2022 Volvo C40 electric SUV revealed: price, specs and release date
All-electric Volvo C40 SUV-coupe can cover 261 miles between charges and will only be available online...
On sale: Early 2022 | Price from: £50,000 (est)
Whether or not your style is more Lövbacken than Lack, or whether you see yourself enjoying the Pax or the Poäng, there’s little denying that us Brits love Scandanavian design. Even when lockdown meant that we couldn’t browse the hallowed halls of Ikea in person, the Swedish furniture giant reported that online sales surged by 31% compared with the previous year.
Volvo, too, has earned a reputation for sleek yet functional design. But if the brand’s current offerings could be described as Scandi-cool, this new Volvo C40 is positively Arctic.
From the front, it may look similar to the recently launched XC40 Recharge electric family SUV, but step around to the side and you’ll see that that car’s bluff, muscular rear end has given way to something far more svelte and coupé-like.
With dimensions that make it longer than the XC40 and with a lower roofline, the C40 is an all-electric model that will face rivals including the Audi E-tron Sportback and Jaguar I-Pace. It has two electric motors, one for each axle, and they draw their power from the same 78kWh battery pack as is fitted to the XC40 Recharge. Together, those motors produce 402bhp, which is enough to catapult the C40 to 62mph in 4.9 sec and on to a top speed of 112mph.
Where the C40 comes up a little short compared with the competition is on range; while it can travel up to 261 miles between charges according to the official WLTP tests, its closest rivals can all travel farther. Volvo says the C40’s range could improve over time, thanks to over-the-air software updates designed to help squeeze every last drop of juice from the battery, but the competition also offers these.
For now, charging the C40’s battery to 80% of capacity – enough for around 200 miles of range – takes 40 minutes if you can find a charger capable of supplying 150kw, or eight hours if you use a wallbox charger instead.
We’re yet to see inside the Volvo C40, but we do know its interior will be based heavily on that of the XC40 Recharge (pictured below). And that’s no bad thing, because the driving position and interior quality of that car are excellent.
The C40 also shares the XC40’s Android-based infotainment system, which is presented on a tablet-style 9.0in screen. We’ve had mixed experience with this system, though; while the idea of swiping and pinching the screen to navigate the functions – just like you do with your phone – sounds ideal, it’s more distracting to use on the move than a system that uses a separate rotary controller, such as BMW’s iDrive. Volvo’s system has numerous small icons and sub-menus to master, too, which adds extra complication when you’re driving.
Eco-minded buyers might appreciate that the C40 features Volvo’s first leather-free interior, and while we’re yet to see them, a range of colour and trim options is promised, providing scope to personalise the car to individual taste. Meanwhile, when it comes to boot space there’s less than in the XC40 Recharge and than in most rivals, although a family’s typical holiday luggage shouldn’t pose a problem.
The way you buy a C40 will be different than with most cars, because – for the time being at least – it will be sold only online. However you choose to pay for your XC40 (more on that later), your road to driving a C40 will begin with the click of a mouse rather than a call to your local dealer. And while showrooms are likely to help organise test drives, much of your C40 buying experience will take place online – which means that haggling on the price could become difficult.
Volvo officials say that take-up of its all-inclusive Care By Volvo subscription scheme – where buyers pay a monthly fee that covers the cost of the car plus servicing, breakdown assistance and even insurance – has been strong in the UK, particular with younger buyers. Indeed, the average age of a Care By Volvo buyer is a full decade younger than the average car buyer.
Under the scheme, C40 prices are expected to start at around £650 per month if you choose a fixed three-year contract, or around £750 per month for a rolling three-month contract. By comparison, an I-Pace on a four-year PCP deal costs from £712 per month, although bear in mind that a PCP deal does not include the extras that Care By Volvo does. If you do manage to buy the C40 outright, expect to pay around £50,000 – less than most rivals. It's also worth noting that if any version of the C40 ends up costing less than £50,000 overall, that model will become eligible for the government's £3000 grant for electric vehicles.
While equipment on the C40 is likely to be plentiful – the XC40 Recharge comes with adaptive cruise control, 20in alloy wheels and heated front and rear seats, for example – the options list is expected to be very small, because Care by Volvo buyers are effectively buying C40s that are already in stock, rather than ordering an example built to a bespoke specification.
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