Super Street Network

Due to the EU’s Global Data Protection Regulation, our website is currently unavailable to visitors from most European countries. We apologize for this inconvenience and encourage you to visit for the latest on new cars, car reviews and news, concept cars and auto show coverage, awards and much more.MOTORTREND.COM
 |   |   |  2008 Volvo C30 Version 2.0 - Just Driven
Subscribe to the Free

2008 Volvo C30 Version 2.0 - Just Driven

Edward Loh
Nov 18, 2007
0711_sccp_2_z_+2008_volvo_c30_2+side_view Photo 1/1   |   2008 Volvo C30 Version 2.0 - Just Driven

My blood ran cold when I heard Volvo tout the composition of its C30 design team: "Most of the key designers do not come from the automotive industry." One was a clay modeler, another a part-time architect. The woman who did the interior came from the textile industry. I bit my lip, but kept cool until the next surprise was dropped. "For inspiration, we looked at furniture, sunglasses and shoes. Lots of shoes."

I knew it. When the Volvo peeps called with enticements of a hip, new hatchback, one with exciting performance and dramatic styling, it sounded too good to be true: turbocharged, 227bhp engine, six-speed manual, and a bhp/pound ratio of 14.1 (better than the Audi A3, VW GTI and MINI Cooper S). Wait... this is a Volvo?It is indeed, but not your father's Volvo. Not your uncle Sven's, either. No, the all-new 2008 Volvo C30 was designed for you-as long as you're young, active, with no kids, but three friends and a stylish pad in the city.

Just look at that curvy exterior. Only dead-on would the C30 be passed off as just another Volvo. At any other approach angle, you'll find exaggerated lines and curves only hinted at in previous Volvo vehicles.

Take the rear, for instance: a soft-edged square of back-sloping glass set in a pair of obscenely flared fenders that narrow dramatically at the waist as they rise to become the C-pillar. The designers call it a strong Volvo shoulder. I call it one sexy booty. Too bad the driving dynamics don't cut as bold a profile. The word soft springs to mind when describing everything from the suspension to the steering to the feel of the clutch. Gear shifts seem sheathed in rubber, steering is slow and a bit soupy-not bad for puttering around an urban jungle, but in canyons, the vagueness of both leave you desiring precision and feedback.

The turbocharged, five-cylinder engine is carried over from the S40/V50 combo, yet somehow feels livelier here. It could never be confused with a high-revving Japanese screamer, but it pulls hard. Volvo engineers claim it beats the GTI and Cooper S to 60mph. It might, but you'd never know from the driver's seat. In its quest to deliver a soft, comfortable ride, Volvo has smoothed out all the edges of this hot hatch.

The cabin is surprisingly quiet. Even when slapped into gear and kicked wide open, the T5 engine never complains. In sixth gear at 100mph, it just hums along, not even cracking 3500rpm. The upside: a quiet cabin, where conversations can be had without difficulty. The downside: a flaccid drive when the roads get twisty. No surprise, given the curb weight of 3200 pounds. Even with the higher-spec Dynamic chassis, the strut-suspended C30 feels, again, soft.

I drove the Volvo C30 T5 Version 2.0. Version 1.0 is the $22,700 entry-level model and substitutes the fancy custom-painted body kit for plain black plastic, though you still get 17-inch wheels and a close-ratio six-speed manual.

Bottom line: the C30's exotic curves and stunning measurements promise a drive that the steering, shift feel and suspension can't deliver. The good news is that the aftermarket should be able to provide a cure for most, if not all, of these shortcomings.

By Edward Loh
20 Articles



Carbon Signal Automotive (CS) might not be a familiar name to most, but it's quickly mastered what neither the best in California or Japan can do yet, which is what's helped put its name onto the map.
Jonathan WongFeb 20, 2019
Mode Parfume has been teasing a new hardtop design for the S2000 that had been in development for quite some time and at the 2019 Osaka Auto Messe, show goers got the chance to see it in person.
RodrezFeb 19, 2019
The G-Class has changed a lot since the 460-series debuted in 1979. Today, the G-wagon is now as much an S-Class as it is an off-roader
Bradley IgerFeb 15, 2019
You know very well the mere mention of JDM Legends will mean something crazy good is about to cross your path.
Jonathan WongFeb 13, 2019
The perfect balance of performance and practicality.
Bradley IgerFeb 8, 2019
Sponsored Links