Please Tell Us Your City
Satish Kalepu Satish Kalepu Thursday 01 January 1970

The five-strong petrol line-up kicks off with a 99bhp 1.6-litre and tops out with the 217bhp 2.5-litre T5, which provides massive mid-range muscle. Diesel fans are offered 108bhp 1.6, 134bhp 2.0 and 178bhp 2.4-litre D5 units, but the D5 is best avoided because it's only available with a five-speed automatic gearbox that's slow and unresponsive. 

Ride & handling
Short-travel suspension keeps body movement in check, so the C30 remains composed on twisty country roads. The payoff is a rather firm ride, but it stops short of being harsh and improves with speed. The steering is also well weighted and quick to respond, but it has a rather numb feel. 

The C30 is a decent motorway cruiser, although some wind noise does build up around the door mirrors and it lets in road noise on rougher Tarmac. The petrol engines are pretty civilised, but the 2.0-litre diesel emits a telltale rattle around town and the D5 can be boomy.


Buying & owning 
The C30 undercuts rivals such as the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series on price, but looks a bit expensive compared with the Volkswagen Golf. Fuel bills are reasonable unless you choose the T5 flagship, plus maintenance and insurance shouldn't break the bank. Residuals are strong, too.

Quality & reliability
The C30 may be Volvo's smallest car, but that doesn't mean it has skimped on the interior fittings. Dense, soft-touch plastics cover the upper dashboard, the switchgear operates with precision and it generally feels built to last. Volvo also has a good reliability record, and the mechanicals are proven.

Safety & security
Volvo is famed for safety, and the C30 is said to perform just as well as the S40 in a rear-end shunt, despite having a significantly shorter rear overhang. Every model has stability control, six airbags and active anti-whiplash front head restraints, while deadlocks, an integrated stereo and a visible VIN number all help to deter thieves.


Behind the wheel
The C30 shares its dash design with the S40, V50 and C70. There's the same simple dash and 'floating' centre console that's attached top and bottom, but has open space behind. It looks great, but the narrow strip of switches on it are fiddly. A wide range of driver's seat and steering wheel adjustment means it's easy to get comfortable.

Space & practicality
There's plenty of head- and legroom upfront and enough space for a pair of adults to get settled behind. Most rivals are roomier in the back, however, and the C30 has two individual rear chairs rather than a bench, so you can't squeeze in a third. The boot is a good square shape, but also small and shallow. The luggage cover is fiddly, too.

Every C30 comes with climate control, an MP3-compatible stereo, electric front windows and alloy wheels, while SE adds steering wheel-mounted stereo controls, plusher upholstery and cruise control. Two flagship trims are also offered - SE Sport, which brings larger alloys and a bodykit, and SE Lux, for those who prefer leather upholstery and heated front seats.

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