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Volvo C30 (2010 - 2013)

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By Andy Enright

Introductionword count: 174

In hindsight, it's probably fair to say that Volvo's C30 was a bit of an underperformer. It had the talent to sell in massive numbers but never quite made the breakout from modestly successful to a real monster hit. Volvo will point to the fact that over the model's entire seven year life span, it shifted 210,000 cars, but that rather ignores the fact that the chassis it's based on is that of Ford's Focus, a car that can shift 80,000 units per annum without breaking sweat. Still, the three-door C30 is a more high concept item, originally pitched as a rival to cars like the Volkswagen Scirocco, Hyundai Veloster and even metal like Audi's A3. Now that it's gone, it's easy to get rather dewy eyed about a Volvo that looked good, drove well and which was several points removed from most people's idea of what a car from this Swedish brand ought to represent. Here's what to look for when seeking out one of the later facelifted models on the used market.

Modelsword count: 16

3dr coupe (1.6, 2.0 diesel, 1.6, 2.0, 2.5 petrol [S, ES, SE ,SE Lux, R DESIGN])

Historyword count: 247

Some cars seem to shuffle on into their dotage, getting progressively more embarrassing before they're finally killed off. Then there are models like the Volvo C30 which seemed to take many by surprise when the Swedish car maker announced that its time was up in early 2013. It had always been a welcome sight on our roads, with its unusual styling giving it a certain cool that identified its owner as somebody who was willing to look beyond the obvious. That the shape wore so well belied its age, as the C30 actually started life in 2001 at the Detroit Motor Show with the launch of the Volvo Safety Concept Car. That design became a production reality in 2006 when Volvo launched the C30 at the Paris Motor Show. The car we're looking at here is a later iteration. In late 2009 - for the 2010 model year - Volvo announced a series of updates to keep the C30 looking and feeling fresh for the last two and a half years of its life. The styling was tweaked, equipment levels were improved and a Sports chassis option was introduced. The last ever C30 departed from Gothenburg on the 13th June 2013. Unlucky for some? Not for the British couple who won the car in a huge treasure hunt. You'll probably need a slightly bigger budget than you'd pay for something mainstream to lay your hands on one, but prices are probably more affordable than you might think.

What You Getword count: 438

The smartened front end with its larger air intakes and honeycomb grille is certainly more dramatic and expressive than that of the original, echoing the look perfected by Volvo's C70 and S60 models. You'll need to find a car with the optional accessory styling kit however, if you really want to get the dynamic look the original designers first intended. Otherwise, the design recipe remains exactly as with the original 2006 version of this car. Built at Volvo's Ghent facility in Belgium, the C30 has room for four adults and the option of folding the rear seats flat to form a useful loading space. Although it shares the same wheelbase as the S40 saloon, the tape measure shows this model to be fully 22cm shorter and the car shares not one panel with its four-door stablemate, its wheel-at-each-corner stance instead offering a very different look and feel. The compact shape inevitably means that bootspace is at something of a premium but at 433-litres, it's not too bad and you can always extend it to 947-litres by flattening the split-folding rear seat. If you have got stuff to carry though, the use of a glass tailgate rather than a proper rear hatch means that the opening is small and the loading lip high. Still, style doesn't come without a few sacrifices and there are fascinating design touches everywhere you look around the car, from the horseshoe tail lamps, to the deep arc of the rear glass and the pumped-up Volvo shoulders that run from the front to the rear lights in one uninterrupted sweep. It all continues inside too, most notably with a 'floating' centre console that's attached top and bottom but has open space behind. It's easy to get comfortable at the wheel thanks to a wide range of driver's seat and steering wheel adjustment and dense, soft-touch plastics cover the upper dashboard, offering a premium feel underlined by the fact that everything feels built to last. Only storage space could be better: the tiny glovebox is accounted for by the handbook which leaves only some even smaller door pockets and a couple of cubbies in the centre console. Getting into the back could be easier, but once there, even taller adults should find acceptable standards of both head and legroom, as long as the journey isn't too long. Those with a trio of small children will be disappointed that you can't seat three at the back but at least the occupants who can be accommodated get a surprisingly good view out thanks to the way that their seats are set further inwards than those at the front.

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Category: Compact Family Cars

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This is an excerpt from our full review.
To access the full content library please contact us on 0330 0020 227 or click here

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