By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 3/25/2011
Thanks to cars like the 2011 Volvo C70 convertible, the days of the ill-fitting and drafty rag-top appear to be numbered. Retractable hardtops are nothing new: The idea first appeared in production automobiles some 60 years ago. Only recently has technology managed to make a safe, lightweight and, most importantly, affordable retractable hardtop convertible. The 2011 Volvo C70's top includes the all-important safety features found on a traditional fixed-roof car, namely a reinforced roof rail and side-curtain airbags, which are necessary to pass government tests. Unlike many of its competitors, the C70 has a usable rear seat.You'll Like This Car If...
If you love the feel of open-air driving, but you worry about the safety and lack of security of a fabric top, the 2011 Volvo C70 has you covered. And uncovered, too.You May Not Like This Car If... What's Significant About This Car?
Changes for the 2011 Volvo C70 are mostly cosmetic. There is a revised front end with a new grille, nose, headlamps and front fenders. Inside a new dashboard and instrument cluster join a more feature-rich standard-equipment list.Driving It Driving Impressions
From the exceptional comfort of its form-fitting bucket seats to its pleasant and predictable road manners, the 2011 Volvo C70 is every inch the car Volvo promises it to be. Although it doesn't possess the extreme handling and acceleration of cars such as the BMW 3 Series and Audi S5 Cabriolet, the C70 will prove more than sufficient for the vast majority of drivers. Part of the letdown for enthusiasts is the comparatively low 227 horsepower produced by the light pressure turbocharger. With more boost, this engine could reach 300 horsepower, but that's not the type of driving the C70 buyer cares about, at least not in Volvo's opinion.Favorite Features
Retractable Steel Hardtop
You have to love the fact that the 2011 Volvo C70 can be a quiet, cozy closed coupe in a rain shower and, with the touch of a button, turn into a wide-open convertible when the clouds depart.
Dynaudio Sound System
Green Day or Sinatra, music has rarely sounded as pure and clear as through the 2011 Volvo C70's audiophile-worthy system.
True to its Scandinavian roots, the 2011 Volvo C70's interior is as pleasing to ride in as it is to view. A new dash design provides a wider, sleeker look and the new gauge cluster instruments feature graphics and typefaces specific to the C70. Of course, Volvo's signature "floating" console is still here, evoking the look and feel of high-end audio equipment. Long known for their comfortable seats, Volvo does not disappoint with the C70. Rear seat passengers also have a comfortable perch, but might find legroom a bit on the snug side. The C70's leather seats come in a variety of colors, but all wear premium Sovereign cowhide coverings. In another nod to security, the C70's many inboard storage areas are synced with the central locking system, assuring that valuables stay safe even when the top is down.Exterior
Aided by the design experts from Italy's renowned Pininfarina styling studio, Volvo engineers have created a convertible that can accommodate four adults, has a usable trunk and looks great with the top up or down. A new, aggressive wedge-shaped nose is joined by large flared headlamps and matching fog light bezels. Around back, LED taillights complete the exterior freshening. Even with its short nose, the 2011 Volvo C70 still looks fairly aggressive. Trunk space, the Achilles' heel of retractable hardtops, is actually quite good,with 12.8-cubic feet trunk capacity with the top up, and 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 opens or closes in 30 seconds. As you would guess, the C70 is chockfull of active and passive safety systems. The standard transmission is a five-speed Geartronic automatic with manual shift control.Notable Optional Equipment
Perhaps the most desirable item on the Volvo C70's option list is the Multimedia Package, which includes a 12-speaker arrangement with a high-end 130-watt digital amplifier that powers Dolby Pro Logic II Surround Sound. The package also includes HDD navigation with Real Time Traffic updates. Other available options include cranberry leather seating surfaces, Homelink remote garage door opener, heated front seats, headlamp washers, Sirius Satellite Radio, rain-sensing windshield wipers, Blind Spot Information System, 18-inch alloy wheels, Bi-xenon headlamps 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 in-line five-cylinder engine. Maybe we're a little spoiled: In the 1980s, the Chevrolet Corvette barely topped the Volvo C70's 227 horsepower. The big plus for the Volvo is its laudable fuel economy.
2.5-liter in-line five turbo
227 horsepower @ 5000 rpm
236 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1500 to 5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/28
The 2011 Volvo C70's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts close to $41,000 and tops out just over $51,500 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 A5 Cabriolet, is equipped with a folding fabric top. The Lexus IS 250C is in the same price range and offers a similar retractable hardtop. A look at the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price will show 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 above-average five-year resale values, but falls short of the marks set by the BMW 3 Series and Audi A5 Cabriolet.