Volvo C30 Review

The Volvo C30 is a three-door hatchback sold between 2007 and 2013

£4,679
Average price
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1
Out of 5

Pros

  • Cool styling
  • Great choice of engines
  • Good build quality

Cons

  • Small boot
  • Only four seats
  • Thirsty petrol engines
  • MPG

    0 - 0

  • CO2

    0 - 0 g/km

Model review

Volvo might be best known for its estate cars and – increasingly – SUVs, but this Swedish manufacturer has offered a range of different body styles over the years. These include the C70 coupe and convertible, while one of its more interesting cars in modern history is the C30. Essentially a three-door coupe-hatchback, this model was shown in concept form at the 2006 Detroit Auto Show, before being unveiled in full later in the year, and with remarkably few changes. 

Billed by Volvo as a ‘sportscoupe’, it was offered with a broad range of trim levels and engines – with the flagship T5 using a powerful 217bhp 2.5-litre five-cylinder petrol engine that enabled a 0-60mph time of around six seconds. 

Majoring on style, the C30 wasn’t your average three-door hatchback, as it truly looks more like a coupe in profile, while also featuring optional safety equipment such as blind spot monitoring. 

In 2007 the C30 range expanded to include a sportier-looking R-Design version, bringing a more aggressive bodykit and more dynamic-feeling interior. This trim has since been rolled out across the Volvo line-up. 

Latest model

In 2009, the C30 line-up expanded with a new efficiency-focused ‘DRIVe’ model, using an efficient 1.6-litre diesel engine and more aerodynamic bodykit, helping it to return more than 70mpg with impressively low CO2 emissions. 

Later in 2009 the full C30 line-up was tweaked, with a different front and rear design being introduced, while all R-Design models came equipped with a sports chassis, as well as a stylish ‘accessory kit’. 

While Volvo used the C30 to explore various things – such as electrification with an EV prototype and performance with a 395bhp Polestar model – the C30 was always a relatively niche choice, at least next to best-sellers like the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series. The curtain would fall on the C30 in 2011, being indirectly replaced by the more practical V40 hatchback, 

Value for money

Though the C30 might have been billed as a premium hatchback, it was relatively affordably priced at the time, helped by a broad range of trim levels and entry-level options. Prices started at around £14,500 for an entry-level petrol, rising to around £22,000 for a top-spec diesel. 

However, with the C30 not being sold in the UK since 2013, your only option now is to look at used examples. Prices actually start from as little as £2,000 for high-mileage usable examples, though from around £3,500 you can pick up a car with under 80,000 miles on the clock. Prices rise all the way to £10,000 for the cleanest cars with the least miles too. 

Looks and image

Though the C30 might not have been on sale for a number of years, it’s a car that still looks the part today. With its coupe-like styling, it’s far sleeker than a conventional hatchback, and continues to be able to turn heads. Its full glass tailgate is a neat touch, as is the long bonnet, which adds an upmarket element to it. While the R-Design cars are certainly the most eye-catching, even regular C30s are still more than able to look the part, and hold their own even next to much newer hatchbacks. 

The C30’s interior is also pleasant, particularly considering its age. It has the ‘floating centre console’ that was used widely by Volvo at the time, helping to give the cabin a more modern look than many at the time. The inside is generally well laid out too, while everything has a very solid feel to it. 

The C30 is competent behind the wheel too, with a wide range of engines on offer meaning there’s a version to suit most. It’s not the sportiest car in this class, though, despite its styling. Instead it favours comfort and refinement, which are two areas where it’s very good. The sportier-looking R-Design models are on offer for those that want things slightly more involving, but they’re by no means hot hatches. 

Space and practicality

One area where the C30 particularly falls short, though, is spaciousness. It’s perhaps no surprise given the ‘coupe’ in its name, but with this Volvo only offered as a three-door, it’s immediately at a disadvantage where practicality is concerned. 

It’s also only offered with four seats, though there’s a decent amount of room once you’re back there. The boot is also quite small, not helped by the slightly awkward full glass tailgate. If space is an important factor in your next car, it’s worth looking elsewhere. 

Engines

Volvo offered a great selection of petrol and diesel engines on the C30. Starting with petrol options, the range begins with a 99bhp 1.6-litre, followed by a 128bhp 1.8-litre and a 143bhp 2.0-litre. At the top of the range there is also the T5, which uses a 227bhp 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine that can take the C30 from 0-60mph in as little as 6.2 seconds. A choice of manual and automatic gearboxes were offered here too.

Moving over to diesel, a 107bhp 1.6-litre was offered in two guises – standard or the ‘DRIVe’, which brought additional aero for enhanced efficiency. Moving on, a 134bhp 2.0-litre unit gets the option of a manual or automatic gearbox, while a 177bhp 2.4-litre (badged D5) heads up the diesel. This too gets a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes, with 0-60mph being dispatched in just 7.3 seconds in its quickest guise.  

Running costs

Where efficiency is concerned, you want to find a 1.6-litre ‘DRIVe’ diesel model, which is by far the cleanest. Returning up to 64.2mpg and with CO2 emissions of 115g/km, they cost just £30 per year to tax. That said, even the normal 1.6-litre diesel can return a claimed 57.6mpg, with 129g/km CO2 emissions. 

Petrol models are worth avoiding if you’re wanting to keep costs down – none will return more than 40mpg, while you’ll pay quite a lot in tax too – T5 versions can cost as much as £360 in annual VED. 

Things to look out for

The Volvo C30 generally has a decent reliability reputation considering its age, but there are a few things to look out for. Have a good listen for any dashboard rattles, while the air-con and climate control are quite prone to faults, so make sure they’re blowing cold air out like they should. 

Rivals

Sitting in the premium hatchback segment, take a look at three-door versions of the Audi A3, BMW 1 Series and Volkswagen Golf if you’re looking at direct rivals. The Mercedes CLC and Volkswagen Scirocco were both opposition at the time too. 

Depreciation

Good used Volvo C30s are now available at a great price, and could make a very appealing used car. The best-of-the-best examples are still commanding quite high prices, but could be worth paying for if you want a particularly tidy, well-maintained and late example of the Volvo C30. 

Trims explained

Volvo offered a range of trim levels on the C30, with equipment highlights and used prices as follows.

S –

Kicking off the C30 line-up, the S version comes equipped with electronic climate control, 16-inch alloy wheels and electric windows. You also get a leather steering wheel and gear knob, as well as a CD player with AUX input for MP3 players.

From £2,000 (used)

SE –

Upgrade to an SE car and it comes with a more attractive textile seating upholstery, aluminium interior inlays and larger 17-inch alloy wheels. Other features include front fog lights, cruise control and steering wheel remote controls.

From £2,200 (used)

SE Lux –

High-spec SE Lux models pack leather upholstery, heated front seats and luxury floor mats. Additional features include revised 17-inch alloy wheels, electric folding mirrors, puddle lights and headlight cleaners.

From £2,500 (used)

R-Design Sport –

R-Design models aim to inject some extra sportiness to the range, with these models coming with 17-inch alloy wheels and a racier bodykit. Leather and T-Tec upholstery are also included, along with a sports steering wheel and unique aluminium interior inlays.

From £2,750 (used)

R-Design SE Sport –

Upgrade to this trim to get larger 18-inch alloy wheels, as well as additional luxuries from the SE – such as cruise control and steering wheel controls.

From £3,200 (used)

Summary

  1. Sporty-looking Volvo hatchback sold between 2007 and 2013
  2. Great range of engines
  3. Sleek styling
  4. Modern-feeling interior
  5. Well-built
  6. Impractical interior
  7. Only four seats
  8. Decent reliability reputation
  9. High running costs on petrol versions
  10. A credible used premium small car, just as long as spaciousness isn’t important

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