The Volvo C40 Recharge is a very strange car. Driving is great, but…this Android

Please do not take the following text as a test. These are just first impressions, you will have to wait for a professional review until the car is checked by Tomasz Niechaj from our editorial office – he does the best car reviews.

I had the Volvo C40 for testing over the May weekend. Unfortunately the change of plans meant I was staying in town and under these conditions I decided to check the car out. I drive my car mainly in the city – long trips to other cities are very rare in my case, so the test conditions reflect my driving “style” as much as possible.

Volvo C40 Recharge – drive and silence

Electric motors are known to be very quiet. In a less finished car, that means we hear every flaw exactly. Is it the creaking of plastic elements, the chassis noisily making holes or a poorly soundproofed cabin. The C40 passes such an examination perfectly. The car is very well equipped and finished, and there is also a brilliant muffler. All this makes listening to music from a very good sound system even more enjoyable. Perfect silence combined with your favorite music seeps into our ears so well that you don’t want to get out of the car.

Most of the time while driving around town, I listen to podcasts. The soundproofing and driving comfort effect of the C40 made me start driving even slower on the streets of Warsaw. Not because I have time to ride longer, but because I didn’t want to stop listening to my favorite podcast in such conditions.

Silence and driving comfort are the elements thanks to which you can absolutely fall in love with the Volvo C40.

The car is quite heavy for its dimensions, weighing almost 2.2 tons. You can feel it while driving, but only until you touch the accelerator with your foot. Then suddenly the weight of the car disappears somewhere and we start enjoying the acceleration. Well, there is something to be happy about, because the Volvo C40 accelerates to a hundred in 4.7 seconds. And this is the most realistic result. Hundred acceleration isn’t everything, however, the car responds well to harder pressure on the accelerator pedal, practically regardless of the speed at which we are driving.

The Volvo C40, as befits an SUV, can gently lean into a curve. However, this effect is not so noticeable that we experience discomfort while driving. On the other hand, the suspension itself deserves high praise – it is mechanical, but it chooses all the unevenness of the road very well. It’s not the known comfort of French cars, you can’t sail without mastering the car. It’s a perfectly fitting compromise between total control of the car and a well-tuned suspension. Every day I drive a BMW with a hard suspension and comparing it to the Volvo C40 I ​​really feel a very “nice” difference.

To sum up, I attach great importance to the comfort of driving the new Volvo C40. Driving this car is particularly relaxing and not very tiring, even though we spend most of our time on city streets.

The only element that spoils this idealistic image of ride comfort is rearward visibility. A very steeply sloping roof and two large headrests in the back of the seats means that you could practically throw the rear view mirror out of this car. You can’t see anything anyway – the field of vision is limited to a few meters behind our car. You can see that in this case practicality has lost the designer’s vision. For many people, this can definitely be a big deal.

Volvo C40 Recharge and Android Automotive

And here the stairs begin. Android Automotive is the main system that supports the Volvo C40. It can be said that it works effectively and that’s it at this point. When I first saw the standard car menu, I thought something was wrong. Little icons that can be counted on the fingers of one hand – and that’s supposed to be how a super modern car works? We can choose from the following applications: radio, range assistant, google maps, google assistant and an application to connect the phone (these are the most important). Of course, we can download other apps from the Google store. At first, however, everything seems quite strict, not to say mediocre.

The apps themselves are also unimpressive and problematic. For example, for 4 days of testing, I could not repair the radio. I could only listen to a few selected channels, mainly Polish radio. I don’t know why, I haven’t seen any settings that cause such a problem. I don’t understand why I couldn’t listen to RMF or Radio ZET in the city center – the problem is absurd and incomprehensible to me.

One of the most important applications, namely the range assistant. Sources of data about the approximate range of our car, what is the current energy consumption and that’s it. No driving history, no additional information – physically just two numbers on the screen. Also, I have great doubts as to whether the data I see in this app realistically reflects the range of the car, but more on that later.

The manufacturer Volvo C40 has decided that we will not have any influence on the safety systems of our car. They are in no way configurable and their settings cannot be changed. They are fair and that’s it. It was even difficult for me to verify which systems are really active at the system level of the car. It’s all very strange.

Of course, the car itself can be configured by choosing, for example, if we want to activate the off-road driving mode, if we want to modify the sound parameters of the car, the parameters concerning the lights, the windshield wipers , access to the car, etc. Ok, we can enable and disable lane keeping assist – this is probably the only option influencing the safety systems.

The undeniable advantage of Android in the Volvo C40 is the integration of google maps. They are visible both on the side screen and in the clocks view, including the navigation tips. It works very cool and very well. Navigation has been a problem for automakers for years. For years they have also been losing in this category to external applications, which are better, faster and much more up-to-date.

Volvo C40 Recharge – range

I won’t hide from you that my journeys were too short to draw any real conclusions. Instead, I will share my observations. When I picked up the car fully charged, I had a range of 300 km. He fell very quickly at 280 km and then a miracle happened. I drove about 100 km and the range decreased to 270 km. On the other hand, the battery dropped to 70%. So I actually lost 30 km of autonomy and 30% of battery. What’s worse, however, is that Android Automotive has yet to develop any driving reports. I was unable to verify historical results or even from a week ago.

Driving around town with this weight and with this power, the average fuel consumption is surprising. In the morning I do the standard 15km route, a little traffic jam, but without exaggeration. Volvo showed me an average energy consumption of 24 kWh/100 km. That’s a lot, especially since I didn’t press the accelerator pedal while driving on congested roads.

In mixed driving on the course of about 80 km, it was much better. The average was 16 kWh/100 km. This, however, because I only mentioned my observations. We will wait for the full tests until the car falls into the hands of Tomek Niechaj, who is the master at extracting every kWh from the car.

Call to car manufacturers

If the engine is the heart of the car, then the whole car management system is the brain. Do not return it to Apple or Google. I prefer that each system is different, that each solution is its own attempt to build the identity of the car and its brand. Realizes that it is an expensive pleasure. However, we already have experience with BigTech and giving them full control of the product doesn’t always end well.

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