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 BobC on Saturday, August 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 84,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Cons: "Cabin ergonomics"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"First, I am no a Volvo fan; never have been; but, I am in love with this C30 and I have been ever since I saw one on the road for the first time. Had to have one. I've owned this car since new; it's a 6-speed and has 84k miles on it! Never a problem to be had. Cabin ergonomics leave something to be desired: cup holders in the console right behind the shift lever leave them useless (not a problem for me, I don't eat/drink in my car); console charger outlet is to the right of the shift lever and my sleeve gets caught on it while shifting! Don't know what's up with that useless space behind the HVAC controls on the console! If they had offered this model in AWD (and I can't imagine whey they didn't) I would keep it forever and a day. Next car will be AWD; and, unless they resurrect this model in AWD, it won't be a Volvo..."
12 people out of 27 found this review helpful
By HkyPLyr26 on Thursday, May 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 118,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
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!"
16 people out of 27 found this review helpful
By Mark on Thursday, May 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 66,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
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 10 found this review helpful
By Jillian86 on Tuesday, April 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 61,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
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
By Tess on Friday, April 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 160,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
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 5 found this review helpful
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)"
5 people out of 8 found this review helpful