All that said, the roofline is obviously the main event. It’s one continuous curve from the base of the hood to the tail, and the side windows kick up at the C-pillar to line up with the roof spoiler. The C40 will only be offered with a black roof no matter the paint color, and I think it really works. The dual upper spoilers are stylish and functional, increasing aerodynamics and hiding the hinges, while the lower spoiler at the base of the window is purely functional, improving stability. My favorite design feature is the new taillights, which extend all the way up the hatch with segmented LEDs and have cool body color inserts on the tailgate.
The C40′s cabin doesn’t stray as far from the XC40, but it gets some unique touches. The car is launching with an all-black color scheme consisting of suede and Microtech upholstery. And while the C40′s interior is completely leather-free, Volvo is careful not to call the interior vegan. (There are animal byproducts used in the interior’s creation.) Similar to what’s in the Polestar 2, the Microtech material feels durable and high-end, kind of like a wetsuit or fancy bag. Coming next year will be this same material combo in another color, two textile choices and even a stunning silver wool option, though I don’t know which (if any) will come to the U.S.
Spicing up the black interior are the available Fjord blue carpets and felt door inserts, which are a no-cost option and an absolute must-have. A large, fixed panoramic roof is standard, and though it’s UV tinted I still wish there was a sunshade. The front cabin gets cool 3D trim pieces on the dashboard and doors that have a geometric motif, and the plastic is illuminated from behind, a very cool effect when it comes on at night. The pattern is an actual section of topographical map from the Abisko National Park in Sweden.
Standard on the C40 is a 9-inch portrait touchscreen running Volvo’s new Google-based infotainment system, which is a big upgrade over the old Sensus software. The C40 does have a few new features that will come to the XC40 via over-the-air update, like a new range optimization button that adjusts the climate control for better efficiency without completely turning it off. Volvo says that more apps are in the works, including more than just the media apps currently available.
Obviously the coupe-like roof cuts into the C40′s cargo space compared to the XC40, but honestly not by much. The XC40′s rear hatch is already pretty raked and the C40 still gets a three-way split bench seat that folds completely flat, though rear headroom is definitely tighter for those over 6 feet tall. There are a couple of storage cubbies underneath the cargo area floor, too. Rear visibility is quite a bit worse in the C40, mostly because of the much smaller rear window, and I wish the C40 had a rear wiper. But the styling to me is worth the practicality trade-off, especially when you get to the price.
The C40 starts at $59,845 including a $1,095 destination charge, and it only comes in one trim level and no options beyond metallic paint, which costs $695 (the only no-cost color is black). Otherwise the C40 comes fully loaded, including features that are optional on the XC40. The XC40 Recharge starts at $56,395, but add those options and it’s only a few hundred bucks cheaper than the C40.
Included in the C40′s near-$60K price tag is dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a 12-inch digital gauge cluster, power front seats, power-folding rear headrests, an excellent Harman Kardon sound system, a wireless charging pad, a power liftgate and a heat pump for better cold weather efficiency. Also standard is Volvo’s Pilot Assist adaptive cruise control system with stop-and-go, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, road sign recognition, a 360-degree camera system and front and rear parking sensors.
The C40 Recharge is available to reserve now with a refundable $500 deposit. No C40s will be stocked at dealerships as the car is only available to purchase online, a move that Volvo will use for future EVs as well. Volvo says this is achievable thanks to the C40′s small options list, and while I don’t have much info on the delivery process yet, it’s said to be “quick.”
The C40′s styling and purchase process won’t be for everyone, but for design-conscious and tech-forward folk that want a solid EV, this new Volvo is a great option — and it foreshadows a lot of what’s to come from the brand’s more mainstream offerings.