Vehicle Type: Three-door hatch
History/Description: Blending funky styling and Scandinavian sensibility was the job of Volvo’s entry-level model, the C30. Now discontinued, this unique three-door four-seater looked like the love-child of R2D2 and a Honda CRX, and combined tried and true Volvo attributes with a look and style not easily mistakable for anything else on the road. With two available engines, plenty of options and a unique, one-of-a-kind look, the Volvo C30 will easily impress those of the “different is good” mentality, as well as premium car buffs. The design came from Volvo’s Simon Lamarre, who studied design in Quebec before joining Volvo in 1995.
Look for a used copy of the C30 between 2007 and 2013, with features including a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, a sunroof, automatic climate control, Volvo’s unique waterfall console, antilock brakes, full power accessories, a driver computer, and an eight-speaker stereo with satellite radio. Bluetooth connectivity, a universal remote and an auto-dimming rearview mirror were available, too. Numerous accessories and trim packages let shoppers fine-tune the C30 to virtually any taste — so finding a model just right for you shouldn’t be a problem. Note that motorized front seat adjustment and a remote switch made it easier for rear-seat occupants to enter the C30’s rear seating area, which features two seats, not three, to preserve passenger comfort.
Engines/Trim: In the used market, shoppers can consider one of two engines for their C30 candidate. Standard was a 2.4L inline five-cylinder backed by a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. This C30 designation was named the ‘2.4i’, and it developed 168 hp. The C30 T5 got a turbocharged 2.5L five-cylinder unit that was good for 218 hp and fitted with a six-speed manual. Newer models got a slightly increased 227 hp.
What Owners Like: Commonly, owners of the C30 praise its liquid-smooth powertrain, the fun-to-drive performance of the turbocharged models, distinctive looks, decent fuel economy and an overall nice-to-drive character. Many owners say the C30 is sporty to drive around town, and shines on the highway too, with good noise levels and overall comfort. A nice manual shifter mechanism rounds out the package.
What Owners Dislike: Heavy doors, a relatively quiet-looking cabin and a complicated-at-first climate control interface are among the common complaints. Note, too, that some owners wish for a quieter and smoother ride on rough roads, especially in models with larger wheels and thinner tires.
Here’s a look some owner reviews.
The Test Drive: This one looks solid from a reliability standpoint, though given relatively low sales volumes and fairly quiet owner forums online, shoppers are advised to start a conversation with a private seller about having the model brought to a Volvo dealer for a pre-purchase inspection before agreeing to purchase, if the model in question is short-listed for consideration. This helps with maximum confidence. Conversely, seeking out a used model from a Volvo dealer’s Certified Pre Owned program is a good bet, too.
A common problem with numerous cars is present here, relating to a leaky sunroof drain. Plastic tubes drain water away from the sunroof assembly and down through the body of the car to the ground beneath, though these tubes can become plugged, back up, and allow water to find its way into the cabin. Dampness or puddles in the front footwell areas are typical signs of this leak, which can be remedied by clearing the drain tubes with a blast of compressed air, or by fishing a piece of wire through.