Weekend Wheels: Volvo’s 2022 C40 Recharge is all plug ‘n play

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If looks could thrill: This all-electric fastback four-door is a pretty big deal.

Remember as a kid that grin-inducing sensation you had from riding a roller-coaster and feeling that slingshot of acceleration as the car surged away?

OK, throw your arms in the air and repeat after me: Wheeeee! 

Take a drive in Volvo’s brand new, all-electric C40 Recharge crossover-coupe, stomp on the accelerator when red light turns to green, and it’s exactly the same feeling. Only better.

With 408 horsepower and 487 pound-feet of torque being delivered with the immediacy of flicking a light switch, this new C40 can catapult from standstill to 60mph in a mere 4.5 seconds.

In the words of that famous Swedish musical quartet ABBA: Mamma Mia!

This super-cute, fastback four-door is a pretty big deal for the folks at Volvo. It’s their first vehicle to be designed to be all-electric.

It’s also their first entry into the design-focused crossover-coupe market. And, it’s the first Volvo where leather upholstery isn’t even on the options list. 

This is Volvo starting its countdown to 2030, when each and every new model will come with a plug in place of a gas cap.

No, it’s not the first electric Volvo. That accolade goes to the SUV-bodied XC40 Recharge. But with that, you can also get it with a 2-liter turbo gas engine. The C40 is electric-only. 

With this Belgian-built coupe, it’s all about standing out from the crowd, and looking cool while being earth-friendly and eco-conscious. 

Below the waistline it’s all XC40, but with the addition of a front grille blockout panel and huge 20-inch, aero-style alloys.

But like Dolly Parton, it’s above the waist that causes heads to spin. That roofline swoop starts at the base of the raked-back windshield and flows in one sweeping arc to the spoilered rear end with its stunning LED taillights.

And don’t you just love that Fjord Blue metallic paintwork — unique to the C40 — that really looks like the deep blue waters in one of Sweden’s fjords? 

Inside, Volvo is making a big deal of its eco-friendly, non-leather interior which uses an impressive amount of recycled plastic. A mountain of plastic bottles are recycled to create the carpeting and suede-like seat centers. The floor mats? They’re made from old fishing nets.

There’s room for five inside, with plenty of legroom and shoulder room, though that swoopy roofline does restrict headroom in the back seat. In typical Volvo style, the quality and fit and finish of the cabin are superb.

For the all-important electric part, the C40 gets a 150kW electric motor  on each axle, to provide all-wheel drive, with a big 78 kWh battery pack delivering around 225 miles of range.

It makes this racy-looking Volvo an absolute blast to drive. In addition to that grin-inducing off-the-line acceleration, mid-range response for passing slower traffic is equally thrilling.

And the C40 delivers its electrifying performance in near complete silence, with only the muted roar of the tires in the background. 

Increasing the C40’s fun-factor is its “one-pedal” mode. Using the car’s regenerative braking systems, you can slow the car, or even bring it to a complete stop, just by lifting off the accelerator and not touching the brake pedal. 

Other electric cars offer the same feature, but somehow Volvo has perfected the system, making it smoother and more intuitive. 

In keeping with the C40’s sporty character, it steers precisely, zips around curves as if on rails, and generally feels super-nimble and athletic.

The driving joy is also enhanced through Volvo’s partnership with Google for everything from navigation, to music, to phone. It’s as easy as saying “Hey Google.” Ask for directions, find ABBA on Spotify, or adjust the temperature. It’s the gold standard of onboard assistants.

Price-wise, the C40 Recharge starts at a competitive $59,845 including destination, though most buyers should get a $7,500 tax credit from Uncle Sam. 

For me, this new C40 has a playfulness, a boldness of design, a quality and character that’s just tough to beat. It’s a true plug and play.