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.