can’t help but appreciate. At $79,089 as-tested, it isn’t cheap, but there’s certainly a lot to like here.


Vehicle Specs
Electric crossover
Engine Size
Dual electric motors w/ 78 kWh battery
Horsepower (at RPM)
402 hp
Torque (lb-ft.)
494 lb-ft of torque
Fuel Efficiency (L/100km, City/Highway/Combined)
Observed Fuel Efficiency (L/100km)
Cargo Capacity (in L)
404/1,205 L (seats up/down)
Base Price (CAD)
As-Tested Price (CAD)
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About Imran Salam

Staff Writer

Imran is a true enthusiast who you'll find at shows, local meets, Sunday drives or the track. He appreciates the variety the car industry has to offer, having owned over a dozen cars from different manufacturers. Imran is grateful to own one of his childhood poster cars and enjoys inspiring the next generation. When Imran is not behind wheel he is found playing basketball or spending time with family.

Current Toys: '13 Boxster S 6MT, '24 Integra Type S, '08 328xi