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2008 Volvo C30

Overview
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2008 Volvo C30 Review

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A compact front-drive two-door that interweaves unique Volvo styling cues with well-proven mechanicals from the S40/V50 lines, the new C30 is designed to blur the established line between a conventional hatchback and a station wagon. It's also the first Volvo sold here to offer buyers enhanced personalization potential through the factory's Custom Build individualization program. Volvo's most affordable entry is available in two trim levels: The well-appointed T5 1.0 and a top-of-the-line T5 2.0 that includes suspension upgrades, more standard features and a body kit. Although the C30's closest direct competitors are the Mini Cooper and Volkswagen GTI, devotees of trendy personal transport modules might consider this high-profile newcomer as a suitable alternative for vehicles as diverse as the Audi A3, BMW 1 Series, Saab 9-3 SportCombi or Scion tC.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're willing to trade off a bit of conventional station wagon utility for a look that will definitely turn heads, the new 2008 Volvo C30's approach to style, comfort and performance could make it a very appealing alternative.

You May Not Like This Car If...

While some potential buyers may find the 2008 Volvo C30's sheetmetal a bit too avant-garde, true wagon fanatics will likely have bigger problems with its lack of rear passenger doors, modest cargo capacity and diminutive hatch opening.

What's Significant About This Car?

The new C30 line combines style, practicality and affordability in a distinctive and user-friendly package that Volvo hopes will help boost its corporate profile while attracting younger buyers to the brand.

Driving the C30

Driving Impressions A turbocharged five-cylinder engine endows both C30 variants with the same spirited acceleration, while Volvo's driver-selectable Dynamic Traction and Stability Control system and anti-lock disc brakes enhance their fundamentally solid...

handling and stopping capabilities. Beyond those basics, each embodies a slightly different variation on the transport theme. In 1.0 guise, the C30's personality is skewed towards buyers who put a higher priority on ride comfort than on precision responsiveness. If you're more inclined to spend time carving up corners than negotiating urban stop-and-go or long-distance freeway cruising, consider the T5 2.0. Its slightly tauter suspension settings, lower ride height and upgraded wheel and tire package help quicken the C30's steering response, trim body roll during hard cornering and mildly reduce braking distances. Even at the 2.0 level, the C30 retains an edge in overall ride compliance compared to the Mini Cooper and VW GTI. However, it does still fall a little short of those two with respect to absolute sportiness.

Head-turning Style
This modern-day reinterpretation of one of Volvo's most memorable sportwagon models has a distinctive visual presence that sets it apart from the competition but still maintains legitimate four-passenger practicality.

Responsive Turbocharged Engine
Its wide, flat torque curve makes the C30's potent turbocharged five-cylinder engine a perfect match for this petite hauler, injecting a major dose of pure driving delight whether paired with the standard manual or optional automatic transmission.

2008 Volvo C30 Details
2008 Volvo C30 photo Interior

The C30 borrows major cabin design elements from the S40/V50, including Volvo's slim-line "floating" center stack that holds controls and switchgear for the audio and air conditioning. Aluminum accent trim in the 2.0 model adds visual character that raises it well above the standard gray-plastic of the 1.0, but both versions are fitted with comfortable and supportive manually-adjustable bucket seats covered in Volvo's fabric-like T-Tek material. The C30's rear quarters feature dual seats with enough head and leg room to accommodate two average-sized adults. Although folding the seatbacks increases cargo capacity from 12.9 to 20.2 cubic feet, the C30's smallish and oddly-shaped glass hatch does negatively impact the loading and unloading process.

Exterior
2008 Volvo C30 photo

The C30's distinctive appearance reflects a neo-classic look that matches front-end cues based on Volvo's current S40/V50 models with the flowing tapered roof and prominent taillight treatment seen on the firm's 2001 Safety Concept Car (SCC). While the C30's two-door configuration and rakishly angled all-glass rear hatch also figured in the SCC's design brief, both elements first appeared on the P1800ES sportwagon, a '70s-era Volvo that still enjoys cult-car status. The C30 T5 1.0 model pairs 205/50 tires with 17-inch aluminum wheels, while the 2.0 steps up to 215/45 rubber on larger 18-inch alloy rims and adds a body kit with color-coordinated fender flares, side skirts and front and rear spoilers.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Beyond identical powertrains, the T5 1.0 and 2.0 also share a fairly expansive set of features, highlighted by a full array of power assists, air conditioning with cabin pollen filter, tilt and telescoping steering column, a driver information system, keyless remote entry, anti-theft immobilizer system, front, front-side and side-curtain airbags, Volvo's side-impact and whiplash protection systems and anti-lock disc brakes with Brake Assist. The 1.0's 160-watt/six-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio package is replaced in the 2.0 by a 650-watt/10-speaker setup that includes a six-month subscription to SIRIUS Satellite Radio. Both audio systems feature an auxiliary input jack. The 2.0 also gets unique bodywork, chassis and interior trim enhancements.

Optional Equipment

Highlighting the C30's conventional options list are an automatic transmission, leather upholstery, power glass moonroof, a DVD-based navigation system (2.0 only) and several lesser items, plus the Climate Package (heated seats, Rainsensor wipers, headlight washers). Stepping up to the Custom Build program -- which requires a one-time $300 premium -- grants access to a much longer list of upgrades, including special interior and exterior color treatments, dual-zone automatic climate control, a trip computer, cruise control, bi-xenon headlights, keyless start, rear park assist and dual power front seats. Several of the more easily installed Custom Build items, such as wheel and tire upgrades and cargo covers, are also available as dealer accessories.

Under the Hood

Both the 1.0 and 2.0 versions of the front-drive C30 T5 are fitted with identical powertrain elements. The lightweight-aluminum 2.5-liter turbocharged inline five-cylinder engine develops 227 horsepower at 5000 rpm and is fitted with variable valve timing that helps it make and maintain a constant 236 pound-feet of torque from 1500 to 5000 rpm. That expansive torque plateau ensures superb responsiveness, whether you back it with the base six-speed manual transmission or optional five-speed Geartronic automatic that also incorporates a manual-style "auto-stick" function. The C30 can sprint from zero to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds with the manual, and needs only 6.6 seconds to hit that mark with the automatic, even when left to shift for itself. Although opting for the automatic trims EPA highway ratings from 28 to 27 mpg, all C30s have a 19-mpg city rating regardless of transmission.

2.5-liter turbocharged in-line 5
227 horsepower @ 5000 rpm
236 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1500-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/27 (automatic), 19/28 (manual)

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2008 Volvo C30 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.0
Out of 10

Based on 76 Ratings for the 2008 - 2013 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.8/10
    Quality
    9.0/10
  • Reliability
    9.3/10
    Performance
    9.4/10
  • Comfort
    9.2/10
    Styling
    9.5/10

incredibly nice car!

By on Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 36,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "see above comments"

Cons: "no negatives after 3 years of ownership"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Car has style, comfort, reliability and is really well built. It is 7 years old and I still receive compliments on it's style."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Fun to Drive!

By on Saturday, April 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,561

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Handling, hill climbing, comfortable seat"

Cons: "Hood lever is very difficult to reach"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"If you are a person who loves a sport tuned chassis and appreciates a manual transmission, then you have to have this car! While it is small (coming from a Saab Turbo X and Saab 93X, both of which are 18" longer, but also fun to drive) if you put the back seats down, you can still fit 4 tires in the back, or a decent bit of luggage. Gas mileage could be a bit better considering the size of the car, but the T5 engine has plenty of power and beats the Saabs every time as far as gear ratios for climbing hills. Saabs beat the V30 in highway mileage though. Cornering is very nice, as this little rocket holds the road handily!"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

C30 Keeps on Delivering

By on Tuesday, April 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 66,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Agile 240hp Turbo with pep, fun to drive, responds"

Cons: "Light steering, MPG could be better"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"As a driver who typically leases for three years and then get bored or a car, my Volvo C30 keep on delivering. I have had Audi, BMW and VW leases and I am still glad this was the first car I have purchased and still drive. Great car, manual six speed that get me easily through the northeast weather. As a commuter, I need my car to bring me to work and the C30 still keeps me interested."

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

My baby is the best!!

By on Monday, March 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Head turner, fast, and different"

Cons: "Had to replace the windshield due to a small leak"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"This is my second car that I've owned and I can't think of any other car to replace it. It's different and a head turner, not everyone I meet likes it, but I do and so do most people. Mine is a manual, and it shifts very smoothly. My top speed...so far ;)...is 115 mph haha. I love my car and it reflects my personality perfectly!"

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

I bought two!

By on Friday, March 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 36,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "fast sprty and NEVER fails to impress passersby. I"

Cons: "Door handles can freeze very easily, takes a long."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I bought my original 2011 C30 in 2010, and loved every bit of that car, but I had trouble with the electronic key module. It went out twice, once leaving me stranded. Luckily it was under warrantee, and Volvo fixed it free of charge. When my warrantee ran out I bought the same car.... I mean the SAME car. Same year color everything. I loved it that much. The second one had really low mileage, so I went for it. I have had it a year... so far no problems with module. Drives great, fun, fast and a safe sporty car. I will always have a Volvo. P.S. I drive in some of the worst North East PA winter weather. I recommend Michelin Ice snow tires and it will go anywhere."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Why isn't Volvo more highly recommended?

By on Friday, February 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Lots of fun, smooth and quick ride"

Cons: "fuel efficiency"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Love this car! It is my first Volvo and its such a dream to drive. I never thought I could afford a luxury car but the C30 was within my budget. My boyfriend loves to drive it as well. No issues within the first 2 years, just oil changes. I did have to replace the sporty tires as the ride was a bit loud. My only complaint is that I get about 18 mpg highway/city combined. On road trips I have not exceeded 24 mpg. Good thing is that I can use regular gas."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?