By KBB.com Editors
Designed to cloud the distinction between station wagon and hatchback, the 2011 Volvo C30 combines the best of both. With the inspiration for its design drawn from both a safety concept car and the classic '70s-era Volvo 1800 ES fastback, there is plenty of heritage to satisfy even the most finicky Volvo enthusiast. Volvo, however, hopes to lure people who would otherwise purchase hatchbacks from Volkswagen and Honda. While the 2011 Volvo C30's premium-car status and price tag places it more in line with the Audi A3, the 2011 Volvo C30's stylish good looks easily trump the conservative A3. The styling advantage places the 2011 Volvo C30 more in league with the Mini Cooper and BMW 1 Series.
If you're looking for a stylish and seldom-seen premium two-door coupe, and you don't mind a hatchback design, the 2011 Volvo C30 makes an appealing choice.
If you're looking for a hatchback with sports-car-style handling, a roomy rear seat and the ability to comfortably carry four adults, the four-door Volkswagen GTI or Audi A3 would be better choices. Those who want a two-door coupe with the security of a trunk should consider the BMW 1 Series.
The 2011 Volvo C30 receives a new grille, hood and front fenders and headlamps. A slight reshuffling of the equipment packages adds new features to some, while removing others to the stand-alone options list.
Driving Impressions The personality of the base 2011 Volvo C30 T5 is shifted towards those who prefer a comfortable ride over a taut, sporty suspension. If, however, your idea of a weekend...well spent is one carving up deserted back roads, consider the C30 R-Design.
This modern-day reinterpretation of one of Volvo's most memorable models has a distinctive visual presence that sets it apart from the competition.
Responsive Turbocharged Engine
Its wide, flat torque curve makes the Volvo 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.
If the 2011 Volvo C30's interior looks familiar, it's because it is almost identical to that in the Volvo S40 and V50. With the same dash, seats and console, including the slim-line "floating" center stack, the Volvo C30's interior doesn't stand out in the same way the Mini Cooper or GTI do, but it is comfortable and Scandinavian chic. Aluminum accent trim covers the console, dash and doors, while seating is covered in either fabric-like T-Tek (for the base T5) or premium leather (for the R-Design). Front-seat occupants will enjoy acceptable headroom and legroom, but the rear bucket seats are not comfortable for average-sized adults. Both rear seats fold flat, increasing the Volvo C30's cargo-carrying ability. The Volvo C30's oddly shaped rear hatch opening inhibits loading large or bulky items.
The 2011 Volvo C30 derives its styling from both the 2001 Volvo Safety Concept Car and vintage Volvo P1800 ES fastback. This is blended with a front end very similar to Volvo's S40 and V50. The C30's profile is rakishly seductive. Its all-glass frameless hatch is unique, but some may find it a bit too revealing. A variety of colors and wheel choices, as well as optional body kits, make it easy to personalize the 2011 Volvo C30. Sadly, the attractive painted wheel arches and ground-effects kit that debuted with the original car are no longer offered. The base 2011 Volvo C30 T5 model rolls on 205/50 tires on 17-inch aluminum wheels, while the up-level R-Design steps up to 215/45 rubber on 18-inch alloy rims. The C30 R-Design also includes a body kit that features color-coordinated fender flares, side skirts and spoilers both front and rear.
In addition to identical engines and transmissions, the Volvo C30 T5 and C30 R-Design also share a fairly expansive set of features. These features are highlighted by a cabin pollen filter, tilt and telescoping steering column, keyless remote entry, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, anti-theft immobilizer system, Volvo's side-impact and whiplash protection systems and Electronic Brake Assist. A 160-watt/six-speaker AM/FM/HD/CD/MP3 audio package with auxiliary audio and USB/iPod input jacks is standard on both, as are steering wheel-mounted audio controls. The R-Design also gets fog lights, 18-inch wheels, color-coordinated ground effects, a sport-tuned chassis, and aluminum interior trim enhancements.
Highlighting the 2011 Volvo C30's options list are an automatic transmission, leather upholstery, dual xenon headlamps with Active Bending Light, Sirius Satellite Radio, and the Blind Spot Information System. The Climate Package adds heated seats, Rain Sensor wipers, electronic climate control and headlight washers. The Multimedia Package gains a 650-watt Dynaudio Surround Sound audio system and an HDD navigation system with Real-Time Traffic, remote and two map updates. Check off the Preferred Package and you'll get power front seats, a power sunroof and Volvo's Keyless Drive.
Both the C30 T5 and C30 R-Design are fitted with identical engines. Volvo's lightweight-aluminum 2.5-liter turbocharged in-line five-cylinder engine 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. The latter also incorporates a manual-style "auto-stick" function. The C30 can sprint from zero to 60 miles per hour in 6.2 seconds with the manual and needs only 6.6 seconds to hit that mark with the automatic.
2.5-liter in-line 5 turbo
227 horsepower @ 5000 rpm
236 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1500-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/30 (automatic), 21/29 (manual)
By mrc127 on Sunday, February 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 57,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
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)"
2 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Mike on Saturday, January 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 47,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
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."
By Ladyf1fan on Saturday, December 14, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 36,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Comfortable, stylish,"
Cons: "Small rear hatch opening"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I love this car, I am amazed at the mileage I get considering how heavy and solid it feels. I bought this after a collision in another car and was concerned about safety. It is a very comfortable quiet ride. My only caveat is the rear door opening is small with lip to get things over. The interior is very comfortable and stylish and roomy, well though out. The best is the warranty that includes wear and tear for five years! I added back up sensors which I think should be standard on every car. Because I relocated across country I have dealt with 3 different dealerships which I found to be excellent. Very professional and helpful."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Joe on Thursday, October 10, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun driving and spunky, handy for hauling stuff"
Cons: "interior is sparse, wheels are awful to clean"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"I drive hard and this car handles great. The seating material drivers side cracked in 2 years but Volvo replaced it under warranty. Lots of complements on styling. I just wish that the wheels, Sparticus type, didn't pit so badly due to brake dusting. I'd buy again but it doesn't look like they will be available."
By Jim on Sunday, August 18, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"Higher than normal road noise. Automatic temp works poorly - drops too low a fan speed to maintain temp. but manual is fine. Had 3 minor warrantee claims. Handles great. Lots of power although turbo takes a moment to kick in. R Type trim below bumpers hit curbs. Very nice auto trans. Shifts unnoticeably. Computer reminded me of need for first oil change 4,000 miles beyond when due. Interior is nice. Nice seats and very comfortable. Access to rear a bit tight but comfortable when you get there. Get a cargo net or be pelted if you stop suddenly. Neat car with many positives and a few puzzles."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By Steve on Thursday, August 15, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 36,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Style, handling, performance"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Purchased a 2011 through the Overseas Delivery Program. Picked it up in Gottenberg, Sweden took the ferry to Germany and drove it from Kiel to Munich in one day at speeds up to 125mph. The car drives better the faster you drive it. I absolutely love this car. It's the embodiment of refined sports handling. I did the Polestar upgrade over a year ago and that made it even better. It improved the performance and I got a 1.5 mpg increase. I would love to buy another especially if I could do the overseas delivery again. It's the best kept secret in the entire car industry."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful