MPG-o-Matic Volvo C30 Review Summary: The Volvo C30 is a distinctively styled three-door hatchback that competes with the Audi A3, Mazda Speed 3, Mini Cooper S, Subaru WRX, Volkswagen GTI, and R32.
The EPA gas mileage estimates for the 2008 Volvo C30 come in at 19 city / 27 highway, when equipped with the automatic transmission. Over a number of days of driving, we found those estimates to be a tad low, as we achieved 27.5 miles per gallon in combined driving in twenty to thirty degree weather.
There’s no mistaking the the C30 for anything else on the road, from its distinctive rear hatch and flowing rear quarters — with echos of the early 1970s Volvo P1800 — up to its unmistakably Volvo grille.
The attention to design detail is superb.
Under the hood, the 2008 C30 is fitted with a turbocharged 2.5 liter inline five cylinder engine rated at 227 horsepower and 236 foot pounds of torque.ﾠ
All those numbers add up to one thing. When you stomp on the gas pedal, the Volvo C30 gets up and goes.ﾠ
In this little beast, MPH trumps MPG … the C30 is a hot hatch … and isn’t an econobox, by any means.
Lets take a look inside the cabin …ﾠ
The first time you settle into the C30, you’ll be taken by the unique interior design. It’s a Scandinavian furniture showroom on wheels, intended for those who appreciate clean modern lines.ﾠ
Simplicity is king.ﾠ
The C30’s interior is comfortable, but snug. The wonderfully supportive front bucket seats are highly adjustable — including lumbar — through an array of manually operated levers. While there’s a surprising amount of room in the front seats overall, legroom in the rear bucket seats can be tight for taller folks.ﾠ
Although the hatch storage area might seem a tad small, there’s plenty of room for the groceries and ample visibility out the rear window.ﾠ
The C30’s sound system cranks out the tunes, with an integrated satellite radio, steering wheel controls, and one of our favorite features: a hidden iPod jack in the center console.ﾠ
The heating system features unique controls and remarkably forceful ventilation. Set it on high and it absolutely wails.ﾠ
Driving the C30 is a joy. There’s plenty of power and it holds the road with a more weighty feeling than you might expect from a car this small. Dynamic stability and traction control keeps the car glued.ﾠ
While the C30 comes standard with a six-speed manual, our test unit was outfitted with a Geartronic automatic . If you like to stir the gears without having to worry about a clutch, the slapstick Geartronic fits the bill.ﾠ
But be warned, just three gears and you’ll crest those legal speeds.ﾠ
This isn’t your Aunt Tillie’s Volvo and it isn’t an everyday hot hatch.ﾠ
All-in-all, we found the Volvo C30 to be an intriguing choice for folks in search of a solid sport compact coupe that stands apart from the crowd with distinctive styling cues. We’re hoping that Volvo will bring a fuel-stingy diesel engined equipped C30 to these shores in the near future.
– by Daniel Gray
February 25th, 2008
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