The 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge can be plugged in at home, using a 110-volt or 220-volt outlet. (Volvo)

The 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge can be plugged in at home, using a 110-volt or 220-volt outlet. (Volvo)

2022 C40 Recharge represents several firsts for Volvo

Based on the XC40 compact SUV, it’s exclusively all-electric and has a 226-mile driving range.

The 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge is a new all-electric vehicle based on the brand’s existing XC40 Recharge compact SUV. It has the floorplan of a small SUV, that is, five-passenger capacity, two rows of seats, four doors and a rear hatch.

While gasoline and hybrid versions of the XC40 are available, the C40 Recharge is Volvo’s first purely electric vehicle. It is also the first leather-free Volvo and the first Volvo to be sold exclusively online. Customers order their C40 via the Internet and the car is delivered to their local Volvo dealership.

The 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge has an SUV layout with a sleek couple-like design. (Volvo)

The 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge has an SUV layout with a sleek couple-like design. (Volvo)

The C40 Recharge offers an alternative for those who like the usefulness of an SUV but prefer a coupe-like, urban-looking car. It has a lower, sleeker design and rides on 20-inch wheels. All-wheel drive is a standard feature. Pricing might be of less concern to these buyers since the XC40 Recharge starts at $52,795 (including the $1,095 destination charge) and the C40 Recharge costs $59,845.

As an all-electric vehicle, the C40 qualifies for a $7,500 federal tax credit and may also be eligible for local or regional incentives.

There’s one trim level, the C40 Recharge Twin Ultimate. In keeping with Volvo’s status as a premium brand, it’s packed with high-quality materials, comfort and convenience features, safety and driver-assist equipment, and advanced infotainment technology including a transcendent 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.

In violation of my philosophy (conceived by my worst-case mind-set) that basic operations of a car should be simple and intuitive, there’s no start button inside the C40. When it detects the key fob and a person sitting in the driver’s seat, it turns on. Electric, so no noise. What if there’s an emergency and someone unfamiliar with this quirky setup needs to drive off in the C40 in a huge hurry, God forbid?

The touchscreen interface is on the less intuitive end of the spectrum, but the doomsday scenario isn’t at play here. It just means some time with the owner’s manual and a little practice getting used to. For the record, it’s Google Android-based.

A fixed panoramic sunroof is standard, a nice thing to have, but there’s no sunshade. I drove the C40 Recharge in full sun, and even here in the Pacific Northwest where sunshine is more forgiving than in most other places, it beat down and glared through the roof. Can’t imagine being in a desert climate, or how much it would drain the charge to have the A/C going full blast for relief.

The 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge interior is completely leather-free. (Volvo)

The 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge interior is completely leather-free. (Volvo)

On some highly positive notes, the CV40 Recharge interior is handsome and quiet. I love that it’s cruelty-free, completely non-leather, even the steering wheel. Handling is great on highways and winding roads alike. The regenerative braking system allows for one-pedal driving, another feature that takes a little getting used to. Lifting your right foot off the accelerator pedal causes a sudden slowdown, but easing up on the pedal makes the slowdown gradual. In either case, the C40 will come to a full stop and stay put until you engage the accelerator again. I quickly became a devotee.

The C40 Recharge powertrain team includes front and rear electric motors and a 78-kWh lithium-ion battery generating a formidable 402 horsepower and 487 pound-feet of torque. Its EPA MPGe rating is 94 city, 80 highway, and 87 combined. It has a driving range of 226 miles on a full charge, can do DC fast charging up to 80 percent in 40 minutes, and can be hooked up at home to a 110-volt or 220-volt outlet.

I charged the C40 at home, using a 110-volt exterior outlet. It was a cinch to do, once I got over the fear of electrocution. The charging was slow, but it didn’t matter because I could simultaneously do indoor and outdoor tasks. Looking at that car in the driveway, plugged into the house, never needing gasoline, was nearly psychedelic in its coolness.

2022 VOLVO C40 RECHARGE TWIN ULTIMATE

Base price, including destination charge: $59,845

Price as driven: $60,540

Mary Lowry is a member of the Motor Press Guild and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. She lives in Snohomish County. Vehicles are provided by automotive manufacturers as a one-week loan for evaluation purposes only. Manufacturers do not control content of the reviews.

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