New Volvo C40 Recharge vs Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron: costs

With their curvaceous roofs and electric power, these coupé-like SUVs are the height of fashion. Let’s see which one will have us singing its praises the loudest...

New Volvo C40 Recharge side panning

Buying and owning

Costs, equipment, reliability, safety and security

If your preference is to buy outright, both of our contenders are closely matched, with just £495 separating them on list price. And this price gap remains consistent in the long term. The Volvo C40 Recharge, for example, will cost more in electricity (due to its poorer efficiency) and sits in a higher insurance group, but its slower rate of depreciation and cheaper servicing costs ensure that it will be around £500 cheaper to run over three years. 

Surprisingly, there’s no PCP finance option on the C40. Instead, you have to opt into the ‘Care by Volvo’ subscription service. The monthly payments cover servicing, routine maintenance, tyres and roadside assistance, and you can choose Volvo’s insurance or take out your own. There’s no deposit to pay, but it’ll cost you £739 per month with a 10,000-mile annual allowance and a fixed loan period of 36 months.

The downside is that you can’t buy the C40 at the end of the term, but many ‘buyers’ will no doubt appreciate the simplicity of the service. And despite coming with all those useful extras, the C40 still undercuts the Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron on a more traditional PCP scheme. Assuming you put down a £6000 deposit on a 36-month PCP deal with a 10,000-mile annual limit, the Q4 will cost you £840 a month.

Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron side panning

On top of that, the Q4 isn’t as well equipped, so you’ll probably want to add a few options. Both cars, for example, get heated front seats and powerful LED headlights, but if you want adaptive cruise control on the Q4, you’ll need to fork out £1295 for the Comfort and Sound Pack. We’d also recommend specifying the £950 heat pump.

Standard on the C40, a heat pump is a device that heats and cools the interior more efficiently, in turn reducing the climate control’s impact on the car’s range. 

As is the case with all electric cars, these SUVs are incredibly cheap options if you’re a company car driver paying benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax. Assuming you’re in the 40% tax bracket, you’ll need to sacrifice just £37 of your salary each month (until at least April 2024) to put either of our contenders on your driveway.

Volvo C40 Recharge vs Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron costs

As for charging, both cars are pretty evenly matched, with the Q4 accepting a rate of up to 135kW and the C40 150kW. If you can find a public charger capable of delivering that sort of power, a 10-80% charge will take 33 minutes in the Q4 and 32 minutes in the C40. That might sound reasonably quick, but it’s worth pointing out the cheaper Kia EV6 (our 2022 Car of the Year) can charge at up to 235kW and shave around 15 minutes off the same top-up.

Both the C40 and Q4 were awarded the full five stars when tested by EuroNCAP for safety. Even so, it's hard to compare the two as the C40 was tested more recently than the Q4 and the tests have become more stringent, meaning that the C40 may possibly keep you safer in an accident. 

Regardless, both cars will keep you safe, each coming with lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking and traffic sign recognition as standard. On top of that, the C40 also gets features such as rear cross-traffic alert, which stops you from reversing into the path of approaching vehicles. This is available on the Q4 as part of the £1075 Safety Package Plus.

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