Volvo has introduced a fresh take on its already stylish C30 hatchback, injecting some sporty styling for the 2011 model year and improving the list of standard equipment. The original introduction of the C30 marked a major turning point for Volvo, with the pint-sized hatch proving that not all of Volvo’s models needed to be boxy and chiseled, or that they even had to prioritize practicality.
You’ll note that the C30 only comes in a three-door configuration. Additionally, the car’s design clearly makes some packaging sacrifices for the sake of being sleek, low, and rakish.
There are only two models in the 2011 Volvo C30 lineup; the $24,600 C30 T5 or the sportier $26,950 C30 T5 R-Design (pictured).
Both cars come standard with a powerful turbocharged five-cylinder engine developing a peak output of 227 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque, and this is matched to either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic. Gear shifts in the manual can be a bit notchy so the auto is the winner here if you’re fairly indifferent to transmission choices.
The real star of the show is the engine, which develops its peak torque--yes, all 236 pound-feet, from as little as 1,800 rpm, resulting in strong acceleration in almost any gear.
Performance fans will want to pick up the R-Design model as this version’s chassis has been modified in several areas. Stiffer bushings allow for more precise steering and the steering ratio is lower, giving 10 percent faster response to driver input. Spring stiffness has also been increased by 30 percent and the mono-tube dampers and roll stabilizers have been made stiffer, too.
Inside, there’s plenty of luxury despite this being the entry-level model in Volvo’s lineup. The key feature is the automaker’s trademark ‘floating’ center stack, which has been redesigned for 2011 along with the aluminum door handles. The floating stack is essentially a thin panel housing the radio and climate control switchgear, with storage space just behind.
Some special features include xenon HID headlamps, a hard-drive-based nav system with live traffic updates, leather trim, and a blind spot monitoring system.
Due to its small proportions, things can be a bit tight inside, especially for taller drivers as the sunroof eats into cabin space a lot. The cargo space is a bit disappointing as well.
For a complete take on the safety, quality, performance, styling, and features of the 2011 Volvo C30, read the full review at TheCarConnection