Overview & Reviews
The Volvo C30 may seem like a drastic departure for the Swedish automaker famous for sedans and wagons shaped like big blocks of cheddar, but in reality, it's not without significant family ties. Two-door hatchbacks are certainly not what people think of when Volvo enters a conversation, and true enough, the company hasn't sold one in North America since the 1800ES coupe of the 1970s. But there's a missing link in the C30's design evolution, a car intended for American roads but ultimately never brought over here: the Volvo 480. Sold in Europe from 1986-'95, this hatchback reveals a bit more of the family genes.
Like the 1800ES and 480, the Volvo C30 is a small two-door coupe with a large glass hatchback that provides a distinctive look and abundant rear visibility. Like the 480, the C30 features four bucket seats, front-wheel drive, a turbocharged engine and handling that's sporty but not quite at hot-hatch standards. We're glad that Volvo has once again deemed us worthy of its spunky entry-level coupe.
Current Volvo C30
The Volvo C30 is a compact four-seat, two-door hatchback that's offered in two trims: base T5 and sportier T5 R-Design.
Standard equipment highlights for the T5 include 17-inch alloy wheels, full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with audio controls, Bluetooth and an eight-speaker CD audio system with an auxiliary audio jack and USB input. Stepping up to the T5 R-Design adds 18-inch wheels, a quicker steering ratio, a sport-tuned suspension, color-coordinated exterior trim, a unique grille, leather seating and blue-faced gauges. Each trim can be upgraded with the Premier Plus or Platinum option packages, which add features such as LED daytime lights, a power sunroof, power seats, driver seat memory, a navigation system and a premium 10-speaker audio system.
Mechanically, the Volvo C30 bears some relation to the recently discontinued S40 sedan and V50 wagon. Its suspension has been tuned to be firmer, but otherwise this is still a car designed with comfort and everyday drivability in mind. Think of it as a warm hatch, not a hot one. Nevertheless, the C30's standard turbocharged five-cylinder engine makes a healthy 227 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, with a five-speed automatic optional. With the manual gearbox, the sprint to 60 mph takes just 6.6 seconds.
In reviews, our editors have commented favorably on the C30's spunky yet refined nature. It's sporty enough to satisfy most drivers, yet it retains a comfortable ride. We like the nifty "floating" center stack, too. We think the C30's low base price and lengthy options list should enable it to meet the needs of a variety of different buyers. Whether you're looking for Volvo safety at a budget price or a hip hatch, the C30 fills the bill. However, the numerous luxury options can elevate the C30 above 30-grand territory, and we're not sure it warrants that price.
Used Volvo C30 Models
The Volvo C30 debuted for the 2008 model year with different trim levels than the current car -- Version 1.0 and Version 2.0 -- but much the same available equipment. Two years later, cruise control and Bluetooth became standard and the previously available customization program essentially lived on through numerous options. Notably, the first year's navigation system was not as advanced as the hard-drive-based unit that came thereafter. Visually, the C30 hasn't changed much since, with the most prominent change taking place for 2011 when the grille and headlights were revised and enlarged to resemble other models in the Volvo lineup. Other than lacking Bluetooth audio streaming, a standard security alarm and LED running lights, these later C30s are similar to the current car.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 108.00
Superb GT / Shooting Brake - 2011 Volvo C30
By dccommuter - December 12 - 8:19 am
After the initial 2000 miles I am very pleased with this car. Excellent daily driver with very good performance. Actual gas mileage has exceeded expectations at 24 mpg around town and 31 mpg on a long highway trip. The distinctive looks draw a bit of attention. Rides much more comfortably and looks much better than the GTI in my view. Everything simply works well. I'm particularly happy with the cabin ergonomics. Have not had any wind noise issues as others reported. A refined and reasonably priced car given the free maintenance, especially now that end of year rebates are available.
Awesome Car - 2008 Volvo C30
By S.M. - December 2 - 7:00 am
Got the car last week. I love it, it is so much fun to drive. I also love that you don't see many on the street so you find people looking at your car wondering what it is. It has the perfect balance of a sports car and yet keeps the sophisticated feel of a Volvo. Much better buy than other cars in its class such as the volvo GTI, Civic SI, Mazda Speed 3, or Mini Cooper S. Test drove the rest and thought this one was the best choice.
Very nice and fun ride. - 2008 Volvo C30
By chudilo - October 27 - 6:46 am
I leased this car when it just came out, because I needed a small car, that was well built (or at least felt like it was), that would be fun to drive, with a decent amount of cargo space. I also considered, Audi A3 and the Volkswagen Golf. This car had better feeling materials inside then the VW. It handles very well. Suspension is in my opinion a perfect balance between harshness and handling. It's also pretty quick when you need that extra push and not too bad on gas if you're taking it easy.
Safety/ Quality issues - 2009 Volvo C30
By Humble77338 - September 14 - 12:36 am
I've had a Volvo for 5 yrs so I thought a C30 was the way to go when replacing my other car. Oh was I wrong. In the 1st 200 miles, my passenger air bag was not working (pregnant wife refuses to ride in my new car now). The service depat. told me that they couldn't fit it in on a Saturday...too many more important oil changes I suppose.The dealer kept it for 3 days, and now the problem seems to have resolved itself. This morning (mile 500) I have an oil leak under my car. I'm seeing that quality and safety are no longer top priorities with Volvo. Time to take it back again...more time off from work. Wish they would give me back my working trade-in so I could go elsewhere.
3 years and counting! - 2008 Volvo C30
By Jim in Quebec - August 10 - 1:36 am
This is the best car I have ever owned (13 over 42 years of driving). Purchased by C30 in May 2007 - still love getting into it every morning to drive to work. Excellent gas mileage on the highway with the T5 and 6-speed manual - less so in the city. Very comfortable for me (5'10") but my wife (5'4") doesn't find it all that comfortable. As she says, Volvo makes their cars for tall Vikings. Handles very well on ice and snow. Many compliments on its design from other drivers.
Rare Volvo - 2012 Volvo C30
By Annika - August 9 - 3:10 pm
Quickly appreciating. Same styling DNA as current lineup.
Try the diesel - 2008 Volvo C30
By Dejuan - June 2 - 6:43 pm
You Americans always make me laugh when mumbling and complaining about fuel economy and car prices. I have one of the first C30's diesel available (July 2007) 1.6 summum, 110 Hp, 0-100 (km) 10s, top speed 195km/h List price 30.000,- Euro, is like 45.000 US dollars. Diesel per liter euro 1,50, is like US dollar 2,25 The comfort and handling are great. For the US market I would suggest the 2.0 diesel (136 Hp) or the D5, (165- 180 Hp) Why not try diesel instead of petrol. In Europe a petrol car is almost a sin.
New volvo experience - 2009 Volvo C30
By New c30 owner - March 9 - 5:03 am
In general I am happy with my volvo c30 purchase. The 6 spd manual is fun to drive and it does carry a sleek look that is not too common. However I am missing the rear wheel drive fun of my last vehicle (mercedes c230). Really satisfied about the 5 yr bumper- to-bumper, 5 yr maint plus wear and tear I got with this purchase.
Most excellent - 2008 Volvo C30
By ted - February 23 - 7:23 am
Excellent car, handles like a dream, gets off the line fairly quickly. It could use some extra torque though, and you should do everything in your power to stay away from potholes (I cringe at the slam of my 18 inch wheels over concrete expansion joints), but luckily with its superb handling, you can avoid them without difficulty. The sound system is unreal, the car is just one huge menu system. Everything can be changed, adjusted, and tweaked to your exact specifications. I wish the front didn't look exactly the same as the S40 and V50, but it's a small price to pay for having the coolest car around.
"Perfect If you Need a Headache" - 2008 Volvo C30
By VolvoC30 grossinger - January 13 - 11:33 am
This car is perfect/awesome if you need a headache and you have lots of money to spend this is the right car for you, I purchased my car last 2 weeks ago, guess what! For just 1 day of rain, storm and a lil snow huu surprise!, when I open the the door water was all over my seats, take note both driver side and passenger side, so instead of enjoying the car, the mechanics are enjoying it at the dealer trying to find out where the leak is coming from so basically perfect for a car under 30g.