An all-new model for 2007, the Volvo C30 is a two-door hatchback based on a platform it shares with the S40 sedan and V50 station wagon (which in turn shares it with the Mazda3 and European Ford Focus).

Like the S40, the C30 is available as the 2.4i, with a naturally-aspirated 2.4-litre five-cylinder engine, and as the T5 with a turbocharged 2.5-litre five-cylinder. The 2.4i uses a five-speed manual transmission, the T5 a six-speed; both can be optioned to a five-speed automatic. While the S40 can be optioned with all-wheel drive, the C30 is strictly front-wheel.

Features on the 2.4i include 16-inch alloy wheels, stability and traction control, side and curtain airbags, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, heated mirrors, split folding rear seat, CD stereo, cruise control, air conditioning, auto up/down windows, tilt and telescopic wheel, and intermittent wipers.

The T5 adds leather-wrapped wheel and shifter knob, front fog lights, interior aluminum accents, high-performance CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary input and wheel-mounted audio controls, dual-zone climate control and trip computer.

Available options include sport chassis, heated seats, leather interior, bi-Xenon headlamps, power seat and garage door opener.

One of the handsomest vehicles in Volvo’s line-up, and styled by Montreal native Simon Lamarre, the C30 is the company’s latest entry into the premium compact segment. Both engines perform very well, and the C30 retains the nimble handling and good brakes of its S40 cousin.

Interior room is good for the car’s size, and the second-row seats, while naturally tougher to enter than a sedan, provide sufficient room for adults. On the downside, the C30 retains the S40’s beautiful but silly “floating” centre stack, which drastically cuts down on small-item storage space. While the C30 is front-wheel for now, don’t discount the possibility of power to the rear wheels at some time in the future.

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