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Volvo debuted the North-American C30 in 2007 with hopes of finding a sizable niche of customers desiring a hatchback unique in both driving-experience and style. Though it is not as fast as other small cars, the C30 provides an agile ride and upscale features.
When choosing the trim for the C30, consumers face many options with the Volvo hatchback. First, one must choose between the base T5 or the R-Design that is equipped with style upgrades creating a sportier look. Next up if desired, are the trims, with both the T5 and R-Design having the same three options. From least- to most-expensive, they are the Premier, Premier Plus and Platinum trim.
Besides a convenient and modern interior, the four-seater is fun-to-drive, especially with the five-star assurance of time-tested Volvo safety. A turbocharged 2.5L Inline-5 is the sole engine equipped, with a six-speed manual transmission standard and five-speed automatic available. Fuel-mileage comes in at 21 city/30 highway mpg, which isn’t terrible but not near the top of the class. Yet the 227 hp is kept in check by responsive steering and exceptional road grip that allows for enjoyable drives even at city-speeds. The unique style of the exterior climaxes in the rear, which features a large glass liftgate reminiscent of the Volvo 1800ES. While this design may catch more eyes than other hatchbacks, it restricts the available cargo space and limits the rear-seat to a two-passenger capacity.
True hatchbacks like the Volkswagen GTI are the main source of competition for the C30. With a roomy interior, seating for five, and spacious cargo, the GTI is also less expensive than the Volvo. Plus, the Volkswagen has high fuel-economy and German-engineered performance. Also from the VW group, the Audi A3 has practicality that leads the small car class. The backseat is tight for full-size adults and price is high when compared to the C30, yet cargo space is plentiful. If interested in power and fuel-mileage, the A3 has an available diesel engine and all-wheel drive that produce satisfying performance while not bankrupting the owner at the pump.
Volvo was never able to attract the necessary amount of customers and have announced the end of production for the C30 following the 2013 model. On the bright side, there is one more year for drivers considering this unique hatchback before it is gone from the Volvo line.
The foundation for which all other trims are built from is the C30 T5. Cloth-like T-Tec upholstery covers the seats but there is a leather-wrapped steering wheel and leather seating is available for $1,200. Bauxite inlays (Aluminum available) cover hard surfaces and textile mats are on the floor. Both the gearshift knob and parking brake handle are dressed in leather plus the gauge cluster features easy-to-read watch dial instruments. The T5 rolls on 17” spider diamond cut/dark grey alloy wheels and an available exterior styling kit equips a front bumper bar, side scuff plate and rear skid plate.
The most expensive trim of the T5 line, the Platinum is about media upgrades. Including all Premium Plus features, the Platinum begins with a 6.5” color widescreen that displays the Navigation system with Map Care. Among other things, Map Care warns the driver of upcoming traffic jams with alternate routes at the ready; plus it can find the nearest gas station or parking-place. To keep the clean interior look of the C30, the screen can be neatly hidden in the dashboard when not in use. Platinum owners receive a six-month subscription to SiriusXM satellite radio, which will come in handy when having Volvo’s Premium Sound System. Featuring Dolby Pro Logic II surround sound, the 10-speaker system also makes use of a 5x130 W digital class D amplifier.
Including all T5 standards, the premier trim has a few comfort-adding features. The interior aluminum inlays are now standard and the driver seat is power adjustable with memory settings. The standard soft load cover rolls out to conceal any cargo the owner may want to keep from peering eyes and displays a graphic design with C30 logo simultaneously. Rounding out the Premier trim additions is a power glass moonroof. Other standard interior comforts for the T5 include ergonomically designed seats with the two in the back being split 50/50 and foldable. The AC climate system makes use of a cabin filter to improve the quality of interior air for passengers.
Including everything equipped on the T5 Premier, the Premier Plus consists mainly of exterior features. Dual xenon headlights are accompanied up front by LED daytime running lights. Another Premier Plus standard permits owners the convenience of not needing to remove the key from a handbag or pocket. With keyless drive, the C30 will recognize the corresponding key if within a close radius and allow the doors to be unlocked and the engine started by way of a starter control located in the instrument panel. Also, the front passenger is treated to a power adjustable seat in this mid-level trim.
With the R-Design badge comes a nice list of upgrades focused primarily on appearance. Though a significant performance change consists of a new sport chassis with improved body control and more precise steering. Besides lowering the C30 by 10mm, the R-Design’s chassis employs 30% stiffer springs, sport-tuned front/rear anti-roll bars, specially adapted shock absorbers and a higher steering gear ratio. Inside, special flex-tec and leather seating is embossed with the R-Design logo, as is the sport steering wheel. In the instrument panel, the speedometer and rev counter have blue inserts while center stack and door panel inlays provide a modern feel to the interior. Sporty 18” midir diamond cut/light grey alloy wheels look even better with the lowered body.
The most expensive trim of the R-Design line, the Platinum is all about media upgrades. Including every Premium Plus feature, the Platinum begins with a 6.5” color widescreen that displays the Navigation system with Map Care. Along with satellite radio capability comes a six-month subscription to SiriusXM. Providing “perfect sound dynamics” is the Volvo Premium Sound System. Besides C30 standards like an auxiliary/USB input, MP3/WMA compatible CD player and Bluetooth handsfree, the Premium Sound System has 10 high-end loudspeakers. With a 5x130 W digital class D amplifier, the system pumps out Dolby Pro Logic II surround sound for enhanced listening.
Including all R-Design standards, the premier trim has a few comfort-adding features. Interior aluminum inlays are now standard and the driver seat is power adjustable with memory settings. The standard soft load cover rolls out to conceal any cargo the owner may want to keep from peering eyes and displays a graphic design with C30 logo when in use. Rounding out the Premier trim additions is a power glass moonroof. Exclusive to the R-Design Premier trim is a digital compass inserted in the top-right of the rearview mirror. Exterior standards equipped on all R-Design C30s include silver accent mirror housings, front fog lights, and a roof spoiler.
Including everything equipped on the R-Design Premier, the Premier Plus consists mainly of exterior features. Dual xenon headlights are accompanied up front by LED daytime running lights, which replace the R-Design’s fog lights. Also added are the keyless drive technology and a power adjustable seat for the front passenger. With keyless drive, the C30 recognizes its’ corresponding key when within a close radius, then allows the doors to be unlocked and the engine started by way of a starter control located in the instrument panel. Found on every C-30 R-Design model is an all-black front grille with a lower air intake offset by a satin-finish trim and a rear skid plate as well.
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Seats five comfortably but interior tech can be confusing
Large cargo area and available diesel-engine but small rear seat
Good performance and room for the family but limited utility
Powerful and luxurious yet expensive and cramped