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Old 12-13-2006, 05:05 PM   #1
NYCshopper
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Default First Drive: 2008 Volvo C30 (edmunds.com)

First Drive: 2008 Volvo C30 (edmunds.com)

http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do...ticleId=118818



Quote:
A funky Volvo for the young and young at heart

If you're under 40, chances are you haven't ever craved a Volvo. Well, be prepared to crave. With the 2008 Volvo C30, Volvos will no longer only be bought by those who value practicality, safety and understated versatility.

Volvo's marketing boffins are claiming the C30 is a sport coupe that will appeal to couples aged 25-35 who are yet to breed, or the over-50s whose children have fled the nest. Moreover, they reckon that 75 percent of customers will be new to the Volvo brand. This Volvo seeks to steer trendy, affluent urbanites away from Audi TTs, Mini Coopers and Volkswagen GTIs, and it's priced to do so, starting around $23,000.

Although the C30 arrives in the U.S. next summer, it has already gone on sale in Europe so we headed for the U.K. and sampled one on the wrong side of the road.

A cool Volvo?
Designed under the direction of Peter Horbury, the C30 was the last car he did before leaving Volvo to lead Ford's design team in North America. It was Horbury who revolutionized Volvo's styling in the '90s, replacing the angular monotony of the old models with a new curvaceous, distinctive design language. The C30 is the ultimate expression of this vision.

The shape was previewed in the Safety Concept Car (SCC), which was shown at the Detroit auto show in 2001. The positive public reaction gave the management the confidence to put it into production. While the front end is instantly recognizable as a member of the contemporary Volvo family, the unusual hatchback rear draws inspiration from the classic 1800ES of the 1970s.

Static pictures tend to flatten the C30's curves, particularly the manner in which the windows taper to the rear. In the metal this is a modern, distinctive and undeniably handsome car. This may well be the first Volvo that can justifiably be described as "cool."

Four-seater cabin
With its two individual rear chairs pushed toward the center of the car, the C30 is strictly a four-seater. While it's positively commodious compared to an Audi TT, this is not a family car. Adults will find the rear accommodation adequate for short journeys, though two 6-footers will struggle to sit in tandem. The trunk capacity is also modest golfers will have trouble accommodating their beloved clubs although it can be extended by folding down the rear seats.

The dashboard will be familiar to drivers of other Volvos, including the C70, S40 and V50. The distinctive "floating" console is present and correct, although it can now be specified with an aluminum surf pattern or even with a glossy white finish, inspired by an iPod. Our test car boasted a more conservative aluminum. The quality is good, but it's a shame that such a youth-oriented car doesn't feel a little more sporting. We'd like to see supplementary dials, such as a turbo and oil temperature gauge and more side bolstering for the otherwise comfortable seats.

As you'd expect from Volvo, there's a plethora of safety features including front, side and curtain airbags. Stability control will be standard across the range, as will Volvo's IDIS (Intelligent Driver Information System), which delays certain functions, such as a phone call, if the driver is engaged in a more complicated maneuver (heavy braking, turning etc.). Customers can also expect a generous luxury specification with several "premium" options, including high-grade audio.

One engine
The C30 will be launched with just one engine, a 2.5-liter five-cylinder turbo, borrowed from the S40 and V50. Dubbed the T5, it generates 216 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 236 pound-feet of torque between 1,500 and 4,800 rpm. This engine is available with either a six-speed stick shift or a five-speed auto, which has the added benefit of a sequential shift facility. Our test car featured the latter.

Searingly rapid it isn't, but the C30 T5 is swift. The turbo is only lightly stressed so lag is never a problem and it has a distinctive five-cylinder hum. It also works well with the Geartronic transmission. Volvo says zero to 62 mph takes 7.1 seconds (6.7 for the manual) and top speed is 146 mph (149 for the manual). The last Cooper S we tested hit 60 mph in 7.4 seconds, while the last GTI needed 7.2, so the C30 T5 is quick for its class.

Although the turbo five-cylinder suits the C30's character well, don't rule out other engines in the C30's future Volvo's 168-hp 2.4 looks like a good bet.

It's no sports car
Based on Ford's C1 platform, the C30 shares its underpinnings with the S40, V50 and the second-generation (European) Focus. The MacPherson-strut front and multilink rear suspension is also a tried and trusted formula. The tune is more sporting than the S40 Volvo spotters will notice the firmer ride quality but the difference can be overstated. This is still no sports car.

The C30 is capable in the manner of Audi's A3. That is to say it is safe, predictable and blessed with plenty of grip. However, the enthusiast will still want for greater agility and more steering feel. The Focus ST uses the same basic ingredients but delivers a more engaging drive without any significant diminution in the ride quality. If Volvo is serious about producing a sport coupe, then it could do worse than to look to its stablemate for inspiration. What price an "R" version?

Conclusion
Volvo has modest expectations for the C30 of the 65,000 it expects to build each year, all but 25 percent will be sold in Europe. Given the C30's price tag, left-field image and compact dimensions, these aspirations seem sensible.

Those buyers who do take the plunge will find themselves driving something genuinely different. More distinctive than a BMW 3 Series coupe but more practical than a Mini or an Audi TT, it has a genuine depth of ability.

We wish it were a little more exciting to drive but the 2008 Volvo C30 does appeal as a non-default choice even if you're under 40.









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Old 12-13-2006, 05:20 PM   #2
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I like this car, but I don't know if I could ever buy one. I always think of hatches as being convenient, but only 4 seats and a small trunk sort of compromise the utility of this vehicle.
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Old 12-13-2006, 05:26 PM   #3
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can't wait to see it in person and test drive it
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Old 12-13-2006, 05:33 PM   #4
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There is something delightful about that car.
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Old 12-13-2006, 05:38 PM   #5
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I dont want FWD, and I DO want sporty... Everything else I like about this car.
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Old 12-14-2006, 09:02 AM   #6
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I predict a C30R is not far in the future if this car sells well... then watch out!!!
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Old 12-14-2006, 10:53 AM   #7
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A C30R would probably be very expensive. Nice, but heavy and not much more fun.

Car magazines rarely look at the potential to make a basic car better. With some firmer struts, springs, roll bars, and tires a plain C30 could be as fun to drive as you want to make it without having to consider an R version.

AWD in a C30 would be nice, though.
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Old 12-14-2006, 11:43 AM   #8
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I really, really like this car. I'd love to have it in 2-3 years. I'm kind of glad its not AWD too, because its already porky, with AWD it would probably close to 350Z weight. FWD may not be the ideal, but it isn't as bad as everyone on this forum will try to say it is.

Rumor has it on the C30 forums that a C30R would have DSG transmission, 300 horsepower, and AWD.
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Old 12-14-2006, 01:39 PM   #9
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I've been following the news on this car a while. Already accepting orders for winter delivery in Europe, April in Canada and sometime later for the US (summer/fall 07).

Canadian prices released today (14 DEC):

http://www.canadiandriver.com/news/061214-4.htm

C30 Forum:

http://www.c30world.com/
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Old 12-14-2006, 07:42 PM   #10
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The first numbers I saw were indicating around $26k, and that's just crazy money, Sveedish oontz or no. At the $23k in this article, it starts to sound a lot more reasonable, but the Mazdaspeed 3 at $22k-ish on the same Ford C1 platform with more torque and power stock makes for tough competition. Especially when it's a more practical 4-door.

Tough choice. Edge to the Mazda, at this point, for my money. If Volvo brings a ~ 265HP AWD T5-R version the calculus changes, but of course knowing Volvo it'll also be further luxed up, and getting very near EVO/STi money. And that's a hell of a lot of money for a 3-door hatch with a poorly-performing AWD system...
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Old 12-14-2006, 07:46 PM   #11
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I dont care how good the Mazdaspeed 3 engine is, theres no way i'd buy it over the C30.
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Old 12-14-2006, 07:50 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kostamojen View Post
I dont care how good the Mazdaspeed 3 engine is, theres no way i'd buy it over the C30.
Just out of curiosity, why not?
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Old 12-14-2006, 08:46 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chromer View Post
Just out of curiosity, why not?
The C30 trumps it in terms of what I want in a car, both interior wise and exterior wise, and that 5-cylinder turbo motor is no slouch.

But truthfully, there have been quite a few disgruntled Mazda 3 owners... Not sure I'd like to jump on that bandwagon.
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Old 12-14-2006, 08:51 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kostamojen View Post
I dont care how good the Mazdaspeed 3 engine is, theres no way i'd buy it over the C30.
I agree. I really want to like... even love... the Mazdaspeed 3. I just can't.

~~Quentin
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Old 12-14-2006, 09:03 PM   #15
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Whats up with the key slot....It looks very outta place right there!!!
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Old 12-16-2006, 12:22 AM   #16
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I'm glad to see that european influence in US soil!! We need to well receive this cars here so we can get some more from the old continent!
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Old 12-16-2006, 10:21 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCRAPPYDO View Post
I predict a C30R is not far in the future if this car sells well... then watch out!!!

Bingo.
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Old 12-16-2006, 10:23 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VWGrk1 View Post
I like this car, but I don't know if I could ever buy one. I always think of hatches as being convenient, but only 4 seats and a small trunk sort of compromise the utility of this vehicle.
Two more comfortable seats in the rear is much more useful than the 3 across setup. I can't imagine five people in a four door Impreza, let alone a smaller car.
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Old 12-16-2006, 10:36 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yotsuya View Post

Car magazines rarely look at the potential to make a basic car better. With some firmer struts, springs, roll bars, and tires a plain C30 could be as fun to drive as you want to make it without having to consider an R version.
That's out of necessity, though. Some of the consumer population will modify their cars, but the probably larger portion never will. They have to test the car as it is, off the manufacturing line.

Any car can be MADE blisteringly fast and capable, by an owner with money to blow. The idea is to see how well it does from the factory, to test the car/manufacturer's intentions and execution.

And yeah, it took me years to come to this attitude about it. Because I used to feel the same way, and still have my moments.

"Yeah but c'mon, with just a set of springs and better tires, it'd outhandle that other car in a second..."

=S2=
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Old 12-16-2006, 10:37 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowphun View Post
Two more comfortable seats in the rear is much more useful than the 3 across setup. I can't imagine five people in a four door Impreza, let alone a smaller car.
Unrelated to your post, really, but... Seats are things that Volvo does well. The C30's actually don't LOOK (in pics) as great as some of their other OE seats, but aside from the aftermarket, and maybe Ferrari and a small handful of others, nobody makes a sensible seat like Volvo.
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Old 12-16-2006, 12:31 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quentinberg007 View Post
I agree. I really want to like... even love... the Mazdaspeed 3. I just can't.

~~Quentin
I totally hear you on that. I mean, on paper, it sounds like something I'd like, a big power, relatively low price, turbo hatch. There is just something about it that makes me really not like it. And it isn't that its FWD either.

Either way, I'd love to get my hands on a C30 in the next few years. Remember guys, it will have something no other Japanese company can do - overseas delivery! Euro-vacation + discount!
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Old 12-16-2006, 01:13 PM   #22
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Bleh, too bad they aren't even as safe as a Subaru anymore
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Old 12-18-2006, 03:56 PM   #23
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if this car was RWD i'd buy it...
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Old 12-18-2006, 06:05 PM   #24
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I think the wife and I will be taking a close look at this when the lease on her Forester XT is up in a couple of years.

With the exception of it being FWD, this looks to be the perfect car for us - no kids, so having it be a coupe isn't a problem, and we still retain some everyday versatility with the hatch body.

Depending on what else is out in the market at the time (redesigned Forester should be out by then, and she really likes the Mini Cooper as well), this could very well end up being in our driveway...
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Old 12-18-2006, 11:24 PM   #25
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I don't see this winning over the new MINI (for me), much heavier.
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