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

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 rear seats

Space and practicality

Front space, rear space, seating flexibility, boot

On paper, there’s very little difference when it comes to the space on offer in the front of our contenders; both are within a couple of centimetres of each other for shoulder room, while no one is likely to find their head brushing the ceiling. And yet, due to its lower window line, minimalist console between the front seats and heavily sculpted dashboard, the Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron gives the impression of having more space.

Those in the rear will notice more of a physical difference. The Q4 not only offers significantly more knee room than the Volvo C40 Recharge but also benefits from a completely flat floor. This gives a middle passenger more foot space than in the C40, where you’re forced to straddle a sizeable hump in the floor. Head room is a closer affair, with both cars providing just enough space for six-footers.

Those low rooflines also have an impact on the height of our contenders’ boots, so if you need to carry around a four-legged member of the family, these are probably not the right SUVs for you. That said, if you’re only going to be carrying bags, not Great Danes, you’ll find that the Q4 and C40 can each swallow seven carry-on suitcases beneath their tonneau cover – the same number as in the regular Q4 and XC40.

Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron rear seats

You don’t have to worry about finding space for charging cables in either car, because the Q4 can be specified with a height-adjustable boot floor (part of the £225 Storage Package), which allows you to keep the charging cables beneath the main boot compartment, while the C40 has a small front boot (or ‘frunk’) that’s large enough for the cables and a soft overnight bag.

The rear seats don’t slide, recline or do anything particularly clever in either car, but the Q4 can be had with optional 40/20/40 split rear seatbacks (as part of an £815 pack), giving you the option of slotting something long and thin, such as a pair of skis, through the middle while still carrying a rear passenger on either side of the car. The C40 has to make do with a less convenient 60/40 split, but it does at least feature a small ski hatch. Both come with electric tailgates.

Boot space

Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron

Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron boot space

Boot 535-1460 litres Suitcases 7

Volvo C40 Recharge

New Volvo C40 Recharge boot space

Boot 489-1205 litres Suitcases 7

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