Volvo XC40 Recharge
Swapping TG's long-term XC40 for a C40: what's the point of coupe-SUVs?
In our bid to live with every electric XC40 variant possible, we’ve swapped our XC40 Recharge, again. This time the XC40 Twin Motor makes way for something identical with a slightly different hat on- the C40 Recharge Twin Plus.
What started as a shocking anomaly with the BMW X6 in 2008 has, worryingly, now become the norm with manufacturers keen to eke out maximum model lines with minimum effort. For fifteen long years I’ve been trying to find a point in coupe-SUVs, leaving the door ajar for one to wow me with its avant-garde styling or present a useful reason for its existence, but despite everyone from Renault to Porsche jumping on the slopey-roofed SUV bandwagon they still baffle and annoy me in equal measure.
To be fair, pure-electric coupe SUVs like the Volvo C40 do have a tangible benefit; improved aerodynamic efficiency versus a more traditional, boxy SUV shape. And the result is… a WLTP-rated range of 278-miles, an 8-mile or 3 per cent increase. Hardly earth-shattering, is it? Especially when you consider the downsides.
I employed my parent’s highly-photogenic dog, Poppy, to demonstrate that while the C40’s boot is just about big enough for her (413-litres of space vs 452-litres in the XC40, both get the same 31-litre frunk) her slobbery face was unnecessarily close to the rear screen. And it’s not just Poppy with a sad face, rear passengers get less headroom too. And then there’s the fact that the C40 costs around £2,000 more than the equivalent XC40. Why? It uses less metal!
And then we arrive at the real elephant in the room – the design. In isolation, it’s not a bad-looking car – I quite like the stepped roof spoiler – but imagine sitting next to someone at a dinner party who proudly mentions they’ve bought a coupe SUV… you’re going to run a mile. It just reeks of trying too hard to be interesting when plainly you’re not.
And so to the conclusion of my highly-scientific investigation… if you want an SUV, have an SUV. And if you are the type of person seduced by an unnecessarily roofline, please don’t sit next to me at dinner.