Flash Drive: 2008 Volvo C30
This 2008 review is representative of model years 2008 to 2013.
By Staff of MSN Autos
I love the style of this C30 — easily one of the best looking cars to come from Volvo in recent years. And I was surprised at how many heads it turned — I even had someone in my driveway to check out that “cool, new Volvo.” However, it looks sportier than it drives. Sure it has plenty of power from its turbocharged engine, and the 6-speed shifter is very smooth, but the C30 feels heavy, especially during acceleration and cornering. You can sense the heft of this coupe just by opening the door; it takes considerably more effort than expected. But the interior is comfortable, and by making the rear seat for just two it’s not as claustrophobic as it could be. With the safety of a Volvo and an eye-catching design, this would make a great car for a first-time buyer. — Perry Stern
It’s small, it’s turbocharged and it’s a hatchback, so my expectations for the C30 were similar to a Volkswagen GTI or a Subaru WRX. After just a few minutes in the C30 it was easy to conclude this car is not in their league. It’s not that the C30 is a bad car; it drives smoothly, the turbo has some punch and the handling is fine. But this is no pocket rocket, so if you have expectations about it being one, then the C30 might not be for you. The car looks solid and is complemented by aggressive-looking five-spoke wheels. Unfortunately, the rear reminds me of the 1970s AMC Pacer. On the inside, the left armrest is a bit too high for comfort, and the ventilation fan is noticeable even on its lowest setting. The mint-green glow from the gauges and the telephone-like radio preset buttons add an interesting touch. – Johnny Pak
With styling inspired by the legendary Volvo P1800 (including the tapered greenhouse and glass hatch), out on the street the C30 looks just as hip as it did at the auto show. The most amazing thing about the C30 is how much it feels like a Volvo — solid, safe and conservative — but it’s not as sporty as it looks. From behind the wheel you’ll never forget it’s a Volvo. That doesn’t mean it’s not fun to drive, because it is, with the turbocharged, 227-horsepower inline 5-cylinder delivering ample power across a wide rpm range, and a 6-speed manual to stir it up. Inside, the gauges are simple and easy to read and you’ll find Volvo’s now-requisite floating center stack. The rear seats are moved toward the center and rear-seat legroom is tight, requiring the front seat position to be compromised to accommodate an adult in back. – Mike Meredith