Sprint Review: 2023 Volvo C40

Here to save the planet (or your wallet) the Volvo C40 promises to be one of the cheapest entries into full EV motoring… for now.

You should know: Volvo has been threatening to go fully electric for years now, and we at NamWheels don’t mind because the Swedish brand is not a major player in our market. Even better, new Volvos have become achingly stylish in the last decade, so that should integrate beautifully with the hip new EV stuff.

What else? This 2,110kg crossover is the spitting image of its internal-combustion-powered XC40 cousin, a vehicle we love so much that we crowned it NamWheels Car of the Year 2019. Now missing a radiator grill (‘cause it doesn’t really need it) and sporting that desirable fast-back silhouette, this is a properly handsome machine.

More info: This twin-motor “Ultimate” version offers 300kW or 660Nm, which means 0-100 in 4.7 seconds and a theoretical range just north of 500km. We tested its performance and achieved a best sprint time of 4.83 seconds, with a 13.22 quarter mile (at 107.34mph) and 100 to zero brake test of just 2.6 seconds and 37.31 meters.

More interesting figures include a 2-year/30,000km service interval, 490 to 1,205L cargo area, 11.4m turning radius and 171mm of ground clearance. You also get adaptive cruise control, plenty of airbags and USB sockets, plus a multi-mode drive response with off-road setting. Because this car has a motor on each axle.

Why you shouldn’t: Starting at roughly 1.325 million bucks, this isn’t exactly affordable, nor does it represent good value considering its size. And glossing over the difficult EV birth, we’re not exactly surrounded by fast chargers so I tried charging it at my home… which would take two whole days to replenish the empty battery.

While I absolutely adored this press car’s alloy wheels and blue floor-to-door carpeting, the latter felt a bit rough to the touch. The digital gauge cluster layout is extremely limited (so why bother?) and the infotainment system was clearly designed by someone who doesn’t own a car. Also, that sexy sloping roofline culminates in a letterbox-sized rear window… which reveals mostly sky. 

Why you should: If you have access to reliable charging system, this car’s supercar-scaring performance (especially off the line) will be nothing short of thrilling. Ditto for its stealthy cruising abilities, softly beeping reverse commotions, or a simply addictive one-pedal driving mode which negates the need for a brake pedal.

Each Volvo C40 is sold with a 5-year/100,000km vehicle warranty and maintenance plan, as well as an 8-year/160,000km battery warranty.


Engine:Twin electric motors  
Transmission:n/a / AWD
Max. Power:300kW
Max. Torque:660Nm
Avg. cons.:n/a
0-100km/h:4.83 seconds (claimed 4.7)
Top Speed:Claimed 180km/h
List Price:R1,324,000

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