A quarter of a century is a long time. Most people can hardly remember the first cell phones (back then with an extendable antenna) or the TV picture, which was far from 4K resolution. At least in color. It’s been 25 years since Volvo offered a vehicle with true rear-wheel drive. Since then, it’s just been front-scraper vehicles or all-wheel drive vehicles. The time of starvation is now over for fans of the active rear axle. The Volvo C40 Recharge Pure Electric Single Motor brings rear-wheel drive back to Sweden.

The buyer has the choice of choice when it comes to the e-crossover. However, front-wheel drive is left out of the C40 Recharge. It starts with 175 kW / 238 HP and the well-known battery with a capacity of 69 kilowatt hours (66 kWh net), which is enough for a maximum of 487 kilometers (WLTP cycle). If you prefer power, you can choose the all-wheel drive with 300 kW / 408 HP and the new batteries with 82 kWh capacity, whose energy content is good for a maximum of 550 kilometers. The range champion of the Volvo C40 Recharge is the version with 185 kW / 252 hp and rear-wheel drive in combination with the 82 kWh battery, which can nominally travel up to 582 km on one battery charge. To ensure that the time to cover this distance does not result in an ultra-long break, the chemical and technical improvements also result in higher DC charging power. Now it is 200 kW instead of the previous 150 kW. This means that the energy storage units are filled from ten to 80 percent within 28 minutes.

With the CMA platform (Compact Module Architecture), which is shared by various Geely, Polestar and Volvo models, the technical basis remains identical. But that’s almost all. The fact that the capacity of the “large” battery has increased by four kWh to 82 kWh is, among other things, the result of an improved electrolyte, which leads to a higher energy density. Efficiency is the sum of various properties and a very important component is the engine. This is no different for electric vehicles than for combustion engines. So the Swedes developed the permanent magnet synchronous motor (PSM) themselves and equipped it with an optimized silicon carbide inverter, which brings about five percent efficiency.

Volvo states the average consumption as 16.1 kWh/100 km. Our on-board computer reported 19.9 kWh/100 km. The performance is completely sufficient. The Volvo C40 Recharge Pure Electric Single Motor reaches the 100 km/h mark in 7.3 seconds and can reach speeds of up to 180 km/h. There could also be 368 kW / 500 hp drumming on the rear axle, but the Swedes stop at this top speed. As long as you don’t engage in speed duels, you’re moving fast enough. Especially since the elasticity between 70 and 120 km/h is definitely there and the Volvo doesn’t run out of air.

This makes driving more relaxing. The suspension tuning is also successful. Although the Volvo C40 Recharge Pure Electric Single Motor Extended Range is comfortably set up, the body does not wobble when driving over uneven ground. What’s striking is how quiet the interior is. The steering is not a model of sporty feedback, but it doesn’t leave the driver completely in the dark about the traction and allows you to rush through the curves calmly. If you want, you can adjust the steering to sporty settings using the touchscreen, but this only leads to greater restoring forces. In the corners you can also feel the weight of 2,095 kilograms including the tendency to understeer. Once you have internalized this and then accelerate too hard when accelerating, the rear and the ESP speak up almost at the same time. This shows once again: Volvo has a tradition of having whole hosts of assistance systems that intervene as soon as things get tight. By the way, you won’t find a driving mode switch. The Swedish technicians are more generous when it comes to recuperation options: In addition to “one pedal” driving and completely deactivating energy recovery, “Auto” is also available. The degree of deceleration then depends on the vehicle in front.

We like the simple Scandinavian design of the interior, so it’s a good thing that it hasn’t changed. Even if the wide edge of the nine-inch touchscreen now looks a bit old-fashioned and is reminiscent of previous generations of TV screens. Volvo’s infotainment is based on Google’s Android software. But anyone who thinks that this means completely intuitive operation is mistaken. It starts with the relatively small program tiles and ends with the sometimes nested menu navigation. There is no head-up display on board. When it comes to space, the C40 is in a two-class society due to its coupe shape. While there is enough space at the front, from 1.80 meters tall it becomes significantly tighter around the head at the back than is the case with its classically designed brother XC40.

The small rear window impairs the view to the rear, so the good old look over the shoulder and the camera help when maneuvering. The loading compartment also suffers: in the C40 the trunk has a volume of 413 to 1,205 liters (XC40: 452 to 1,328 liters). Both models have a frunk at the front that holds 31 liters. That still leaves the price, which for the test car with the top Ultimate equipment is 59,600 euros.