2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge, C40 Recharge rediscover rear-wheel drive

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The revamped 2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge and C40 Recharge that arrive at U.S. dealerships later this yr will provide rear-wheel drive in a Volvo for the primary time because the Nineteen Nineties. 

Thirty-plus years in the past, the auto trade was deep right into a messaging marketing campaign that threw apart rear-wheel-drive norms—and people splendidly utilitarian Volvos that made it to the U.S. as much as that time—and advised us front-wheel drive was the longer term. Volvo entered the ‘90s with an all-rear-wheel-drive lineup and exited it with out a single RWD mannequin, and it hasn’t regarded again. Till now. 

For EVs, with their heavy battery packs positioned across the center of the car, issues are totally different, Volvo says. It’s determined that with extra weight on the rear wheels and with the smarts of contemporary traction and stability management, rear-wheel-drive is definitely higher. The corporate is losing no time in making it so—even when, as is the case right here, the platform was initially engineered for front-wheel drive. 

2024 Volvo C40 Recharge

2024 Volvo C40 Recharge

2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge

2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge

2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge

2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge

Volvo says that the shift to rear-wheel drive for the brand new single-motor C40 and XC40 Recharge fashions leads to “a extra dynamic and agile driving expertise, with sharper steering and improved traction.” Whereas it hasn’t earlier than supplied the single-motor mannequin within the U.S., it’s coming now—and Volvo has additionally shifted to a rear-wheel-biased format for dual-motor variations. 

The rear-wheel-drive model additionally presents a dramatic enhance in vary—from 223 and 226 miles for 2023 dual-motor XC40 and C40 Recharge fashions, respectively, as much as 293 and 297 miles for 2024 single-motor variations. The 2024 dual-motor fashions are actually as much as 254 and 257 miles, respectively. 

Whereas the change to rear-wheel drive—and that increased vary and effectivity—stands out as the headlines for the 2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge and C40 Recharge, there are some ulterior motives. These fashions mark the primary use of Volvo’s personal electrical motor, engineered and constructed in-house in Sweden, in a transfer which will assist Volvo hold prices underneath management because it shifts to an all-EV lineup by 2030. 

Volvo electric motor in C40 and XC40 Recharge

Volvo electrical motor in C40 and XC40 Recharge

The brand new Swedish motor has a permanent-magnet design and in single-motor variations produces 248 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque—sufficient to get to 60 mph in an official 6.9 seconds, in keeping with Volvo. Twin-motor all-wheel variations get the identical rear motor plus a 147-hp asynchronous (induction) motor on the entrance wheels, which nonetheless comes from a provider; they make a mixed 402 hp and sprint to 60 mph in a claimed 4.5 seconds, which is identical because the 2023 fashions, however punch as much as 494 lb-ft of torque, versus 487 lb-ft for the 2023 fashions.

Single-motor rear-wheel-drive fashions get a brand new, barely bigger battery pack, too. At 82 kwh (78 kwh usable) versus 78 kwh (75 kwh usable) for the carryover pack, the brand new pack stays T-shaped to suit this platform initially supposed for combustion engines, but it surely makes use of bigger CATL prismatic cells slightly than smaller LG pouch cells. With new-generation cells and a few cooling benefits, the pack permits a peak 200 kw for DC fast-charging, versus a peak 150 kwh, slicing 10-80% charging to twenty-eight minutes from 34 minutes. 

2024 Volvo C40 Recharge

2024 Volvo C40 Recharge

I didn’t get the prospect to cost these fashions at a drive program in Sweden, however from a mixture of driving I did observe effectivity figures that affirm a real-world vary of greater than 250 miles for both mannequin. Count on a bit much less at freeway speeds or in chilly climate, in fact, however some or all of those fashions may have a warmth pump to heat the batteries and enhance vary in chilly climate.

The stouter rear motor makes for a better-driving EV. It required a brand new rear subframe, and that offered the chance to utterly retune these fashions’ suspensions. As Erik Joelsson, the supervisor for NVH and car dynamics for the undertaking, defined to Motor Authority, the preliminary purpose was to tune the brand new fashions about the identical as front-drive ones. However the crew opted for decrease spring stiffness this time, then dialed up the damaging camber in again to deal with the facility on the rear wheels, and it labored to damp out high-frequency harshness for higher consolation. 

2024 Volvo C40 Recharge

2024 Volvo C40 Recharge

The consequence, as I felt on slightly coarse-surfaced, slim, sometimes-heaving backroads round Gothenburg, impresses as extra settled and splendid however not any much less athletic (I’ve pushed a 2023 C40 Recharge fairly not too long ago). In driving each a dual-motor C40 Recharge after which a single-motor XC40 Recharge, I discovered the latter to be extra rewarding in tight corners, with extra exact steering and predictability. All of the dual-motor’s energy pulls the car by way of corners with extra pace and fewer finesse, and that’s addictive in its personal method—though if general stability and poise win out over additional traction plus brute acceleration, the rear-drive model is the higher one. 

As with another current Volvo fashions, each the agency steering and excessive regenerative braking settings have been a bit a lot. This isn’t a efficiency car and it feels extra in its factor with each off—though slightly extra brake regen could be greatest. 

2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge

2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge

2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge

2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge

2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge

2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge

Volvo isn’t losing any time getting the concept out. Due within the second half of the yr within the U.S., these fashions don’t mess with the inherent goodness of this compact-SUV bundle, which is smaller than the Tesla Mannequin Y or Mercedes EQB however extra distinctive inside than an Audi This autumn E-Tron. Each of those fashions provide a few of the greatest entrance seats in any compact SUV—with extendable thigh cushions—and I used to be stunned to search out that at 6-foot-6 I might match simply positive within the again seat behind an average-height driver. The one packaging compromise stays the constricting middle console format, sneaking in treasured battery house to this ICE platform however narrowing the footwells in entrance. 

Volvo hasn’t but revealed pricing for these revamped fashions, however anticipate single-motor variations to begin within the low-$50,000 vary. Modifications are restricted in any other case to a brand new 19-inch aero alloy wheel design, a few new exterior hues, and some minor function adjustments—together with new cornering lamps and pixel headlight tech for high Final trims. As earlier than, the lineup can be supplied in base, Plus, and Final trim ranges. 

2024 Volvo C40 Recharge

2024 Volvo C40 Recharge

In the end, the 2024 XC40 and C40 Recharge set a great precedent forward of targeted electrical automobiles just like the EX90 and EX30 electrical SUVs. Volvo cares about getting all of the fundamentals proper, even when it means returning to a rear-wheel-drive previous and remaking a few of its current. 


Volvo paid for journey and lodging for Motor Authority to carry you this firsthand report.

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