By KBB.com Editors
The days of the canvas convertible top are fast coming to a close, and cars like the 2009 Volvo C70 are the primary reason. Although Ford pioneered the idea of a retractable hardtop back in the 1950s, only recently has the technology been perfected. While convertibles such as the Lexus SC 430 and Volkswagen Eos demonstrate the hard-top concept, Volvo has figured out a way to build in added safety features such as reinforced roof rails, pop-up roll bars and door-mounted side-curtain airbags. Unlike many convertibles, the C70 can seat four adults in relative comfort and, while not cheap, it is well within the price range of the average premium convertible buyer.You'll Like This Car If... You May Not Like This Car If...
If you desire leading-edge performance from your European sportster, you might find the C70's performance a tad on the tame side.What's New for 2009
Upgrades to the C70's cabin include new aluminum inlays, improvements to the 40-gigabyte HDD navigation system and the addition of standard Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity.Driving It Driving Impressions
The Volvo C70 is every inch a Volvo and that extends from the exceptional comfort of its seats to its satisfying on-road manners. While no one will find the C70 offers the precise handling and exhilarating performance of some of its top competitors, it does a more-than-creditable job of finding the right balance between ride and handling for most luxury coupe-convertible drivers. Though acceleration is more than adequate, frankly we wished the 2.5-liter five-cylinder T5 engine with light-pressure turbocharging produced more than its advertised 227 horsepower. Torque is adequate at 236 pound-feet in what is a flat "curve" from 1,500 to 5,000 rpm, but a little more horsepower would turn the C70 from a satisfying ride to a thrilling one.Favorite Features
Retractable Steel Hardtop
You have to love the fact that the C70 can be a quiet, cozy closed coupe in a rain shower and a wide-open convertible in the sun at the touch of a button.
Dynaudio Sound System
Green Day or Sinatra, music has rarely sounded as pure and clear as through the C70's audiophile-worthy system.
The highly-praised Scandinavian design ethic gets a thorough workout in the no-nonsense interior of the C70. The super-thin central area of the dashboard is a serious "wow." It evokes thoughts of high-end audio equipment. Volvos have long been known for their fantastic seat comfort, and the C70 upholds that reputation, although rear-seat passengers might be a tad disappointed by their available legroom if tall passengers are in front. Handsome leather-covered seats are optional, but more intriguing are seats with the specially-developed Vulcaflex synthetic upholstery that has a skinlike feel. The car's many inboard storage areas are linked to the central locking system, which allows convenient locking even when the top is down.Exterior
Volvo execs cut out a big challenge for the design team, asking for a vehicle that looks great with top up and top down, can accommodate four adult passengers and has better-than-average cargo space. Somehow the Volvo design team, aided by the experts at Italy's Pininfarina, achieved all those objectives. Even though the car has a very short nose, it still looks aggressive, while at the same time clearly demonstrating its Volvo family heritage. The car was designed as a coupe first but, according to Volvo designer Fedde Talsma, "the convertible's lines fell cleanly into place." The 12.8-cubic foot trunk capacity is excellent for a car in this class, and it even offers six cubic feet of cargo space with the top retracted.Notable Standard Equipment
Leading the list of standard equipment is the three-piece retractable steel roof that is actuated by a computer-controlled electric motor and hydraulic pump. To activate the top the vehicle must be stationary, but it does open and close in 30 seconds. As you would guess, the C70 is chockfull of active and passive safety systems. On the active safety front, the car offers anti-lock brakes (ABS) and Volvo's Dynamic Stability and Traction Control System (DSTC). The standard transmission is a six-speed manual – somewhat unusual for a luxury coupe but in keeping with its sporty nature.Notable Optional Equipment
Perhaps the major item on the Volvo C70's option list is the Dynaudio sound package; it includes a 14-speaker arrangement with a high-end 5 x 130-watt digital amplifier that facilitates Dolby Pro Logic II Surround Sound. Also optional are leather seating surfaces, Homelink remote garage door opener, five-speed Geartronic automatic transmission, heated front seats, headlamp washers, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, rain-sensing windshield wiper system, Blind Spot Information System, Volvo's HDD-based navigation system, 18-inch "Mirzam" alloy wheels, Bi-Xenon headlamps, Keyless Drive and rear park assist.Under the Hood
The Volvo light-pressure turbocharging is designed more for economical all-around driving than for performance, so forgive us if we craved a little more horsepower and torque from the 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine. The big plus is its laudable fuel economy.
2.5-liter in-line 5 Light-Pressure Turbo
227 horsepower @ 5000 rpm
236 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1500 to 5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27 (manual), 18/26 (automatic)
The C70's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts just over $40,500 and tops out just over $51,000 with all the options. Volvo C70 finds itself in a small but enviable pack of European-built convertibles. Like the BMW 3 Series, it offers the advantage of a retracting hardtop, while its other chief rival, the Audi A4 Cabriolet, is equipped with a folding fabric top. A look at the Fair Purchase Price will show you the typical transaction price paid for the C70 in your area, so be sure to check it out before you begin negotiations. The C70 maintains excellent five-year resale values, on par with the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 Cabriolet and higher than the Chrysler Sebring Limited.