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Sibling Rivalry: 2022 Volvo C40 versus 2022 Volvo XC40

Volvo has you covered if you’re shopping for a traditional SUV shape or sleeker coupé-like profile.

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As Canadians flock towards small and luxurious SUVs like never before, Volvo is here with its conventional XC40 SUV and fresher C40 coupé/SUV models. Both offer room for five on board, all-wheel drive, and battery-electric powertrains. Which do we think is the better buy?

 

What Is the 2022 Volvo C40?

In its most straightforward description, the new 2022 Volvo C40 is a Volvo XC40 with a coupé-like roofline. Volvo describes it differently, saying it “has all the benefits of an SUV but with a lower and sleeker design.” Unlike its XC40 sibling, there are no plans for a C40 with a gasoline-only engine—it has been built ground-up to only run on electricity, coming only with Volvo’s “Recharge” battery-electric powertrain trim.

 

What Is the 2022 Volvo XC40?

The 2022 Volvo XC40 turns heads with its unique styling and has a lot of practicality for such a small SUV. The seating space is pretty generous, it’s loaded with modern tech features, and as you’d expect from a Volvo, it earns stellar safety ratings with the coveted IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award. In addition to two turbocharged gas engines, the XC40 can also be had with Volvo’s Recharge battery-electric powertrain.

 

How Much Do the Volvo C40 and Volvo XC40 Cost?

As mentioned, the 2022 Volvo C40 is only available in the Recharge trim. Unlike some other automakers, Volvo doesn't charge more for the C40 Recharge's "coupé" styling, as its starting Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price of $59,950 in Canadian dollars mirrors the XC40 Recharge's price. The optional Plus ($10,045) and Ultimate ($13,950) packages are also identically priced for both Volvos.

Where the XC40 differs is in the availability of a turbocharged 4-cylinder gas engine. The XC40 T4 starts at $39,950, and the slightly more powerful T5 at $43,000 in base Momentum trim. Starting at $48,700, the sportier T5 R-Design trim has glossy black detailing, specific wheels, and a unique interior. The luxury-oriented XC40's T5 Inscription trim adds chrome exterior detailing, special wheels, and exclusive leather seating, and starts at $49,750,

All Volvos come with the automaker's 4-year/80,000-kilometre factory warranty.

Winner: 2022 Volvo XC40

 

How Do the Interiors of the C40 and XC40 Compare?

The C40 is the first Volvo that’s completely leather-free. Its carpet is made from recycled plastic bottles, and the trim panels on the dash and doors feature actual topography from Abisko national park in Sweden. The other main element of the C40 interior is its prominent 9-inch multifunction touchscreen controller. As in the XC40 Recharge, the infotainment system was developed in conjunction with Google and uses the Android operating system. 

Like its sibling, the XC40 has one of the nicest interiors in its competitive class. The design is upscale, and the quality of the materials is top-notch. It’s exceptionally luxurious in the Inscription trim, including high-quality leather seats, driftwood inlays, and even an Orrefors crystal gear shift knob. We really like the driver’s seat and driving position of the C40/XC40. You get a commanding outward view—at least in the front.

It’s no surprise the interior space of these two Volvos is nearly identical, but there are some differences. 

The C40 offers 10 millimetres of additional front headroom (1,040) over the XC40; its sibling’s higher rear roofline allows for 974 mm of rear headroom; compared to only 932 in the C40. And the C40’s rear suffers from a small back window and thick side pillars. With 489 litres of rear cargo space, the C40 is nearly as roomy in the back as the boxier XC40, which has 587. When comparing the battery-electric Recharge trims, the C40 and XC40 offer an additional 30 litres of space in a front trunk.

Winner: 2022 Volvo XC40

 

What Are the Differences between the Performance and Fuel Economy of the Volvo Siblings?

The battery-electric Recharge trims of the C40 and XC40 share a 2-motor setup (an electric motor at each end to allow for all-wheel drive) plus a lithium-ion battery pack mounted low in the chassis between the front and rear axles (also found in the 2022 Polestar 2). In both Volvos, the combined output is 402 horsepower, backed by a substantial 487 pound-feet of torque. 

The C40 Recharge is a bit more energy-efficient, with a 2.7 Le100 km estimate compared to the XC40 Recharge’s 2.8 number and a 364-km electric driving range versus 359 with the XC40.

If going all-electric doesn’t work for you, the XC40 offers a turbocharged 2.0-litre 4-cylinder gas engine in two tunes. The T4 is rated at 187-hp and 221 lb-ft, with a 9.3 litres per 100 km city/highway combined estimate. The optional T5 revs slightly higher, making 248-hp and 258 lb-ft, with a 9.4 L/100-km estimate. There’s nothing extraordinary about how the Volvo XC40 drives with the base T4 powertrain. If you upgrade to the more robust T5 AWD setup, this SUV becomes much more fun to drive. The T4 is adequate, but since the T5 is only an extra $3,050 for a significant boost in power, it’s a worthwhile upgrade for most drivers.

Winner: 2022 Volvo XC40

 

What Are the Ride and Handling Differences between These Volvo Siblings?

As they share so much engineering, the main differences between the driving characteristics of these Volvo sub-compact SUV siblings are between the battery-electric Recharge and the gas-XC40 trims. 

Both the C40 and XC40 Recharge are silent and surprisingly swift on highways. Punching the accelerator will quickly remind you that you are driving an all-wheel drive EV with plenty of juice that comes on with the immediacy of a light switch. 

Yet Volvo has also aimed to make the driving experience simple and easy. Unlike other vehicles—electric or otherwise—there aren’t a half dozen drive modes to decide between. Your main choices are an off-road setting and another that stiffens steering feel, a trait some driving enthusiasts may enjoy on twisty roads.

Since both Volvos share a relatively short (2,702-mm) wheelbase and a well-tuned chassis, the handling is fairly agile. The XC40 gets sportier in the T5 R-Design trim with its sport-tuned suspension and bigger wheels. Neither Volvo is much of an off-roader, but they have good ground clearance. Volvo’s AWD system delivers confidence-inspiring traction in wet or snowy road conditions.

Winner: Tie

 

Should You Buy a 2022 Volvo C40 or a 2022 Volvo XC40?

At the beginning of this article, we acknowledged that the differences between the Volvo C40 and XC40 would be discreet. With similar engineering, design, and on-road characteristics, it really comes down to a few decisions to pick the Volvo that best meets your needs.

Available in only battery-electric Recharge trim, the C40 delivers a sleeker profile and a bit more efficiency for the same price as the electric version of its sibling.

With its roomier interior, the availability of gas powertrains and optional packages that can change the vehicle's personality, we think the XC40 is the better overall Volvo luxury subcompact SUV.

Overall Winner: 2022 Volvo XC40

Specs

2022 Volvo C40 Recharge

2022 Volvo XC40

Engine(s)

Two permanent-magnet synchronous motors
78-kWh lithium-ion battery pack

T4/T5: 2.0-litre Turbocharged I4

Recharge: Two permanent-magnet synchronous motors
78-kWh lithium-ion battery pack

Horsepower

402

T4: 187 @ 4,700 rpm

T5: 248 @ 5,500 rpm

Recharge: 402

Pound-feet of Torque

487

T4: 258 @ 1,800-4,800 rpm

Recharge: 487

Transmission(s)

1-speed automatic

T4/T5: 8-speed automatic

Recharge: 1-speed automatic

Drivetrain

All-wheel drive

All-wheel drive

Fuel Economy

2.7 Le/100 km/364 km range

T4: 9.3 L/100 km combined (10.7 city, 7.6 hwy)

T5: 9.4 L/100 km combined 10.7 city, 7.7 hwy)

Recharge: 2.8 Le/100 km/359 km range

Warranty

4 years/80,000 km

4 years/80,000 km

Max Seating Capacity

5

5

Base Curb Weight

2,132 kgs

T4: 1,692 kg

T5: 1,700 kg

Recharge: 2,118 kgs

Wheelbase

2,702 mm

2,702 mm

Overall Length

4,440 mm

4,425 mm

Width

1,910 mm

1,910 mm

Height

2,219 mm

2,129 mm

Headroom, Front

1,002-1,040 mm

955-1,030 mm

Headroom, Rear

932 mm

974 mm

Legroom, Front

1,040 mm

1,040 mm

Legroom, Rear

917 mm

917 mm

Shoulder Room, Front

1,440 mm

1,440 mm

Shoulder Room, Rear

1,429 mm

1,429 mm

Cargo Volume Front Trunk

31 litres

Recharge: 30 litres

Cargo Volume Behind Rear Seats

489 litres

578 litres

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