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This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sat, Aug 4, 2007

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

VOLVO'S NEW C30 By Reed Berry Good things do come in small packages. I just never thought I would ever be saying that about a Volvo. I suppose that the Mini Cooper and Volkswagen GTI immediately come to mind when you think of cars that are small, sporty and fun to drive. But take those desirable characteristics, throw in a hearty helping of impressive safety features, and you have the new Volvo C30. The C30 is a stylish little hatchback that will undoubtedly attract younger car buyers to the Volvo brand. The edgy design features a frameless glass tailgate reminiscent of the classic Volvo P1800ES of the early 70's. The smallest car in the Volvo line, the C30 is 8.5 inches shorter than the Volvo S40 sport sedan while retaining the 103.9-inch wheelbase.

As I look at a long line of shiny new C30s just waiting to be driven by eager automotive journalists from around the country, the cars would appear, except for different exterior colors, to be pretty much the same. They are not all identical, however, because the C30 is offered in two models: Version 1.0 and Version 2.0. Both versions feature the same enthusiastic 227-horsepower 2.5-liter turbocharged 5-cylinder engine and six-speed manual transmission. The main difference between the two versions is a variety of added sport and entertainment features on Version 2.0, including a premium sound system with Sirius Satellite Radio, larger 18-inch alloy wheels, and a sport body kit with front and rear valances, side skirts and a rear wing. The interior of the C30 is stylish, functional and comfortable. Despite the car's diminutive size, there is a generous amount of room for four full-sized adults. The seats are ergonomically designed for comfort and support, and Volvo has made accessing the rear seat almost effortless. Instead of a rear bench seat, the C30 features bucket-style seats positioned toward the center of the car, providing a good forward view and space for storage in the side panels.

The stereo system in the C30 rocks! While a premium sound system is available, the C30's standard 160-watt stereo system sounds great. There is an input for connecting an iPod and a CD changer that plays both MP3 and WMA media. Available for the upgraded audio system is an iPod interface that allows you to connect an iPod and manipulate it with the car's controls. Today's drive takes me through the scenic Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in eastern San Diego County, the largest state park in California. While I haven't seen any roadrunners or iguanas as yet, I am experiencing a variety of road surfaces and driving conditions that really allow me to put this car to the test. From the confident acceleration to its agility in handling and cornering, I am definitely impressed by the C30's performance. The solid body and long wheelbase give the C30 a feeling of stability, and the chassis, with MacPherson front wheel suspension and a multilink rear axle, provides outstanding control and makes the car quite responsive. The leather steering wheel and gearshift knob give the car a sporty look and feel. Hey, I'll admit it - this car is fun to drive!

And when it comes to automotive safety, Volvo products always seem to stand out from the rest. The C30 is certainly no exception, with Dynamic Stability Traction Control and an anti-lock braking system with Electronic Brake Force Distribution. To reduce collision intrusion into the passenger compartment, varying grades of steel are used at both the front and rear of the vehicle. While an impressive list of standard equipment on either version of the C30 is probably enough to provide an enjoyable driving experience, there are a variety of options one may choose from, including a power glass moon roof and leather seating surfaces. Another option is a 5-speed Geartronic automatic transmission but, on a car with sporty characteristics like the C30, I highly recommend the standard six-speed manual transmission. If you are feeling creative and really want to go crazy with added features, you can take advantage of Volvo's "Custom Build" program to design your own C30. Simply pay an additional $300 and you can pick from a long list of Custom Build features, including bi-xenon headlights, rear park assist, wood décor inlays and aluminum pedals. Each added feature costs extra, of course, but the $300 Custom Build charge remains the same whether you add one feature or several.

This car is designed to appeal to a car buyer 28 to 38 years old. As someone slightly outside the upper end of that range, I can honestly say that the new Volvo C30 will appeal not only to a younger driver but to the young in spirit, as well. SUMMARY JUDGMENT It's GTI meets Volvo P1800ES Sport Wagon - good things really do come in small packages. For more information on Volvo products:

SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2008 Volvo C30 Price: Version 1.0: $22,700 Version 2.0: $25,700 Engine type: 2.5 liter, DOHC, inline turbocharged 5-cylinder Horsepower: 227 hp @ 5,000 rpm Torque: 236 lb.-ft. @ 1,500-5,000 rpm Drive configuration: Transverse/FWD Transmission type: 6-speed manual; Optional 5-speed "Geartronic" microprocessor-controlled automatic with "Auto-stick" function Steering: Power assisted variable speed, rack and pinion Suspension: Dynamic Sport Suspension Front: MacPherson struts with coil-over springs, stabilizer bar Rear: Multilink independent with coil springs, stabilizer bar Wheelbase: 103.9 inches Wheels and tires: Wheels: Version 1.0: 17-inch alloy wheels Version 2.0: 18-inch alloy wheels Tires: Version 1.0: 205/50/17 Version 2.0: 215/45/18 Brakes: 4-channel Anti-lock Braking System with Electronic Brake Distribution and Electronic Brake Assistance Overall length: 167.4 inches Overall width: 70.2 inches Overall height: 57.0 inches Curb weight (lbs.): 3,201 lbs. 0-60 mph: Manual: 6.2 seconds Automatic: 6.6 seconds

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