Review: 2008 Volvo C30
This 2008 review is representative of model years 2008 to 2013.
By Dan Jedlicka of MSN Autos
The new Volvo C30 hatchback coupe fits in the emerging market for small, upscale cars such as the MINI Cooper and upcoming Smart model. It's the smallest Volvo ever sold in America except for about 70 long-forgotten P1900 sports cars made in the 1950s.
High gasoline prices are fueling that youth-oriented market, although it remains to be seen if many Americans will buy small, upscale cars that cost as much as larger ones — although the C30 is bigger than the MINI.
The 2008 C30 is the lowest-cost 2008 Volvo. But the automaker says the car is built to the same principles as other Volvos, starting with a solid body.
The wedge-shaped C30 is fun to drive. It's a curvy, stylish, front-wheel-drive coupe derived from Volvo's S40 sport sedan, although it's 8.5 inches shorter and 320 pounds lighter.
There are two trim levels: the $22,700 1.0 and $25,700 2.0. Both have a good number of comfort, convenience and safety features.
Custom Build Program
In fact, Volvo says it will be difficult to find two C30s that are exactly alike.
Front seats are supportive, but the seatback adjustment control is awkward to use. And seat belts are not easily reached when you try to pull them to a fastening position. Backlit gauges can be easily read, even if a driver is wearing sunglasses — often not the case.
There's a small, deep storage bin behind the cupholders, and doors have small storage pockets.
The hatch is easy to open or shut with two fingers. However, the hatch opening is high and not conventionally shaped. The cargo area is moderately large, and the backs of the two bucket-style rear seats can be flipped forward for additional cargo space.
Strong Turbo Engine
The engine is smooth and provides good merging and passing. It lets the 149-mph C30 do 0-60 mph in 6.2 seconds with the standard, slick-shifting 6-speed manual transmission and in 6.6 seconds with the responsive $1,250 automatic, which has a manual shift feature.
Volvo national spokesman Dan Johnston said Volvo expects that 60 percent of initial C30 buyers will order the manual transmission, but that eventually about 80 percent of the car's buyers will choose the automatic.
Fuel economy is an estimated 19 mpg in the city and 28 on the highway with the manual transmission and 19 and 27 with the automatic. Only regular-grade gasoline is needed.
Occasional Choppy Ride
Ford-owned Volvo doesn't plan to make the C30 a high-volume 2008 model in America, but this new coupe promises to make small, upscale cars more attractive.