Around 1963, the word "fastback" became popular in automotive circles. It meant a long, sloping roof, often extending to or nearly to the backside of a vehicle. Think '63 Corvette, '65 Mustang 2+2, '66 Dodge Charger. The style could be traced on and off back to the 1940s, but the word really took hold in the sixties.
The fastback thing went on for a while, then faded away. Eventually, someone was going to attempt a revival. Thirteen years ago, Honda dipped a toe in the water with the Honda Crosstour and the Acura ZDX . Public opinion was not good. The water was full of jellyfish and sharks. Honda got out as quickly as it could. But since then, there's been a new attempt---one that's arguably working better: Take a crossover SUV, and replace the right-angled roof and tailgate with---well, a fastback. Think Mercedes GLE Coupe and BMW X4.
Volvo has rarely been trendy (for decades, their fame came from cars that looked like they were styled with a ruler), but the C40 Recharge Twin Ultimate shows that they are not immune to jumping on a bandwagon when there's one around.
The C40 Recharge Twin Ultimate is for all intents and purposes, the crossover SUV XC40
Recharge Twin Ultimate---but with a fastback roof.
That means several good things. First, it's an electric vehicle, sharing the same 402 horsepower twin electric motor setup. That means outrageous performance. Sixty from a standing start? Four-point-three seconds. As I noted in the March review of the XC40 Recharge Twin Ultimate: "That's exactly as fast as the 2022 Lexus IS 500 F SPORT Performance I reviewed in February. It's 6/10ths of a second quicker than the Acura TLX Type S. It is only 2/10ths of a second slower to 60 than the Dodge Durango SRT 392 AWD." And none of those cars do it without using a drop of gasoline or putting a particle of tailpipe emissions into the air. Range is 223 miles on a single charge, it is DC fast charging capable at speeds up to 150kw and buyers get a year or 250kw worth of free charging at Electrify America stations nationwide.
There are three price levels for the 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge. The Core model starts at $56,395. The Plus, beginning at $57,945, adds a power passenger seat, power folding rear head restraints, and a foldable load floor with cargo divider and grocery bag holder. And the Ultimate, like our tester, begins at $60,100, adding a heat pump, air-ventilated subwoofer and a heated steering wheel.
It hadn't happened when I had the C40 in mid-May, but Volvo's long-promised over the air software update of its new Android-based infotainment system to be compatible with Apple CarPlay is finally a reality.
Sixty-one and change (including destination and before options) for a small crossover EV isn't cheap. But the C40 Recharge Twin Ultimate is also a stealthy eco-muscle car---a unique selling proposition if ever there was one.