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Volvo C40 Recharge: the sleek electric SUV driving the future of cars

I had an up-close and personal taste of the electric future. Stylish Swedish-Chinese- owned car manufacturer Volvo has promised that all its cars will be electric by 2030 globally, including South Africa. Enjoy the silence.

The new Volvo C40 Recharge is stylish. It drives like a normal car, too. It is, after-all, a normal car of the future – just that it is electric. Of course, the R1.3 million price tag may seem prohibitive, but premium vehicles cost. What they offer as a package makes one want to swap the house bond for a car. Safety and sustainability are the hallmarks of new electric vehicles.

The sumptuous Volvo C40 Recharge is a sleek, compact SUV with a slim, dynamic representation of the future. It is eco-friendly, with renewable materials inside the spacious cabin. It also has a sporty element and dials similar to its counterpart, the XC40 Recharge, an electric compact SUV from the Volvo Cars brand which wrapped up 2023 in style as South Africa’s best selling EV.

he C40 boasts captivating rear lights that elegantly trace their way along its sweeping back end and the aerodynamic advantage of its rounded rear roofline. The look does have a strong visual impact. However, the style does come with compromises in practicality, such as reduced rear headroom for taller individuals and a slight decrease in cargo space. No space for tall people?

The C40 Recharge, however, pays homage to Scandinavian design, minimising clutter and maximising sustainable materials. Google Automotive powers the infotainment screen with maps and connectivity and seamlessly integrates with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. I love the Harman Kardon sound system. Certainly for a stylish silent type it is wired for sound.

Elegant touch: used to create an abstract digitalised design with a layered pattern (as shown below), the graphics on the Volvo C40’s dashboard are inspired by the Abisko national park in Sweden

The vehicle boasts several luxuries and practical features, including driver aids. Interestingly, the car can be turned on without pressing a button. Once inside, your eyes will instantly be drawn to the elegant ‘topograh’ and” inlays” on the dashboard, which are said to be inspired by the magnificent mountains in the Abisko national park in Sweden. The drive is quick and feels sure-footed, given the instant speed available from the electric motor.

The C40 is powered by the twin motor setup, delivering 300 kW of power and 660 Nm of torque. It also has enough pulling power to tow up to 1.8 tonnes. The ride quality feels phenomenal and smooth due to the piloted 20-inch wheels. As with electric Volvos, a noteworthy mention is the regenerative brakes prioritising a quiet and comfortable drive.

In terms of range, it can get 440 km on a single charge and go from 0 to 100 km/h in a mere 4.7 seconds. While the advertised capacity is 444 km per WLTP cycle, more conservative driving may yield closer to 350 km, sufficient for city driving use, and longer trips require some planning. Range-wise, competition in the fully electric market in South Africa includes the likes of Mercedes-Benz EQB line-up and the BMW iX1 with a maximum 417 and 423 km respectively.

The starting price for the C40 Recharge is R1 285 000. The C40 Recharge represents Volvo’s electric future of motoring, offering impressive performance, range, and design while retaining the brand’s focus on safety, sustainability and tranquillity. Impressive it is!

© Higher Education Media


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Prashirwin Naidu
Prashirwin Naidu
Aspiring scribe, Prashirwin Naidu is a writer focusing on cars and the arts.
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