The C30 made a splash when it debuted in 2008 because it brought style and sophistication to a segment that was largely lacking in those attributes. It now faces increasing competition from other compact luxury cars, but the C30 still has the upper hand when it comes to looks with its unique glass liftgate, long side glass, and chopped tail. Even though it is 8.4 inches shorter, the C30 is built on the same platform and shares a wheelbase with the S40 sedan (no longer available in the United States), so it feels quite roomy inside. The rear buckets–there is only seating for four–are spacious enough to comfortably accommodate two adults. Despite the C30’s diminutive overall footprint, there is a reasonable amount of cargo space thanks to the hatchback body style. The C30’s interior is a fine example of Scandinavian design. Its center stack is clean and symmetrical, although too many buttons of the same size are grouped together. It looks good but is not very intuitive. The 227-hp turbocharged five-cylinder is reasonably engaging, but the overall driving experience leans more to the side of luxury than do some of the C30’s more enthusiast-oriented competition, such as the Volkswagen GTI and the MINI Cooper. On the plus side, the C30 is the only car in its class to offer a blind-spot monitoring system, which shouldn’t be a surprise since safety has long been a hallmark of the Swedish automaker.
Trim levels: T5, T5 Premier Plus, T5 Platinum, T5 R-Design, T5 R-Design Premier
Plus, T5 R-Design Platinum
Body Style: Hatchback, 4-passenger
Engine: 2.5L turbo I-5, 227 hp, 236 lb-ft
Transmissions: 6-speed manual, 5-speed automatic
Passenger volume: 88.0 cu ft
Cargo Space: (rear seats up/down) 15.3/33.4 cu ft
Bluetooth, a security alarm, and a rear center armrest are newly standard for the 2012 model year. Volvo has added new models with Premier Plus and Platinum trim levels for both the T5 and the T5 R-Design.
Front, side, and side curtain air bags; ABS; and traction and stability control are standard. A blind-spot monitoring system is optional.
All: 21 mpg city/29-30 mpg highway
- Cool exterior design
- Sprightly powerplant
- Roomy rear seats
- Detached driving experience
- Hard to use center stack
- Sluggish navigation system
Swedish style in a compact package.
- Audi A3
- Mini Cooper
- Volkswagen GTI