2023 Volvo C40 Recharge Twin Ultimate Review

Sacrifices made in the name of style

Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief

Positives: Quick acceleration from the Twin Motor model, trendy exterior look, thoughtfully designed cabin.
Negatives: Less cargo space than in the XC40 Recharge, infotainment interface looks like it's in beta mode, driving range is shorter than some rivals'
Bottom Line: The C40's fastback roofline looks slick, but when compared to its squareback XC40 sibling it's missing some substance.
Take one look at the electric-only C40, and you'd never think it's pretty much identical to the XC40 Recharge but with a chopped roof. It looks so different, in fact, that it doesn't seem to take the same path as vehicles like the VW Atlas Cross Sport despite the same approach. As you guessed, cargo capacity drops from 57.5 cubic feet to 49 cubic feet. What's gained is a more athletic look, but it doesn't get any lighter, unfortunately. The C40 Recharge has the same 402-hp powertrain that consists of two electric motors and a battery that's good for 293 miles of range. It also provides standard safety features such as one-pedal driving and the Pilot Assist semi-autonomous driving mode. We drove it in top Twin Ultimate trim. Read on for our full review.

Driving Experience



The C40 Recharge's two electric motors move it with authority, and it's almost alarming because you don't quite expect it. Just don't try to hustle it into curves because it's heavy, and you feel when the roads get twisty.

Ride Quality: The ride is pretty accommodating over rough surfaces but not mushy. The car feels solid and composed.

Acceleration: The two electric motors rocket the C40 Recharge from 0 to 60 mph in a quick 4.7 seconds. Torque is immediate, and the single-speed transmission does it smoothly.

Braking: The brakes provide for excellent one-pedal driving. There's not much feel to them, but they are strong.

Steering: The C40 Recharge's steering is responsive and precise but, like most EVs, there's pretty much no feedback. There is a modicum of effort, which is nice. It's not uncommon for most EVs to feel this way.

Handling: The body roll is controlled, but the C40 Recharge definitely feels heavy in the turns.




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Infotainment System: The 12.3" digital gauge cluster is crisp and uncluttered, making it very easy to read. The 9" touchscreen looks good and can be read in bright sunlight. We still have issues navigating the menus, but overall it's better than the Sensus.

Controls: Vehicle controls like climate, infotainment, etc. are operated solely through the touchscreen, which can be frustrating. It's a good thing there are physical audio controls and great steering wheel buttons.




The C40 looks great, and we think it's a more attractive looking vehicle than the XC40 upon which it's based. It looks properly chunky, a bit angry, and truly special with the Fjord Blue paint and the five-blade wheels. The inside is stunning, just like the rest of the Volvo lineup.

Front: The solid grille retains the signature Volvo shape without the slats for ventilation. The front end is blocky but in a really good way. Volvo has found a way to make its EVs different without being weird.

Rear: The back end is the one aspect that's completely different from the XC40 stablemate. The C40 gets a twin bubble style roof spoiler, its own taillights that still retain the classic Volvo shape but with thinner housings, and twin slit lights that fit into the large liftgate crease.

Profile: The chopped roofline has a nice slope, and the chunky C-pillar is a fresh touch. We love the deep sculpting at the base of the doors and the excellent wheel style.

Cabin: Volvo makes some of the nicest interiors in the auto industry, and our C40 Recharge added a stunning blue interior. There are some excellent styling details like thin bladed HVAC vents, textured metal trim, and stunning suede insert seats.




The XC40 is a very roomy and comfortable vehicle for its size, and despite the smaller back end, the two rows of seating are great. Volvo makes some of the best interiors in the industry, and the C40 Recharge doesn't disappoint.

Front Seats: We loved the seats with their near-perfect cushioning and bolstering. The suede inserts are soft and grippy.

Rear Seats: The seats in back are comfy and accommodating. Even the middle position is comfortable since the cushion and seatback don't protrude too much. 1st-row headroom is actually greater in the C40, but it loses a few inches in the 2nd row.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The C40 Recharge is well-built and exhibits no errant noises in the cabin. It's also quiet at highway speeds with some minor tire noise.

Visibility: With the exception of the rear side view's thick C-pillars, the overall view is very good from the driver's seat.

Climate: Volvo's climate system is excellent. Heat fires up quickly, and there's plenty of airflow. This is a great vehicle for cold Chicago winters. AC is also very cold.




Vehicles don't get much safer than this. The C40 Recharge got the highest marks in crash testing, and the list of standard safety technology is as long as your arm. It's a vehicle that should be at the top of families' lists when it comes to peace of mind on the road.

IIHS Rating: The C40 Recharge model earned the highest score, Top Safety Pick+, nailing every category.

NHTSA Rating: Not tested.

Standard Tech: The list is truly expansive and includes Blind Spot Information System w/ Steer Assist and Cross Traffic Alert w/ Autobrake, Collision Avoidance: Low/High-Speed Collision Mitigation, Detects Vehicle/Pedestrian/Cyclist; Driver Alert Control, Automatic Braking After Collision, Run-Off Road Mitigation, and Lane Departure Warning. There's also standard Adaptive Cruise Control.

Optional Tech: None.




As attractive as the C40's cabin is, there's not a whole lot in the way of small item storage. The cargo area is flat and easy to load, but it's pretty small compared to competitors and its own XC40 sibling.

Storage Space: We like the center open cubby and the armrest. Door pockets are decent. There's really nothing located in the dash that provides accessible small item storage.

Cargo Room: The C40 Recharge is quite a bit smaller in the back than the XC40, which wasn't huge to begin with. The C40 drops 21.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind its rear seats to 15 cubes and from 57.5 cubic feet to 49 cubes with the second-row seats folded flat.

Fuel Economy



As with any EV, efficiency is really impressive. The C40 Recharge lacks the range of competitors, but it does provide way better than average efficiency when compared to gas or even PHEV hybrid vehicles. We drove the C40 less conservatively, so the EPA 85 mpg combined for this vehicle was not reached during our test.

Observed: 65 mpg.

Distance Driven: 163 miles.




Our Twin Ultimate trim is the tops for this model, and it comes standard with a premium Harman Kardon system that's superb. Combined with great audio adjustability and sound modes, it really sings. We loved cranking it and didn't experience any distortion. Bass was strong, and clarity was top-notch.

Final Thoughts

The C40 Recharge loses practicality in the name of style, and that's not a bad thing when it looks this good. In fact, the C40 doesn't quite look like anything else on the road, and we really enjoyed our time in it. It's less realistic for families than the XC40 because it loses rear headroom and quite a bit of cargo space. It's a stylish alternative that's just as safe as the XC40. If you can do without the range and the extra space, it's a great choice.

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