Volvo C30 TCC Bottom Line: The Other Hot-Hatchback

Side Exterior View - 2011 Volvo C30 2-door Coupe Auto

Side Exterior View - 2011 Volvo C30 2-door Coupe Auto

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A hot-hatch needs to be able to tackle a twisty road with ease and put a smile on the driver’s face. It also has to be practical: a good commuter that can carry some large things or four friends, while getting decent mileage.

The Volvo C30 seems to always get passed during comparisons for these cars, despite having some nice performance numbers and a realistic $24,100 starting price. Let’s take a look at what Bengt Halvorson had to say about the cheapest Volvo in his Bottom Line review for our main site, the Car Connection.

Bengt likes the design, as he describes the exterior as “an attractive hatch with a unique, retro-styled rear end and lots of personality.”  Inside there is a floating center console that allows for storing items behind it and nicely appointed two-tone seats.

The C30 comes standard with the 2.5L turbocharged inline-five engine that produces 227 horsepower and 236 ft lbs of torque. The automatic seems to be a bit better than the six-speed manual, according to Bengt, but only because the stick-shift is notchy. The car also accelerates quite well and tackles the highway decently. The car also handles well, but not as good as other hatchbacks on the market due to the weight the Volvo has to carry around. He is also pleasantly surprised by the gas mileage.

As for interior space, the C30 doesn’t do quite as well as a hot-hatchback should. Bengt writes, “…the interior is tight; tall drivers might find themselves surprisingly short on space, as the sunroof cuts precious headroom. The rear seats—configured more as two separate contoured positions with scaled-down proportions—are snug, and adults will complain even if they can wedge in.” The glass hatchback also reduces the usefulness when trying to make the most out of the interior.

The car has some nice standard equipment such as a trip computer, cruise control, and Bluetooth. The optional C30 R-Design is part performance package with dynamic stability control and bigger wheels, but mostly upgrades the car’s sporty appearance with a body kit. Optional equipment includes moon-roof, navigation, leather, a cold weather package, and HID lights.

He concludes that the car is a nice piece of design work, but gives up a lot of practicality up to styling, which is the only standout trait in the $25,000 hatchback market.

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