Significance: With a price that Volvo promises will be in between the Volkswagen GTI and Audi A3, the C30 brings some serious style to the expanding premium hatchback segment. Proof that if hatchbacks look good and drive well, Americans will buy them? We hope so. We'll take ours in orinocco blue with eighteen-inch wheels.
We loves us some wagons. Especially weird, two-door Swedish wagons. Which, of course, means that we have all kinds of affection for the old Volvo P1800ES: it was definitely Swedish, and it was definitely weird. So when we learned that Volvo would be employing a number of that car's styling cues on its new small hatchback, the C30, we could hardly stop shaking in anticipation.
The wait was worth it. Accurately previewed by the C30 Design Concept from this year's Detroit Auto Show, the production C30 is simply gorgeous. The two-door hatchback uses Volvo's now-trademark rear-quarter treatment as a frame for a glass hatch like that from the P1800ES. The C30 will seat four adults and will be powered by Volvo's 218-hp, turbocharged five-cylinder engine, although we anticipate the rest of the S40's engine lineup will find its way under the hood. The C30 will be built on the same C1 platform as the longer S40 sedan, but there are no current plans for all-wheel drive.
Volvo anticipates selling 65,000 C30s annually, with some 49,000 of those finding homes in Europe. A 250-plus-hp, top-spec R version is rumored; the base car makes its North American debut here in Los Angeles.