Motors

Coupe-roofed C40 a bad look for Volvo

Volvo has been on a brilliant run of form, with great design forming the centrepiece of the brand's growth; this car may well be its first misstep in years, writes William Scholes

Volvo C40 Recharge

VOLVO has been on a brilliant run of form in recent years, with great design forming the centrepiece of the brand's growth, writes William Scholes.

Volvo is one of a select number of makers - Mazda is another - to apply a design language and approach so cohesively across a range of differently sized cars. BMW used to be able to do this, but has lost the plot amid a sea of ungainly proportions and baroque grilles.

Anyway, this car may well be Volvo's first misstep in years.

Called the C40 Recharge - that suffix denotes, in Volvo-speak, that it is an electric car - it is essentially an XC40 with a 5cm lower coupe-ish roofline.

Why Volvo felt the need to do this to the perfectly fine XC40 is open for debate, but it is still disappointing.

Volvo C40 Recharge

These SUV-meets-coupe mash-ups typically look awful. BMW has several, there's a particularly revolting Mercedes and Audi has a couple skulking around as well - you've been warned.

Volvo has shown a rare flair for blending the practical with the sportily flavoured stylish, but seems to have forgotten that with the C40's execution.

Being based on the XC40 we do know it will drive very nicely and be built to a high standard.

When it goes on sale later this year it will get the same 78kWh battery and twin motor - one per axle - set-up of the XC40 Recharge. It will make around 400bhp, making it quick, and has a range of up to 260 miles on a full charge.

Why Volvo felt the need to do this to the perfectly fine XC40 is open for debate, but it is still disappointing. These SUV-meets-coupe mash-ups typically look awful. BMW has several, there's a particularly revolting Mercedes and Audi has a couple skulking around as well - you've been warned

The all-singing all-dancing Google Android-based operating system works the car's infotainment and assorted digital functions, as it does on the XC40 Recharge and the Polestar 2 from Volvo's sister EV-only brand.

The reveal of C40 Recharge coincided with Volvo announcing that it will also be EV-only from 2030.

It has already stopped selling diesels and expects half of its sales to be fully electric by 2025, with the rest being petrol-electric hybrids.

And in another nod to how Volvo sees its future shaping up, the C40 will only be available to buy online.

Volvo C40 Recharge

Volvo says it wants to reduce "the complexity" in its model offering (i.e. fewer trim grades and options) and focus on "attractive pre-selected variants".

"When customers get a new C40 Recharge, it will come with a convenient care package that includes items such as servicing, warranty, roadside assistance, as well as insurance and home charging options," says Volvo.

It means that in years to come the C40 may not be remembered so much for its sub-XC40 looks as how it pointed to a shake-up in the way cars are sold.

Volvo C40 Recharge

Volvo C40 Recharge

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