Read Caroline’s Volvo C40 review for everything you need to know about buying Volvo’s new electric SUV in Ireland.

Do you remember a time when Volvo was famous for estate cars? These days it’s SUVs that have become synonymous with the Volvo brand – and good ones at that. In Ireland the XC60 is the brand’s bestselling model, followed by the Volvo XC40 – a former Irish Car of the Year.

While the brand has truly embraced hybrids for some years now, it was the launch of the XC40 Recharge, the brand’s first fully electric model, that has really put them on the path to becoming a fully electric car brand by 2030.

But these days, the market demands SUVs of all sizes and shapes. So Volvo has launched another – the new Volvo C40.

The Volvo C40 on test for Changing Lanes!
The Volvo C40 on test for Changing Lanes!

What’s so special about the Volvo C40?

The C40 has been designed as an SUV coupé. So it has many of the familiar SUV design cues, but the tapering roofline offers a sleeker and more prestigious look.

SUV coupés are a major trend at the moment in the motor industry. The C40 looks high-end and premium, and carries a little more prestige than a traditional SUV with a boxy rear-end. While it shares a lot with the XC40 Recharge, the C40 manages to stand out as more of a style icon and warrants its place in the line-up.

Large wheels are part of the deal too – 19-inch and 20-inch are available. There’s also a trendy black contrast roof, black door mirror caps, sporty boot and roof spoiler, and a distinctive LED rear light signature.

The new Volvo C40 is only sold as a battery electric vehicle. You won’t find any fuel versions in the line-up. There are single and dual motor versions, badged C40 Recharge and C40 Recharge Twin respectively.

Single-motor versions go on sale from about €53,730 including the SEAI grant for electric vehicles. They use a 69kWh battery that can travel up to 433 kilometres (WLTP) on one battery charge. It’s available in two trim levels, Plus and Ultimate, and comes well-equipped. Dual motor versions get a slightly higher capacity 78kWh battery that can drive for up to 446 kilometres (WLTP) on a single battery charge. They are available from €61,930 with Core, Plus and Ultimate trim levels, and offer the best performance of the range.

Elsewhere, this car is practical, offering seating for five and a classic Volvo cabin – so that means it’s a simple design with lots of clever technology and safety features on board.

The interior of the Volvo C40 Recharge
The interior of the Volvo C40 Recharge

Inside the Volvo C40

You sit high in the cabin of the C40, with a good commanding view of the road ahead. It does feel a little bit sportier behind the wheel than the Volvo XC40 Recharge, but the cabin design is much the same. That means the centre of the dashboard is dominated by a 9-inch portrait-style touchscreen. There are very few physical buttons but the Android operating system works excellently and it’s simple to navigate. Google Maps is built into it, and it integrates perfectly with a full digital driver display.

The cabin quality is good, it feels high-end but not as luxurious as what you might expect. Volvo has used a lot of recyclable materials in the cabin, which goes some way to explain why that might be. For example, the fabric seats in my test car didn’t seem the right fit for a car of this price.

There’s lots of equipment including wireless smartphone charging, heated steering wheel, heated front and rear seats, as well as a fixed panoramic glass roof.

The C40 has the same amount of leg and kneeroom as the XC40 Recharge so it offers decent accommodation, though a Volkswagen ID.4 does feel more spacious in the back. There’s a little less headroom because of the sloping, coupé-style roofline – but that’s about it. Rear doors don’t open as wide as in some other family SUVs though.

Convenience features include a powered tailgate, which opens to reveal 413 litres of space, with some underfloor storage too. That’s less than a Volkswagen ID.4 but the C40’s trump card is a ‘frunk’ – a space under the bonnet where you can store the charging cables.

The C40 has been designed as a stylish SUV coupé
The C40 has been designed as a stylish SUV coupé

Driving the C40 Recharge Twin

Driving the C40 Recharge Twin is a lot like driving the electric XC40. They share the same batteries and underpinnings. It’s solid and predictable on the road. It’s a heavy SUV so there’s a limit to its dynamism, but the dual motor version tested offers plenty of grip.

Single motor versions are the most efficient of the range and send 231hp to the front wheels. That should be enough performance for most, but the dual motor version does feel fast on the road when you want it. There’s a whopping 408hp, more than a Volkswagen ID.5 GTX, and the C40 Recharge Twin will sprint to 100km/h in just 4.7 seconds.

The suspension has been firmed up to cope with the extra weight of the battery, but the C40 is still deemed a comfortable drive for the most part.

DC fast charging is possible with the C40 up to 150kW, so you can add 80% charge in just under 40 minutes at a high-power charging station. From a 7kW wallbox at home for example, it will take about 12 hours to charge the battery to 100%.

Every C40 also comes with a Plugsurfing card that allows you to use over 200,000 charge points across Ireland and Europe with just one access card.

Volvo C40 and XC40 charging
Pure electric Volvo C40 and XC40 Recharge

Did you like it?

Despite offering a more prestigious design and image, the Volvo C40 starts from the same price as the XC40 Recharge, Volvo’s other electric SUV.

Just like the XC40, the C40 offers a classy cabin experience and a very user-friendly digital interface. It’s the little things, like the integrated Google Maps, that make the C40 a smart companion on any journey.

The C40 looks great and is a prestigious electric SUV. It offers accommodation for five and a boot of over 400 litres, though some rivals do feel a bit more spacious in the back.

Dual motor versions offer excellent performance but the C40 is not dynamic enough for this to be a huge thrill beyond some hefty acceleration in a straight line. For that reason the ‘entry level’ single motor, front wheel drive C40 looks to be a more sensible option – unless four wheel drive is required.

This is a simple Swede to live with and stands out for its stylish good looks and relaxing cabin among other electric SUVs.

The new Volvo C40 Recharge Twin with dual motors priced from €61,930
The new Volvo C40 Recharge Twin priced from €61,930

Model tested: Volvo C40 Recharge Twin
78 kWh
Range: 446 km (WLTP)
Power: 408hp
Torque: 660Nm
Top speed: 180 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 4.7 seconds
Motor Tax: 
€120 per year


Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year