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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
8.9
Out of 10

Based on 68 Ratings for the 2008 - 2013 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.8/10
    Quality
    9.0/10
  • Reliability
    9.3/10
    Performance
    9.5/10
  • Comfort
    9.1/10
    Styling
    9.5/10

Looks good drives nice, but will leave you

By on Thursday, May 29, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 118,000

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
4/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"This car has a known issue with the Steering lock immobilizer. The ONLY way to fix is take to a dealer, which as we all know = $$$'s. It has left me stranded with this issue as well as other battery issues. The problem is that any issue even a minor one will cause the car not to start. Nearest dealer is one hour away. Looks GREAT though. Interior rocks!"

13 people out of 20 found this review helpful

It is a good vehicle not a great vehicle.

By on Thursday, May 15, 2014

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

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
5/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"I had problems from day one in what sounded like a leak causing excessive noise. The dealer looked at and tested the car and were not able to find the problem. I thought the way the mirrors were designed might of caused some of the noise. The transmission is very clunky and never came close to the Toyota Celica I previously owned. My last complaint is the steering wheel which has a layer of metal embedded in it. On hot days it would burn your hands and on cold days it would freeze your hands. This is the first Volvo I have owned and I don't think I will buy another. I was much happier with a ten year old Celica than I was with this car."

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Love this car!

By on Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 61,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive, appealing looks, handles very well"

Cons: "Expensive to own, fuel efficiency"

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

"I have had this car for 3 years and I love it! Very sporty and fast. Only drawback is fuel efficiency. It gets about 18 miles to the gallon and it takes premium fuel."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

I love my C-30

By on Friday, April 18, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 160,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"I have been through the most brutal snow, wind, ice, rain. I have driven this car 160,000 miles with little complaints. I love it. I feel safe in it. It performs beautifully and is quick, fast, nimble and FUN."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

fun car

By on Sunday, February 16, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 57,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "fun to drive"

Cons: "mileage with a turbo is just barely ok"

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

"love the car but because it's a turbo, mileage is only about 25mph. I also love the warranty. it covers everything except tires. I bought the extended warranty and it's worth the money. I made a point of testing getting in and out of the back seat before I purchased it and had no problem but my friends seem to struggle each time (we're all late 50s)"

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Sportiest most fun to drive vehicle I have owned.

By on Saturday, January 25, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 47,000

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
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Quality, trouble free, super comfortable, fun!"

Cons: "Rear leg room"

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

"The Volvo C30 is understated and hard to find on the road. Design is eye-catching and mine is a bright red which draws many admiring comments! It is really zippy and responsive yet gets surprisingly good gas mileage. Seats are super comfortable and hatchback really convenient for gym bag and everyday essentials. Build quality is legendary which earns Volvos a great safety rating. It rides really silent on the road which allows enjoyment of the premium sound system which came custom extra with the car. What can I say - I am hooked on Volvo and the C30 is an all round great experience with zero issues experienced in the 5 years I have owned it."

3 people out of 4 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

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