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2009 Volvo C30

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2009 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 and V50 lines, the 2009 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 and a top-of-the-line T5 R-Design that includes suspension upgrades, more standard features and R-inspired body kit and trim. 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 2009 Volvo C30's approach to style, comfort and performance could make it a very appealing choice.

You May Not Like This Car If...

While some potential buyers may find the 2009 Volvo C30's sheetmetal a bit too avant-garde, those wanting a true wagon will likely have bigger problems with its lack of rear passenger doors, modest cargo capacity and diminutive hatch opening.

What's New for 2009

The C30 T5 Version 1.0 and 2.0 become the T5 and T5 R-Design, respectively. Bluetooth is made a stand-alone option, while minor enhancements are made to the C30's equipment packages and colors. A seat-belt-reminder warning is added to the rear seats.

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 theme. In T5 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 R-Design. 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 R-Design 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.

2009 Volvo C30 Details
2009 Volvo C30 photo Interior

The C30 borrows major cabin design elements from the S40 and V50, including Volvo's slim-line "floating" center stack that holds controls and switchgear for the audio and air conditioning. Aluminum-accent R-style trim in the R-Design model adds visual character that raises it well above the standard gray-plastic of the T5, 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

The C30's distinctive appearance reflects a neo-classic look that matches front-end cues based on Volvo's current S40 and 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 model pairs 205/50 tires with 17-inch aluminum wheels, while the R-Design 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 and T5 R-Design 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 Electronic Brake Assistance. A 160-watt/six-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio package with auxiliary audio input jack is standard on both, with the R-Design tossing in a six-month subscription to SIRIUS Satellite Radio. The R-Design also gets cruise control, 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, an HDD-based navigation system with real-time traffic updates and the Climate Package (heated seats, Rain Sensor wipers and 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, Dynaudio 650-watt sound system, 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 T5 and T5 R-Design 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 the 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.

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

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2009 Volvo C30 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.0
Out of 10

Based on 78 Ratings for the 2008 - 2013 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.8/10
    Quality
    9.1/10
  • Reliability
    9.3/10
    Performance
    9.4/10
  • Comfort
    9.2/10
    Styling
    9.5/10

Fun to Drive

By on Tuesday, December 1, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000

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: "Handling, economy, styling, A+"

Cons: "Comfort but built for the road"

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

"Owned vehicle from Demo of Dealership! Super Burnt Orange, so haven't seen another one on the road like it! Remarkable handling on mountain roads and very peppy! On the run a lot, easy to zip around places, purchased a rear cover to keep hatch area from being viewed. Love the lay down seats and the roomy Mini van capability. Great gas mileage, and where ever I go, the "Men" always are drawn to it and how sharp it looks. Just had it in for its annual detail and several couldn't believe it was a 2011 vehicle! Dealer now asking me if want to sell it!.....NOOOOO way!"

4 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Really Enjoyed this car

By on Wednesday, November 4, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 93,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Cons: "Rims can be easy to crack, Sunroof can leak (known"

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

"I have no major complaints for this car on dependability, comfort or handling. I kept my regular maintenance up, balanced and rotated ect. This care is amazing you have both a sports car and hatchback so it's convenient. I frequently went from high to low speed in various elements and it handles like a champ My minor complaints are; The rims can be easy to crack and that the sunroof is known to leak on occasion(this is a known Volvo manufacture problem)"

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

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."

13 people out of 16 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!"

4 people out of 9 found this review helpful

C30 Keeps on Delivering

By on Tuesday, April 7, 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."

11 people out of 14 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!"

6 people out of 17 found this review helpful

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