Volvo is heading to a completely electrical future, however the firm’s new single-motor EV powertrain shares an apparent hyperlink with the model’s previous. That is set to be the primary rear-wheel-drive Volvo for the reason that venerable 900 collection retired in 1998.
In engineering phrases, the selection of a powered rear axle is just not a shock. In EVs as in combustion automobiles, it makes extra sense to separate the duties of steering and propulsion. But Volvo has reached this rational conclusion in a roundabout manner, having beforehand supplied each the C40 Recharge and XC40 Recharge with a single front-mounted motor in Europe. The arrival of a brawnier new motor now sees this configuration reversed, and though the C40 and XC40 nonetheless sit on the identical CMA platform as earlier than, they have been turned from pullers to pushers.
Within the U.S. we by no means obtained the single-motor Volvo EVs, so all can be recent to American consumers when the automobiles arrive within the second half of the yr.
Volvo has designed and engineered the brand new motor and can construct it in Sweden. The identical unit will even energy the entrance wheels of the upcoming EX90 SUV, and it’s used within the all-wheel-drive XC40 Recharge as nicely. With only one motor, the rear-drive C40 is clearly much less potent than its dual-motor all-wheel-drive counterpart, however output figures of 248 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque are nonetheless aggressive.
We anticipate the rear-drive C40 to dash to 60 mph within the mid-six-second vary, and our drive in Sweden proved that this Volvo feels loads fast. Acceleration off the road is eager, with the continual stream of energy making the C40 really feel punchier than its power-to-weight ratio would recommend. (Volvo says the single-motor C40 is 216 kilos lighter than the two-motor model, which might put it at a porky 4550 kilos primarily based on our final take a look at of the latter.)
At increased speeds, the C40’s acceleration turns into progressively much less energetic, and our pattern automobile misplaced a lot of its mojo by 80 mph. It might take each a protracted straight and a decided throttle stomping to get it to the 112-mph limiter that Volvo now matches to all its automobiles. As within the all-wheel-drive XC40, cruising refinement is superb at freeway speeds, and Volvo sensibly hasn’t given the C40 a synthetic soundtrack past a low-speed warning noise. Close to-silence fits it nicely.
The swap to the brand new motor has largely been executed to spice up effectivity, and right here the rear-drive powertrain excels. The rear-drive model will get a brand new 79.0-kWh battery pack, whereas the dual-motor C40 sticks with the outdated 75.0-kWh unit. That is anticipated to ship an EPA vary of 297 miles (versus 293 miles within the case of the marginally much less aerodynamic XC40 single-motor). The 79.0-kWh battery can be able to accepting peak DC charging speeds of as much as 200 kilowatts do you have to be fortunate sufficient to seek out such a potent charger, up from the 150-kW peak of the smaller pack.
Though Volvo was keen to focus on the dynamic advantages of rear-wheel drive, the C40’s chassis continues to be tuned for consolation and stability fairly than any excessive stage of athleticism. The automobile steers precisely, however little significant sensation will get by means of the electrical help of the ability steering, and on normal all-season tires the entrance wheels washed out underneath even modest ranges of provocation. The soundness- and traction-control techniques keep order however cannot be switched to a extra permissive sport mode. We suspect that few consumers of the C40 and XC40 Recharge RWD will know or certainly care which axle is powered.
As earlier than, the remainder of the C40 continues to make a persuasive case to decide on the XC40. The C40’s decrease roofline makes it look marginally sleeker, though we defy anyone to really confuse this four-door crossover with an precise coupe. However it additionally sacrifices the XC’s impressively spacious rear cabin and dramatically reduces rearward visibility by means of the closely raked rear window. It seems like the reply to a query few individuals are asking, particularly because the extra sensible XC40 must be marginally cheaper. The Google UI system has additionally managed to move straight from feeling underdeveloped when it was new to old style now, many features having to be mined from submenus.
Regardless of all that, the C40 Recharge nonetheless possesses a robust likability. Given the restricted dynamism of the platform, the single-motor model fits the automobile’s laidback demeanor higher than the pricier and heavier all-wheel-drive mannequin.
2024 Volvo C40 Recharge
Automobile Sort: rear- or front- and rear-motor, rear- or all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback
PRICE (C/D EST)
Base: $50,000; AWD, $55,000
Motors: permanent-magnet AC, 248 hp, 310 lb-ft or induction AC, 147 hp and permanent-magnet AC, 255 hp (mixed output: 402 hp, 494 lb-ft)
Battery Pack: liquid-cooled lithium-ion, 75.0 or 79.0 kWh
Onboard Charger: 11.0 kW
Peak DC Quick-Cost Fee: 150 or 200 kW
Transmissions, F/R: direct-drive
Wheelbase: 106.4 in
Size: 174.8 in
Width: 73.7 in
Top: 62.6 in
Passenger Quantity, F/R: 53–55/43 ft3
Cargo Quantity, Behind F/R: 49/17 ft3
Curb Weight (C/D est): 4600–4800 lb
PERFORMANCE (C/D EST)
60 mph: 4.3–6.6 sec
100 mph: 10.9–13.2 sec
1/4-Mile: 12.8–15.1 sec
Prime Pace: 112 mph
EPA FUEL ECONOMY (MFR’S EST)
Mixed/Metropolis/Freeway: 99–107/106–118/91–96 MPGe
Vary: 257–297 mi
Mike Duff has been writing in regards to the auto trade for twenty years and calls the UK dwelling, though he usually lives life on the street. He loves outdated automobiles and journey in unlikely locations, with profession highlights together with driving to Chernobyl in a Lada.