Volvo C30 Front Quarter

2007 Volvo C30 Review

$6,480 $7,700 Dealer
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2007 Volvo C30 First Steer Australian Launch - March 2007
“More style, more glamour than a Paris catwalk in spring –Volvo’s cool new C30 is a knockout”

Models driven

  1. C30 T5 with 6 Speed manual transmission - $42,450 (RRP)
  2. C30 LE with 5 Speed automatic transmission - $39,950 (RRP)

The C30 model range will start at a competitive $34,450 for the C30 S, which will arrive here later in the year.

Options fitted:

  • Sports Chassis - $1500 (a keen steerer wouldn’t have it any other way)
  • Sports steering wheel – (go ahead and tick this option, it’s a piece of modern design art and a treat to hold)
  • BLISS (Blind Spot Information System) -$1200 (this gizmo takes a while to get used to but look at it as a cheap insurance policy especially on those stressed out days.

Warranty: 3 years with unlimited kilometres

Sweden maybe a neutral country, but they’re going after German carmakers with Volvo spearheading the assault.

Just weeks after launching the svelte S80 luxury sports sedan in Australia, Volvo are about to release their most important model in the company’s history.

Behold the C30. Volvo reckons they’ll rack up sales of 65,000 of these per year, worldwide. One look at this car tells me, they better start building a few more factories.

The C30 has the potential to do for Volvo what the iPod did for Apple. That is, take a low volume niche brand, and turn it into a highly sought after, high volume seller.

Volvo are saying that the target market for this “cool” on wheels are the successful young urbanites, who wouldn’t normally touch the Volvo brand prior to their 40th birthday. My take on the C30 is that it will go a whole lot wider.

So what is the C30? Essentially, it’s a two-door prestige hatchback with four individual seats instead of the usual five-seat set up. It’s a smart design move, given the space afforded the two rear seat passengers who have a clear view of the outside world through the windscreen, due to clever seat placement.

Power comes in two flavours. The LE makes do with a 2.4 litre inline five-cylinder engine, which puts out 125kW at 6000rpm and 230Nm of torque at 4400rpm. Far from earth shattering, particularly with the five-speed Geartronic box, I’d opt for the five-speed manual if you have the choice.

It’s an entirely different ball game with the T5 and it’s Turbocharged 2.5 litre unit. Punching out a spirited 162kW at 5000 rpm and a meaty 320 Nm at 1500-4800rp means that this C30, when hooked up to Volvo’s silky six-speed manual transmission, has the ability to haul in an Alfa 147 GTA and Volkswagen’s hot GTI, with ease. If you’re curious, the 0-100km/h dash comes up in 6.7 seconds and that’s plenty quick.

Those drivers familiar with other cars in Volvo’s “cool” garage namely, the S40, V50 and C70 convertible will feel at home with the “floating” centre console. This thing looks more like a high-end Bang & Olufsen remote control and is in perfect sync with the C30 design. You can customise the standard brushed aluminium panel with an optional surf look or even your company logo - if you so choose.

Typically understated, Volvo doesn’t list the standard front leather pews in the C30 as sports seats but trust me, they are, and then some. Lifted straight out of the C70, they offer an extraordinary balance between comfort and support.

Fully loaded, is how you would describe the standard features on the C30 LE and T5 spec models. How’s this for starters:

  • Power driver’s seat
  • High Performance Sound System with 8 speakers
  • Three-spoke leather steering wheel with audio and cruise functions
  • IAQS – Interior Air Quality System
  • 17 inch Alloys (16’s on the LE)
  • Rain sensing wipers
  • Bi-Xenon headlights
  • Rear Spoiler
  • DTSC (Dynamic Stability Traction Control (LE gets STC Stability Traction Control)
  • Electronic Climate Control
  • Power folding Mirrors
  • IDIS (Intelligent Driver Information System) Cruise Control
  • iPod AUX input – that means no silly overpriced radio tuner gadget’s

If you’re used to the clarity of a high-end sound system at home then you’ll probably be sold on the optional Premium Sound System. With a 5x130 W digital ICE Power amplifier from Alpine, Dolby Pro Logic 11 Surround and 10 loudspeakers from Dynaudio of Denmark, you won’t be disappointed. Volvo doesn't source their in-car audio systems from one brand, rather, they marry the best individual components available and deliver a true high-end system that would not be out of place in a Rolls Royce Phantom.

While I’m on options worth noting, it would be remiss of me not to mention the Sports Steering Wheel with it’s aluminium inlay. While the standard three-spoke model isn’t bad, it feels positively agricultural against this sports number. While the wheel itself is quite large, it is a superb bit of kit and at $339, a must have with a T5.

Outside the Supercar squad, the C30 will surely be the most distinctive car on the road with its ‘all glass’ rear hatch lift (surprisingly easy and light to open), Volvo-ish tail lights with a unique LED pattern at night and muscular rear hips with a set of purposeful twin pipes.

Sports body kits – some work, some don’t, but as you can see below, this one will do just fine.

I arrived a few minutes late for the start of the first driving leg in a variety of C30 models, and the only car remaining was the T5 with the 6 speed manual transmission. Some of us are just born lucky.

Even better, when I saw my pre-arranged driving partner heading out with some other rooster. That meant I didn’t have to share the drive with someone who may not have wanted to explore the depths of talent that this car has been blessed with.

Our car was fitted with the optional Sports Chassis, which lowers the car a full 20mm in addition to a sway bar upgrade. The look is all business.

It’s a good thing too that Volvo has stuck with its five cylinder powerplants, as even the naturally aspirated versions have a sporty engine note. They’re also smooth revving and reasonably torquey. Engines are mounted transversely in the C30 rather than longitudinally, which allows more room for impact absorption. Important stuff in a small car.

It’s a particularly sweet driving position behind the wheel of the C30. While I won’t go as far as saying it’s like sitting in a Porsche 911, you certainly feel like you’re part of the car behind that glorious sports steering wheel and low seat position.

A chronic arthritis sufferer would probably find this car easy to drive. All six gear ratios require almost no effort to engage. Coupled with a surprisingly light clutch (perhaps a little too light on the T5) allows the driver to literally race through the gears and have some genuine fun with this car.

With windows up at a lazy 110km/h, you can barely hear the engine, let alone what gear you are in; so quiet is nature of the five-pot engine. My navigator, a Volvo technician, had similar thoughts. This gets a little tricky when you’re blasting through long twisty stretches. Thankfully, peak torque comes in early enough in the rev range to keep things moving at an even pace. Nonetheless, a small digital readout indicating current gear ratios wouldn’t go astray.

The T5 is clearly a rapid thing when called up for duty. It also doesn’t mind how quick you care to throw it into bends of any nature. Steering is precise and communicative, but where this car really shines, is how easy and with how much comfort, it performs these tasks.

The C30 is pure eye candy and reminds me of Russian tennis superstar Maria Sharapova – gorgeous looks with bucket loads of talent.

This Volvo has the goods to go head to head with Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz in the premium hatch segment – and win!

Specification Document : 2007 Volvo C30 Specifications

Anthony Crawford