Volvo C40 Recharge review

Volvo C40 Recharge

Volvo is doing its bit to save the planet, and it has an ambitious plan for a zero emissions future.

By 2025, 50% of its global sales will consist of fully electric cars. By 2030, it aims to sell only EVs before turning “climate neutral” 10 years later.

The Swedish car maker’s latest model, the C40 Recharge, is a case in point. It’s electric-only (there will be no petrol or hybrid variants) and it’s manufactured using a variety of sustainable materials.

Volvo C40 Recharge

For instance, the carpets are made from 71 recycled plastic PET bottles, and thanks to renewable wool fibres, it’s the first Volvo to feature leather-free upholstery.

You could even say the car itself has something of a recycled feel to it because it shares its EV powertrain and much of its body with the XC40 – Volvo’s big-selling SUV.

Unlike its sibling, it’s sleeker with a lower roof line and steeply-raked rear window, while the front end introduces a new face for electric Volvos. Here, the signature Thor’s Hammer headlights are augmented with pixel technology designed to avoid dazzling other road users.

Volvo C40 Recharge

It’s also fitted with the latest version of Volvo’s infotainment system, jointly developed with Google and based on the Android operating system.

So now there’s access to Google Play apps and services like Google Assistant and Google Maps. It’s also capable of over-the-air updates, which means the car is constantly kept up to speed with the latest software.

The voice commands (prompted by “Hey Google”) usefully cut down on the swiping, pinching and scrolling otherwise needed to control the features within 9.0-inch central touchscreen.

Volvo C40 Recharge

C is for Crossover and Volvo claims the C40 Recharge provides buyers with the high seating position that its owners prefer. The reality is that there’s very little difference between the siblings apart from the design.

And I don’t mean that in a bad way because the pure electric XC40 Recharge is a fantastic package, offering the combination of style, practicality, performance and a decent range of up to 259 miles.

The C40’s lower roof line looks smarter and makes it more aerodynamic, resulting in a higher range of 273 miles.

It also differs from other models in the Volvo range because it can only be bought online and it’s also available with a ‘Care by Volvo’ package (monthly subscription from £729) which offers a warranty, servicing and roadside assistance, as well as insurance and home charging options where available.

Volvo C40 Recharge

At launch there’s just one version of the C40 Recharge available with an eye-watering ticket price of £57,400, though in time we can expect other more affordable specs.

Like the XC40 Recharge, the C40 has twin electric motors – one on the front and one on the rear axle – and is powered by a 78kWh battery that can be fast-charged from 10 to 80% in about 40 minutes (via a 150kW rapid charger).

Inside the factory

We were given a quick tour of Volvo’s impressive state-of-the-art plant at Ghent in Belgium, where the C40 is assembled on the same production line as the XC40 and V60 estate.

Volvo C40 Recharge production line in Ghent, Belgium

Volvo is increasing EV capacity at the facility to 135,000 cars per year, and already expects more than half of the plant’s production volume in 2022 to consist of fully electric cars.

On the road, the C40 offers the same combination of blistering performance and polished road manners as the XC40 Recharge.

Developing a combined 402hp, it can sprint from 0-62mph in just 4.7 seconds, which is almost supercar fast. Plant your right foot on an A road and before you know it, you’re travelling at the legal limit.

Volvo C40 Recharge

The ride is smooth and refined, the light steering is sharp and it handles well for a relatively heavy crossover.

There’s surprisingly good body control in faster, more challenging corners and plenty of traction thanks to all-wheel drive.

The brakes are progressive, which is relatively rare in EVs, and the regenerative braking system (which recovers kinetic energy otherwise lost during braking to recharge the battery) works well, especially in one-pedal mode where a simple lift off the accelerator is usually enough to slow the car down without using the brakes.

Volvo C40 Recharge

Ultimately, the C40 is a smoothie, at its best cruising. And as most EV drivers will tell you, the challenge of squeezing as much range as possible out of the battery is irresistible, so apart from the odd burst of instant-torque acceleration, it’s more about economical driving.

I have a few criticisms. I would have liked some drive modes (no Sport or Normal – just one-pedal or not). And even though the C40 Recharge ticks lots of eco-friendly boxes, the lack of leather and Scandi chic wood veneers made the interior less special to me.

The lower roofline also results in a slight headroom penalty for rear passengers six-foot or over, while the rear window itself is more post box than panoramic, so the view behind is on the challenging side.

Volvo C40 Recharge

The C40 has less boot space than the XC40 Recharge, but there’s still a useful 413 litres of luggage capacity (down from 452 litres), or a total of 1,205 litres if you flip the 60/40 split rear bench (1,328 litres). That said, rear passenger legroom is generous.

Up front there’s a 31-litre compartment under the bonnet – ideal for storing charging cables. There are also plenty of storage spaces scattered inside the cabin for phones, water bottles and other clutter.

Needless to say, like all Volvos, the C40 is packed with the latest safety and driver assistance tech as standard, including lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic alert, autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and a 360-degree parking camera which makes it easier to get in and out of tight spaces.

However, at this price the C40 is up against tough EV competition – everything from the Hyundai Kona Electric, Skoda Enyaq and Kia e-Niro up to the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Polestar 2, Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron and Mercedes EQA.

Verdict: The stylish new Volvo C40 Recharge is a class act, blending performance, practicality and refinement with a good EV range and extensive safety features. At launch, the sole top-of-the-range model is on the expensive side, but in time the C40 will become more attainable as other variants are offered.

Volvo Cars UK

Skoda Enyaq iV review

Skoda Enyaq iV

Skoda’s first purpose-built electric vehicle is a revelation. In short, the Enyaq iV is the embodiment of the company’s winning blend of space, comfort, economy and value for money.

Closely related to its Volkswagen Group cousin, the ID.4, the Enyaq iV is a big SUV available with either a 62kWh or 82kWh battery, offering claimed ranges of between 256-331 miles.

A tad bigger and better looking than the ID.4, its distinctive design delivers serious road presence and excellent practicality.

Skoda Enyaq iV

Awarded a maximum five stars in Euro NCAP’s vigorous new testing regime, it’s also one of the safest cars on the road.

Autonomous emergency braking (AEB), road-sign recognition, lane-keep assist and cruise control are fitted as standard, along with Isofix points front and rear.

The Enyaq iV 60 uses a 62kWh battery and a 178bhp electric motor, with power fed to the rear wheels, resulting in a 0-62mph time of 8.8 seconds and up to 256 miles.

Skoda Enyaq iV

The Enyaq iV 80 has an 82kWh battery and 201bhp electric motor, again driving the rear wheels (331-mile range and 0-62mph in 8.7 seconds), while the four-wheel-drive ’80x’ has two electric motors, delivering 261bhp of power, a 6.9-second 0-62mph time and a range of 303 miles.

Priced from £32,010 (including the £2,500 Government EV grant), it represents fantastic value for money. Inside, there’s bags of room for all the family, lots of clever small storage spaces and a 585-litre boot, expanding to 1,710 litres with the rear seats folded.

There are six different interior trims to choose from, including recycled cloth. Up front it’s minimalist with few buttons. The large touchscreen infotainment display is less fiddly than the ID.4’s and there are piano-style buttons below to shortcut the key functions.

Skoda Enyaq iV

Despite its large dimensions and two-tonne weight, our Skoda Enyaq iV 80 test car didn’t feel like a handful on the road at all.

In fact, it’s more agile than you may expect, no doubt helped by its low-slung batteries and excellent weight distribution.

Effortlessly fast and gloriously refined, the ride is comfortable and there’s little body roll in more challenging corners.

Skoda Enyaq iV

The steering is accurate and nicely weighted, meaning that tighter manoeuvres are easier than you might think. And for a rear-wheel drive car, there’s an impressive amount of grip.

In other words, it is possible to have fun in an Enyaq, especially in Sport mode which gives maximum acceleration and performance. However, on longer cruises, Eco will do just fine as you endeavour to squeeze as many miles out of the battery pack as possible.

Skoda Enyaq iV

Like all EVs, it will charge on the move via regenerative braking (recovering energy otherwise wasted when slowing down or coasting). It can also be charged overnight at home, while a 10-80% charge using a 100kW rapid charger takes just over 30 minutes.

As with all EVs, real-world range will depend on many factors, including the outside temperature and driving style, but we’d say around 275 miles is quite possible in everyday driving.

Verdict: Spacious, comfortable, competitively-priced, well built and a doddle to drive, the all-new Skoda Enyaq iV is a game-changing electric family SUV.

Skoda UK

Skoda Enyaq iV

Skoda Enyaq iV transformed into a Popemobile

Home / Auto News / Skoda Enyaq iV transformed into a Popemobile

Gareth Herincx

3 days ago
Auto News

Pope Francis travels in skoda enyaq iv

Pope Francis is being treated to zero emissions travel courtesy of specially converted Skoda Enyaq iV EVs during his visit to Slovakia.

The two pure electric SUVs, plus two smaller Karoqs, were adapted according to the Vatican’s wishes.

To make it easier to see the Pontiff, clear glass windows in the rear of the vehicle have replaced the standard tinted side windows.

Chrome standard holders for the Vatican flag are mounted on the front wing of the passenger side and the official logo of the papal visit can be seen on the exterior mirror housings.

To make exiting the car more comfortable, an additional handle was also added. Additionally, the cars were all painted in black metallic and have black interiors.

This is the second time the head of the Catholic Church has travelled in vehicles from the Czech car manufacturer. Skoda previously provided four Rapid Spacebacks for Pope Francis during his two-day visit to Ireland as part of the World Meeting of Families in Dublin in 2018.

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Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who’s worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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Ford Mustang Mach-E review

Ford Mustang Mach-E review

The all-new, all-electric Mustang Mach-E is a big deal for Ford.

The Blue Oval may be late to the EV party, but this SUV is worth the wait with its combination of style, performance, driver engagement and practicality.

Starting at £41,330 and rising to £67,225, the Mach-E is available with rear or all-wheel drive, and with two different battery sizes delivering a range of up to 379 miles.

Ford Mustang Mach-E review

And while its “pony” badging and sculpted design are a nod to Ford’s iconic Mustang car, the similarity ends there because this EV muscle car is smooth, silent and emits zero emissions.

Your choice of Mach-E will depend on your priorities. The Extended Range with rear-wheel drive has the longest range (379 miles), while the quickest is the GT version (0-62mph in 3.7 seconds).

I tested the Mach-E AWD Extended Range (arguably the best all-rounder in the line-up), which competes with everything from the Volkswagen ID.4 and Skoda Enyaq to the Jaguar I-Pace and Audi e-tron.

Ford Mustang Mach-E review

Powered by a large 88kWh battery pack and a pair of electric motors (one on each axle), it delivers 346bhp and 580Nm, allowing an impressive 0-62mph time of 5.1 seconds.

Range on this model is officially up to 355 miles, but in everyday driving, 300 is achievable, while a typical charge of 10-80% can be reached in as little as 45 minutes via a rapid 150kW DC charger.

To look at it another way, it’s possible to add 73 miles in 10 minutes, though many owners will simply plug in from home and charge overnight.

Ford Mustang Mach-E review

I found the mileage covered matched the indicated range well in everyday motoring, though clearly the miles remaining will take a hit during winter and if you take full advantage of the performance available.

Naturally, the Mach-E’s acceleration is instant and rapid, and not quite as unnecessarily gut-wrenching as some electric rivals.

You can choose from three drive modes: Active, Whisper, and Untamed. Active is your default setting, Whisper is “the most relaxing way to enjoy Mustang Mach-E” and Untamed unleashes the car, sharpening the steering, enhancing the throttle response and boosting the fake interior engine noise.

Ford Mustang Mach-E review

Despite its two-tonne weight, the Mach-E feels surprisingly agile on more challenging roads, delivering a degree of driver engagement often missing in the EV sector.

Body control is impressive, thanks to the relatively firm suspension set-up, meaning it will stay flat in faster corners. Traction is superb, as is the grip, while the steering is swift, just as you’d expect from any Fast Ford.

Meanwhile, the brakes are strong and more progressive than some – a weak point in many EVs.

Ford Mustang Mach-E review

However, technology hasn’t been allowed to completely sanitise the driving experience, because even in all-wheel drive form, it’s possible to get the rear to step out.

Whether you agree with Ford’s decision to market this SUV as a Mustang or not, there’s no denying that the muscular styling is distinctive and there are enough design cues to legitimise the comparison with the automotive icon.

Signature elements include the long, powerful bonnet, rear haunches, mean headlights and trademark tri-bar tail-lights.

Ford Mustang Mach-E review

The Mach-E’s designers should also be commended for having the confidence to go their own way n certain areas. For instance, the door handles don’t pop out. In fact, there are no handles. Instead, you press a button on the B or C pillars and pull a streamlined ‘E-Latch”.

Inside, there’s a 15.5-inch portrait-mounted infotainment touchscreen in the centre console, plus a smaller 10.2-inch digital cluster behind the steering wheel for basic driving information, such as speed, battery percentage and remaining range.

Ford Mustang Mach-E review

Apart from screens, the cabin has a familiar Ford feel, so while it’s a pleasant and comfortable enough place to be, it doesn’t quite have the premium feel of some competitors.

That said, there’s plenty of space for five adults, while boot capacity is a useable 410 litres (expanding to 1,420 litres of space with the rear seats flipped). The front trunk (frunk) has a further 81 litres, though in practice this is the best place to store your charging cable.

Ford Mustang Mach-E review

So, all in all, the Mach-E is an impressive addition to the electric SUV scene. And frankly, when your biggest gripe is subjective (I couldn’t find a comfortable spot to rest my left foot), it’s a job done well.

Verdict: Ford’s first fully-fledged electric car has been worth the wait. With its combination of kerb appeal, driving dynamics, practicality and long range, the Mustang Mach-E is one of the most accomplished EVs in the crossover sector. Sometimes it’s fashionable to arrive late to a party.

Ford UK