Rating |  Recharging the Volvo C40

Rating | Recharging the Volvo C40

  • Good battery performance
  • Electric power
  • Android native
  • The design of the front is normal
  • The difficulty of having a tram in Brazil
  • No mobile phone connection

In the family of successful people who commute to and from the office in Armani suits, the Volvo C40 Recharge is the member who wears vintage sneakers, a (vegan) leather jacket and a band shirt. He’s a rebel son – but he still has the DNA and the surname.

Volvo was once considered the creator of square cars – figuratively and literally, because it was one of the last companies to abandon the angular shape, ready to enter the 21st century. It has become famous for high quality and high safety: they were innovators . of the three-point seat belt in 1959. This was a time when American automakers were afraid to include seat belts, thinking customers would reject their cars if they admitted they could get into an accident.


Emotion was not Volvo’s top spot, however. Since the 2000s, the Swedish automaker has been trying to break the mold of the honorary car of the honorable judge, the honorable mayor, the boss. Today he wants to be at the forefront, making bold decisions such as stopping the sale of burning cars in Brazil. Still, the truth be told: in its current lineup, safety, space and luxury are the main thing, while the strong feeling is more for the sports subsidiary, Polestar.

Or they were: the C40 is not a gentleman’s car. It is an SUV with a strong emphasis on the letter S, sports, and less on the use of the U. In fact, with its almost fast rear, it is more of a crossover than an SUV, while its sibling, the XC40, is an SUV with a face of another range.

Volvo C40 Recharge in Hacienda Santa Ines, Mexico | Photo: Pedro Dantas/Disclosure

It is impossible to compare it with the XC40: almost everything in the C40 is above it. Including furious electric torque. They all have the same two engines, one for each axle, and 4 × 4 traction, producing the same 408 hp and reaching the same 0 to 100 km / h in 4.7 seconds. Inside, the C40’s platform is new, planned to be electric from the start, and carries some heritage from the internal combustion era, such as using more sealed wheels, as it doesn’t need to be cooled as much. But in practice, they are the same cars.

The front is fine – and not a strong point, in my opinion. It looks a lot like that of the internal combustion Volvos, with a grille covered by a strip. The electricity should show its state, leaving any feedback of the grid. All the courage of the back does not match such a normal front.

Volvo XC40 Recharge Plus

Because the back is a little show. You start the car and receive an animation with LED headlights, while the car is crashed. Although the general shape of the taillights is clearly similar to other Volvos, they have a more daring futuristic shape. The spoilers and spoilers, the glass roof, the low profile, and the general curve of the rear: all suggest something sportier than the XC40’s design. Both have a sporty spirit on the throttle, but the C40 makes it clear at first glance what it’s made of (unless viewed from the front).

I miss Sweden

Outside is sport, inside is luxury. It is a car with a spacious interior made of synthetic leather and suede, made from recycled plastic, and Volvo’s secret formula. The blue color of the suede (there are other options) is called Fjord Blue and the panel has details that resemble ice. Things that are disturbing to Swedish nature.

Recharging the Volvo C40
Fábio Aro/Volvo

Another bold decision, but one that is shared with other Volvo electric cars, is the start button. He is not there. There is not even a handbrake. You just get in, with the electronic key, put it in gear – there’s a familiar lever – and get out. Pressing the P button already activates the handbrake, and selecting D or R deactivates it.

Volvo C40 Recharge Converter
Volvo C40 Recharge Shifter | Photo: Fábio Aro/Disclosure

The surprising result of not having a start button is that the car turns on its electronic systems as soon as it is started. If, when you get out of the car, you were playing music – on the Harman Kardon system – when you return, the music will continue where you left off, without any action from you. Sad and friendly: it’s as if the C40 addresses the issue with its owner: “so, as we were saying…”.

If you leave the parking lot, or back up, you will immediately see a 360-degree camera. Sensors on all sides recreate the surrounding landscape and show the car as seen from above in the environment. Low and stationary objects are faithful, but cars and people seem distorted, in a funny way: they look like giants near the cart in the middle.

It is a very good system. You can easily drive without even looking at the windows or mirrors. Actually, I prefer it this way: I have to admit that I’m a bit of an objectivist. When I take the new car for a test drive, I don’t know its size and the width of the turn (which is tight for the size of the C40), I’m afraid I’ll eat the edge of the curb and end up parking almost in the middle. of the street. The 360 ​​camera allowed me to make the most accurate portraits of my life.

Another piece of tech, this one more controversial: the media center doesn’t support Android Auto or Apple Car Play. You can connect your cell phone via Bluetooth to answer calls and listen directly from its stereo jack, but that’s about it.

The Volvo C40 has its own mobile internet connection and comes with Android For Cars – the car’s own operating system. Instead of using apps on your phone, you install them on your car. Things like Spotify and plugshare plug-in chargers. No video streaming: there’s YouTube Music, but not YouTube. A driver watching a video is a bad situation, but he can serve a passenger.

An example of how this is different: Spotify – you need to get into the car -, unlike the mobile version via Android Auto, it allows you to search for songs. But it stops everything when the car is moving. This would not be possible if the system did not communicate directly with the car, using information from it.

Another example of native interaction is with Google Maps. When you enter a location, it tells you how much battery the car will have when you get there, and how much battery it will have when you leave and return to your current location. It is much better than using a cell phone GPS.

Google says this is the future and that Android Auto is outdated. Volvo is one of the first to agree.

Outside the media center, there is an electronic panel, which shows the GPS map in the middle, if the car is charging (by regenerative braking) or consumption, but it does not show something that many will find important: the autonomy of the battery measured in kilometers. There is only a payment, in the form of a percentage. Kilometers appear only at the end of the load, in case of emergency.

But maybe that will change. Because this is a car that, like a mobile phone, receives updates from its operating system. It happened to me, and it was the first time in my life that I saw it.

The C40 notified me of the updates and asked me to confirm. I was informed that the car would be shut down and idle for about an hour and a half. I agreed and … well, nothing. The car was, in fact, locked and inactive, with no feedback from the update.

I tried logging in an hour and ten minutes later and had no problem: I had everything set up. I noticed that the dashboard interface had changed the design a bit, with cut bars appearing on the flat battery indicator and smaller circles.

Overcome Anxiety

And speaking of the dance, that part was a triumph. Even without the car showing the range, Google GPS does the job. I solved the case by fire: a trip to São Paulo, struggling with anxiety of various kinds, anxiety of distance.

The destination was Limeira, which is 150 km away. I planned the trip using Google Maps to find out where there was a quick refueling, and I found an average station that gives 30 kW and the fastest when returning 45 kW. None of them could fill the C40’s 78 kW battery in the time it takes to stop and eat a skewer, but it will be enough to break the branch and ensure a return.

Vehicle loading details
Photo: Advertising/Volvo

Leaving São Paulo, the battery was 95%. It came in first place, in Jundiaí, over 60 km, it was 80%. I left the battery during the usual time on the station, about 50 minutes, and it was 92%. Not the best, but the ride was guaranteed.

Arriving in Limeira with 59%, I spent a little time in the town and returned the next day. In another station, with a more powerful charger, 125 kW (in practice, it did with 44 kW), I was able to fill from 56% to 94% in less time, more than an hour. Getting to São Paulo, of course, would not be a problem at all.

I didn’t care about getting the battery to 100% because fully charging an electric battery is not a good idea. The manufacturers themselves do not recommend it, because it can damage your battery. Second, charging becomes slower as the battery nears full. From 94% to 100% it can take more than what I used before. The charger started at 45 kW and had dropped to 7 kW by the time I finished.

The C40 does not, like other electric cars, have a poor economy. The computer determines how to reach a maximum of 420 km. And that seems to have been around the same time he was holding in the inspection.

Step on the Volvo C40

In the case of the Volvo C40 recharge, looks are not deceiving. It is driving that he reveals himself to be a bad boy. If the XC40 behaves similarly on the road, the C40 will and still has, shall we say, physique du rôle, it looks more like a character.

The electric kick is not unique to him, but it is very noticeable. Electric kickback – my expression, but you can spread it – is this: an electric car accelerates differently than internal combustion. Torque, the energy at the wheels, is immediately available, without having to reach the necessary speed in the engine. Think about turning on a chainsaw versus turning on a drill.

So, even when lightning takes longer than the internal combustion of 0 to 100, it still seems to accelerate more violently. Because, in the first tenth of a second, when he starts moving and puts you on the bench, it was very fast. And there is no feedback from the engine noise, which gives a little something of a ghostly feeling. Or a roller coaster.

Recharging the Volvo C40
Fábio Aro/Volvo

The C40 is not only punchy but hard to drive at times. It’s not out of control – lack of safety is a bad word for Volvo – but a touch of noise makes the C40 seem eager to fly in a supercar, like the Millennium Falcon.

Weight also makes a difference, to the downhill behavior and feel under braking, as well as how the car grips the ground in corners. There’s something about it – and I mean this in a positive, powerful sense – something about riding a fast train.

How much is the show worth?

The price is, within what is expected for a luxury tram, R$ 419,950. Volvo is the first to say that the value of its cars puts them in an elite position: the C40 may have a kind of punk-like soul, but it’s more like Supla than João Gordo (my musical references may need updating).

But high cost does not mean low cost benefit. Because the car’s features put it in competition with dedicated sports cars, and the more expensive Jaguar I-Pace. Compared to these, the Volvo C40 offers a solid experience and a lot of fun, at a lower price.

However, a sports car in the body of a medium crossover SUV, with the confidence of a brand characterized by character. It’s a Volvo for those who want that stamp of quality and spicy taste.

  • design

  • Comfort

  • strength

  • Cost benefit

  • Equipment

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