By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.0
The 2013 Volvo C30 is an upscale compact carryall that blurs the distinction between hatchback and small station wagon. It is priced above the Mini Cooper and below the Audi A3, but looks nothing like them – or anything else on the road for that matter. Even its engine is unusual, being a turbocharged 5-cylinder that aims for 6-cylinder performance with 4-cylinder fuel economy. Inside, the C30 defies more convention with only four seats instead of the typical five. The C30's differences make it a stylish, fun-to-drive car for individualists.
If you want a stylish, solid and quick compact hatch with a premium feel that stands apart from just about everything else on the road, the C30 is an appealing option.
For 2013, Volvo continues to expand the trim-level offerings on the C30, adding a new Premier trim. Rain-sensing wipers and headlight washers are fitted across the line, and the Premier Plus trim gets new keyless entry and starting as well as active xenon headlights.
Driving Impressions The 2013 Volvo C30 is quick, but not blazingly fast. Still, with a stated 0-60 mph acceleration time of about 6.5 seconds, the C30 has absolutely no problem getting up...to speed on the freeway. What the C30 really has going for it is a solid, planted, and ultimately safe feel that belies its small size. In base T5 form, the front-wheel-drive C30 offers bigger-car comfort, while the R-Design model has a tighter suspension for better cornering. Power level is the same for both models, though either can be boosted with the available Polestar Performance upgrade, which tunes the engine to 250 horsepower for noticeably more sizzle. Both models have a pleasingly quiet cabin. The seating position is comfortable, but for some people, the seatbelts have a tendency to creep up. Outward sightlines are among the best.
EXCEPTIONAL OUTWARD VISIBILITY
The C30's rear window looks great from the outside, and it's even better from within. Thanks to that long panel of glass flowing down the hatch, this Volvo provides astounding rearward visibility.
A turbocharged 2.5-liter 5-cylinder engine gives the C30 a great balance of performance and efficiency, falling neatly between a smaller 4-cylinder and a larger 6-cylinder. And the turbocharger responds with almost no throttle lag.
If you've been in any recent Volvo, the C30's cabin will be instantly familiar. It's functional yet stylish, looking as sleek and angular as anything from an IKEA store. Two-tone leather seating is available, which helps give the C30 a premium look. R-Design models get extra garnishments like aluminum inlays and logos on the seats and steering wheel. In back are two – but only two – sculpted seats, roomy enough for adults. Behind the rear seats is 12.9 cubic feet of storage, which expands to over 20 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.Exterior
A squat profile, deep curves, angular front and beautifully contoured rear make the Volvo C30 a car that looks truly one-of-a-kind. Its defining feature is the lovely panel of rear glass stretching halfway down the car and differentiating it from all other hatchbacks. The window allows exceptional visibility outward, but also lets onlookers peer in, so owners would do well to keep valuables covered in the cargo bay. R-Design models get identifying cues such as a rear spoiler, larger exhaust tips and a smattering of logos. Base models have 17-inch wheels while R-Design editions roll on 18-inchers.
All 2013 Volvo C30 models come with a 6-speed manual transmission, cruise control and a 160-watt/6-speaker audio system with AM/FM/HD Radio, CD player and auxiliary/iPod/USB inputs. Also standard are steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, Bluetooth wireless connectivity with audio streaming, and – deep breath – a pollen filter. All current Volvos are backed by a 5-year/50,000-mile basic warranty and complimentary maintenance for three years/36,000 miles.
The new Premier package on the 2013 Volvo C30 adds a sunroof, power-adjustable driver's seat and cargo-area cover. Premier Plus brings power adjustability for the passenger seat, dual xenon headlights and LED running lights. The top-line Platinum package has a 10-speaker/650-watt premium sound system and navigation system with real-time traffic. Additional options include a 5-speed automatic transmission, climate package, blind-spot monitoring system, and the power-bumping Polestar Performance Package.
All Volvo C30s are powered by a turbocharged 5-cylinder inline engine that makes 227 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque across a wide rpm range. This means the car's power is readily available any time, and there is plenty of it. The standard 6-speed manual transmission has precise, if rather long, shift throws. The optional 5-speed automatic works well but lacks paddle shifters. Unlike many cars with turbocharged engines, this one can run on regular-grade gasoline. For drivers who want more power, the dealer-installed Polestar Performance Package retunes the engine to make 250 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. Gloriously, the Polestar performance boost does not affect rated fuel economy, emissions or warranty coverage.
2.5-liter turbocharged inline-5
227 horsepower @ 5,000 rpm
236 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/29 mpg (manual), 21/30 mpg (automatic)
Note: The dealer-installed Polestar Performance Package increases the C30 engine output to 250 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. The fuel economy figures are not affected.
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..."
20 people out of 36 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 11 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."
7 people out of 12 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."
5 people out of 9 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)"
8 people out of 12 found this review helpful