The C40 from Volvo is their latest crossover fully electric vehicle. Similar in size to the XC40, the C40 sits somewhere in the void between a sedan and an SUV. If safe, practical family vehicles are what you are looking for Volvo should always make it on the list.

However the last 10 years have seen Volvo go from just family practical and safe to modern and stylish too, and the C40 Recharge is no exception. 

What We Like and Dislike About The 2023 Volvo C40 Recharge

What we like

  • Exterior Styling
  • Interior Design and space
  • Google Android Infotainment 
  • Charge Cable

What we don’t like

  • Rearview camera
  • Rear window view
  • Front storage space
  • No Clean Car Rebate

What’s In The 2023 Volvo C40 Recharge Range?

The C40 comes available in New Zealand in two variants; Plus and Ultimate. The Plus starts at $87,900 and the Ultimate is $15k more at $102,900. 

Like other EVs, the difference is the single or dual motors. The Plus has a single motor, a range of 438km and a 0-100km/h time of 7.4 seconds. The Ultimate has twin motors, a slightly larger range of 451km and a 0-100km/h time of 4.7 seconds.

The two variants are pretty much the same in regards to features, the Ultimate comes with everything the Plus has plus the following; Harman Kardon Premium Sound, a 360-degree camera and a high-level illumination interior. 

The C40 comes in a range of 8 colours, Black Stone, Onyx Black, Fusion Red, Thunder Grey, Fjord Blue, Silver Dawn, Crystal White and Sage Green. 

2023 Volvo C40 Recharge Standard Equipment Highlights

  • Panoramic roof
  • Tinted rear windows
  • 19″ 5-Double Spoke Black Diamond Cut
  • Shift-by-wire single-speed transmission
  • Hill Start Assist
  • Charcoal headlining
  • Charcoal interior inserts
  • Premium textile upholstery
  • Interior mid-level illumination
  • Tailored sport steering wheel, Charcoal
  • Two-zone climate system
  • Afterrun parking climate
  • Heat pump
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Electric cabin heater and cooler
  • Humidity sensor
  • Protective safety
  • Dual-stage airbags
  • Knee airbag, driver side
  • Whiplash injury protection system
  • Inflatable Curtain
  • Side impact protection
  • Alarm
  • Tempered side windows
  • Preventive safety
  • Emergency brake light
  • ISOFIX mounting points, rear seat
  • Safety assistance
  • Road Sign Information
  • Lane Keeping Aid
  • Oncoming Lane Mitigation
  • LED headlights
  • 12-inch driver display
  • Speed limiter
  • Auto-dimmed rear-view mirrors
  • Tyre pressure monitoring
  • Adaptive power steering
  • 9-inch centre display
  • Driver assistance
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Pilot Assist
  • Parking assistance
  • Power retractable door mirrors
  • Park assist, rear and front
  • Ticket holder
  • Park assist camera, rear
  • Power tailgate
  • Keyless entry with a hands-free power tailgate
  • Google Assistant, Google Maps and Google Play Store – included for 4 years
  • Wireless phone charging
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Bluetooth® connection
  • Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB+)
  • High-Performance audio system
  • Power driver seat with memory
  • Heated front seats
  • Heated rear seats
  • Power 4-way lumbar support

Our Review Vehicle’s Optional Equipment

Our review car did not come with any additional optional equipment which resulted in our review car’s retail price of $87,900

For a full list of specs and options available for the 2023 Volvo C40 Recharge Plus, jump on over to the Volvo New Zealand website

How Does The 2023 Volvo C40 Recharge Compare To Its Competition?

The full EV market is bubbling over with new models almost every week. With a wide range of different levels to choose from, from entry-level all the way up to the ultimate in luxury and performance. The range of options will continue to grow over the next year, with more and more SUV full EV options becoming available from different brands.

It’s hard to compare apples with apples in this segment, as you might find one car costs the same as the other, but they have different body shapes, battery sizes or multiple EV motors, making them very different. 

All prices below exclude the refund or additional cost of the New Zealand Clean Car Programme.

Make/ ModelBattery
Range (WLTP)Boot
(excl CCP)
Polestar 2 Long Range Dual Motor (AWD)78300/6604.7480405$104,900
Tesla Model 3 Performance (AWD)75377/6603.3547651$103,900
Hyundai Ioniq 5 Elite AWD72.6160/3508.5430537$96,990
Volvo C40 Recharge78170/6607.4438414$87,900
Mercedes-Benz EQA FWD66.514/3758.9400340$85,500
Hyundai Kona EV64125/25048433279,900
Mazda MX-30 Takami35.5107/2719.7199341$74,990

First Impressions Of The 2023 Volvo C40 Recharge

The Volvo C40 looks like a regular crossover SUV –  there is not a single thing about it that screams that it’s fully electric. I must say that I like that, it should just look like a good vehicle, and not try to look a bit different or weird to show that it’s trying to be super green and eco-friendly. 

The side profile of the V40 vehicle is strange; it is more of a form that follows a function design approach. Both the front and rear look very nice – styled well and even with some sporty flourishes. The plastic wheel arch covers give the entire vehicle a rather high profile and stance even though it’s not. 

If I had a choice I would not have picked either of the two black paint options and would have selected either Fjord Blue or my favourite, Fusion Red. Both of these are no-cost options and both show the contrasting style of the vehicle when compared to black.

What’s The Interior Like In The 2023 Volvo C40 Recharge?

There has not been a Volvo through the DriveLife team that we didn’t like the interior or comfort levels. Before sitting in it, I knew the seats would be amazing, as all modern Volvo seats are super comfortable and well-designed, ergonomically. Bathed in soft-touch materials, chrome and a bit of shiny plastic, it all feels very opulent, the value for money is seen and felt everywhere, by everyone.

As I mentioned before, the seats in every Volvo I have tested are amazing. In many review cars, it can take anywhere up to 10 minutes of adjustment to the seat, trying to find that perfect/comfortable driving position. Sometimes that perfect spot could never be found, but in the Volvo, it’s mere seconds. I compare it to the feeling of sitting in my favourite lounge chair at home. I was not the only one to comment on this, or on the quality of the materials.

The rear seats were just the same, super comfy and they had plenty of legroom for those of us who are taller than average. This is partly due to that weird side profile I commented on. I found it very easy to get in and out of the back, even behind my own driving position. And I had no problem at all installing my daughter’s child seat. She had tons of room too, and never felt cramped.

One of the big features promoted with the C40 is that it has Google built-in, with a fully integrated Android Auto central media display. I am an Android guy, so I loved this. It was set up so that it became an extension of your current home and mobile setup, using your existing Google account and assistant preferences. So what does all this mean? Well, it means you have Google Maps as your navigation, Google Assistant for any hand-free help, and Google Play for a wide range of apps and your entire system will stay up to date with Google as it gets updated. 

You might now be thinking, well that’s just more cost to the car having another data connection. You would be wrong, as Volvo has included a 4-year subscription to its digital service package, which includes data, apps, and google automotive services.

The sound system in the C40 Plus was pretty good. It was not the Harman/Kardon system from the Ultimate, but I could not fault it once the sound setting had been adjusted correctly. I don’t know what it is, but every review car I get in, always has the bass up to the max, which ruins the overall sound experience.

The boot was a good size at 414 litres with the back seats up, which then opens up to 1,205 litres with the rear seats folded down. One thing to note is that the boot has quite a tall loading height, which is not an issue for someone over 6ft, but it was noticeably higher than normal. The boot had a nice storage area to the right-hand side which was deeper than the main boot for putting items you do not want rolling around the boot floor.

The frunk was a bit disappointing. The lid looked big, giving the impression of a lot of space. But once you opened it, it was not very deep and could really only hold the charging cables and one of two other small items. I thought they missed out here and the opportunity to have more storage space up front.

I did however really like their small, thin charge plug adapter, which didn’t look like every other brick that normally comes with full EV vehicles. This looked more like a fuse of some sort on the cable. It was great and it wasn’t heavy, which made it easy to carry and set up. 

The rear window in the C40 is where I had a problem, it is very narrow and high. I felt that it didn’t give me enough of a view out the back as I would have liked. Add to this the rearview camera’s position which is low on the boot, above the licence plate. The area it was located cut off the image so you only got knee-high views of some things out the back. Again, something that frustrated me as I could not judge moving vehicles around me with it. So I resorted to just using the side mirrors and ignored the camera. 

What’s The 2023 Volvo C40 Recharge Like To Drive?

The drive behind the wheel of the C40 was rather effortless and event free. I can’t remember much about it, which may sound like an odd thing to say. But to me, that means I couldn’t find anything wrong with it either. It’s not a performance car, so I am not looking for race track handling, but rather looking at what it’s like to live with and use every day. Like most Volvo vehicles, the C40 Recharge does this very well. 

The C40 is a very nice and easy car to drive, the weight of the batteries and their placement created a low centre of gravity and gave the driver a great, sure-footed feeling on the road. I really liked the power-to-weight performance of the single-motor C40. It felt right, enough to get you up and going and not too much that you could be sent into next week with its acceleration. This gave the driver more range on the pedal to control the power being delivered to the electric motor.

The driver’s display was clean and minimalistic, maybe a little too much for my liking. I also didnt like that you couldn’t change the look, or I didn’t find out how to if it could be. It had all the basic info, but the one thing I did find a bit weird about the overall driving experience is that the battery range indicator is displayed on the central display screen and not the driver’s dash. There seemed to be plenty of space on the driver’s display, so I couldn’t work out why it wasn’t up there too. It’s picky I know, but that’s where I look for it. 

The battery economy of the C40 is pretty good. Over the course of the week, I had the C40, I only needed to charge it once via the regular wall-plug charger. I plugged it in after work one day, where it was around 20%, and the next morning it was full. I like it when the overnight top-ups are quick, as it’s much more user-friendly. By the time I dropped the car back, I had a battery economy rating of 24.7kWh/100km, which was pretty good, considering the manufacturer’s rating was 21kWh.

The steering wheel is fairly basic, and it didn’t have any brake regeneration paddles which I would have liked to see. The wheel itself is not cluttered, much like the rest of the cabin. It has a collection of controls on either side, cruise control on the left and options and menus on the right. In other cars with paddles on the steering wheel, they gave you access to select the level of brake regeneration. But in the C40 you had to select this from the central display, and you only had one option, one pedal driving on or off. I don’t mind one-pedal driving, but after using it for a while, I just went back to the normal setup.

The interior cabin was insulated very well, and the general road noise while driving is very low. So low that you can faintly hear the whirring sound from the electric motors spinning up when you give it some more power. The noise from the tyres on the road was low too, even on Wellington’s poor roads, so it would be important to ensure you stick with the same brand when replacing them as different brands can drastically change this, which will have a knock-on effect to the cabin’s calm environment.

There is a lot of driver-assistance tech in any Volvo, and the C40 Recharge was the same. 99% of those go fairly unnoticed, which is great. However, the driver collision alert can go off unexpectedly when you’re driving down a curved street with multiple cars parked on it. 

2023 Volvo C40 Recharge – Specifications

Vehicle TypeHatchback / Electric
Starting Price$87,900 (excl CCP)
Price as Tested$87,900 (excl CCP)
EngineSingle electric motor
Power, Torque
170 / 660
TransmissionShift by wire transmission
Spare WheelNo
Kerb Weight, Kg2,045
Length x Width x Height
4440 x 1873 x 1591
Boot Space / Cargo Capacity,
(seats up/seats down)
Battery capacity,78kW
Energy Economy,
Advertised Spec – Combined – 21kWh
Real-World Test – Combined – 24.7kWh
Low Usage: 6-10 / Medium Usage 11-19 / High Usage 19+
Towing Capacity
Kg, unbraked/braked
750 / 1800
Turning circle
Small: 6-10m / Medium 10-12m / Large 12m+
Warranty3-Year Unlimited Kilometre Warranty
Safety informationANCAP Rating – 5 stars – Link – 5 Stars – PRB910

Have you enjoyed this review? Be sure to join our monthly email newsletter list so you don’t miss a single car review!

Driver Technology
Previous article2023 BMW X1 sDrive18i | Car Review
Next articleKia Launches Their 7-seat SUV, The EV9
John Galvin (JSG)
It started at a young age with bedroom posters, the Countach of course. This slowly grew into a super car die-cast model collection, fifty five 1:18 models at the last count. At which point it had almost taken full control, the incurable Mad Car Disease ran deep though my veins all the way to the bone. And things for my loved ones just got worse as the cars where now being bought at 1:1 scale, after a BMW, HSV, and couple of Audi's, the disease reached my brain, pushing me over the edge and down the rabbits hole into the world of the bedroom poster.
2023-volvo-c40-recharge-plus-electric-car-reviewVolvo rarely disappoints the DriveLife team, and the C40 Recharge is no exception. The design is iconically Volvo, and the interior is as comfy as the Swedish future gets. There is a great level of tech and market-leading safety features. The 78Kwh battery provides a super-practical 451km range. Add in the fact that the battery can recharge fully overnight from a regular wall plug, it means you do not have to stress about its range as a daily commuter. <br><br> If you're looking for a mid-sized EV for a couple of small families, the C40 Recharge is something you need to try, especially if you want to stand out from the crowds of Teslas on the road these days.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.