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First reviews, more pictures of the latest, hottest cars
Volvo C30
Volvo C30 Quick Test
Sports Coupe
Volvo C30
Volvo C30
Volvo C30
Volvo C30
Volvo C30

Plus – looks that will turn heads, from the narrowing side windows to the big glass rear end. Attractive body treatment and paint jobs too.

Plus  - wide choice of engines – 8 – including the entry level 1.6 litre petrol to the D5 180 bhp 5-cylinder diesel (see below) and range topping T5, 220 bhp five-cylinder petrol.

Plus  - handles/drives beautifully with the underpinnings inherited from the slightly bigger S-40 and its Ford sibling, the Focus.

Plus – superb interior with classy materials

Plus – honest decision to offer 4 useable seats, rather than the pretence that it could seat 5.

Minus – expensive compared with the competition, Audi A3, Golf GTi. BMW 1-series.

Minus – Small boot, although rear seats fold down to make space

Minus – “floating centre stack” – pointless bit of design which wastes space.

When Volvo unveiled the new sporty little C30 at the Detroit Car Show last January, I wondered quite what the company was up to. Why challenge the likes of the Audi A3, BMW 1-series and Golf GTi on their own boy-racer high ground? Wouldn’t it be better to play to Volvo strengths of utility and safety?

Well. Volvo has been and gone and done it. With much talk of sportiness, fashionable, trendiness and the young, Volvo has rekindled the spirit of its 1800 ES, which also had a plunging glass rear door and died in 1973, and the Volvo 480’s cult following between 1985 and 1995.

Sure, the more expensive C30s go quickly and drive extremely well. But it’s hard for me to see how it can challenge the incumbents on their own ground. I also find it hard to take seriously the idea that a smaller version of the S40, with fewer doors and space, costs about the same. With prices around £20,000, if you wanted a Sports Coupe would you pay attention to Volvo?

 Volvo thinks so and the proof of the pudding will be in the eating. I stand ready to er, eat humble pie if that happens.

Neil Winton – November 5, 2006
VolvoC30 Sports Coupe SE Lux
2.5 litre, 5-cyinder diesel
180 bhp
5-speed automatic
0-60 mph/100 km/h 7.8 seconds
Top Speed:
140 mph/225 km/h
Fuel Consumption:
claimed combined 40.9 mpg-6.9 l/kms
CO2 Emissions:
182 g/km
Service intervals: 12,500 miles or one year
Warranty: 3 years, 60,000 miles
Audi A3, BMW 1, Alfa 147, Golf GTi
Same for less: Hyundai Coupe
Would I buy one?
*** out of 5
stylish, well made, drives well
uphill struggle to justify sportiness