2012 Volvo C70

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2012 Volvo C70 Review

By KBB.com Editors

KBB Expert Rating: 7.1

Although the advent of the retractable hardtop can be traced back to the mid-1930s, it wasn’t until the late 20th century that automotive engineers began refining and perfecting this technology of the “Golden Age.” Today, the rising popularity of retractable hardtops stems as a result of their safety, light weight and, best of all, affordability. The 2012 Volvo C70 emulates all the desirable qualities one would expect from a premium cabriolet; however, conventional hardtops are unable to equal the C70’s legion of safety features. And unlike the majority of 2+2 convertibles such as the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet, Lexus IS 250C and the Audi A5 Cabriolet, the C70’s rear seat offers reasonably comfortable accommodations for two adults.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you relish the unique driving sensation only a convertible can provide, but you desire the safety, security and refinement of a traditional hardtop coupe, the Volvo C70 will satisfy your distinctive new-car buying provisions.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If your idea of open-air fun includes blasting through mountain roads purely for the enjoyment of driving, the C70 will leave you yearning for additional performance. Enthusiasts might find the BMW 3 Series convertible more appealing.

What's New for 2012

Changes to the 2012 Volvo C70 include standard Bluetooth with audio streaming capability, available LED daytime running lights, and a new smartphone application featuring concierge, maintenance and emergency services.

Driving the C70
Driving Impressions

From the exceptional comfort of its form-fitting bucket seats to its pleasant and predictable road manners, the 2012 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 335is convertible or Audi S5 Cabriolet, the C70 will prove more than sufficient for the vast majority of drivers. Until the 2012 models arrived in showrooms, part of the letdown for enthusiasts was the C70’s comparatively low 227 horsepower produced by the convertible’s sole engine choice, a 2.5-liter inline-5. So to help appease performance-oriented drivers, the range-topping T5 Inscription model receives a host of refinements for the same engine, yielding a 23-horsepower increase along with an additional 37 lb-ft of torque.

Retractable Steel Hardtop
Not surprisingly, the Volvo C70’s principle draw is its reinforced retractable hardtop. Whether the forecast calls for a torrential downpour or an abundance of sunshine, the C70 has you covered – and uncovered, too.

Advanced Climate Control
Allergy sufferers can breathe a sigh of relief thanks to the Volvo C70’s comprehensive climate control system. To help maintain appropriate humidity levels and prevent atmospheric pollutants from entering the cabin, the C70’s ventilation system employs a humidity sensor, cabin filter and Volvo’s renowned Interior Air Quality System.

2012 Volvo C70 Details

Exceptionally ergonomic and reasonably upscale, the 2012 Volvo C70’s cabin produces an engaging experience. Like most modern Volvos, the C70’s center stack contains prominent controls and user-friendly climate functions. Standard Sovereign Hide leather handsomely wraps the seating surfaces, while brushed aluminum inlays highlight the C70’s athletic underpinnings. Although the C70’s rear seats offer more legroom than most 4-seat convertibles, passengers relegated to the back seat will still find it a bit constricting. Another limiting factor is the retractable hardtop’s impact on trunk space, which cuts cargo room nearly in half during open-top driving.


Despite Volvo’s Scandinavian origins, credit for the C70’s sleek exterior architecture goes to Italy’s celebrated Pininfarina design studio. In an effort to align the C70 with Volvo’s current design language, a wedge-shaped nose fronted by the brand’s trademark grille provides superbly good looks with the top up or down. Moreover, distinctive LED taillights and optional xenon headlights for both the high and low beams emphasize the C70’s contemporary design. Highlighting the C70 T5 Inscription’s supplemental horsepower is a set of 18-inch high-gloss alloy wheels, a black-painted grille with chrome accents, and a rear decklid spoiler.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Leading the list of standard equipment is the 3-piece retractable steel roof that opens or closes in less than 30 seconds. The standard audio system is comprised of eight speakers, a USB port for MP3/WMA players, HD Radio and SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Since the C70 is a Volvo, after all, it is chockfull of the latest active and passive safety systems like anti-submarining guards that help prevent passengers from sliding out of their seatbelts in the event of a collision.

Optional Equipment

Rather than overcomplicating the ordering process with a laundry list of packages and standalone options, the 2012 C70 can be configured in two simple trims levels: Premier Plus and Platinum. The Platinum trim includes perhaps the most desirable available feature for the C70, a premium audio system with a 12-speaker arrangement pumping out crisp Dolby Pro Logic II surround sound. The Platinum trim includes a hard drive-based navigation with a 6.5-inch pop-up display and real time traffic updates. If you’re looking to breathe easy behind the wheel, opt for the available Interior Air Quality System that automatically shuts the external vents when the sensors detect traces of airborne impurities.

Under the Hood

The Volvo light-pressure turbocharging is designed more for economical all-around driving than for performance, but if you feel a 10% horsepower increase and a handful of additional standard features is worth $4K, Volvo offers the slightly more powerful C70 T5 Inscription model. Both the base T5 and top of the line Inscription models send power to the front wheels via a relatively outdated 5-speed automatic transmission.

C70 T5
2.5-liter turbocharged inline-5
227 horsepower @ 5000 rpm
236 lb-ft of torque @ 1500 to 5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/28 mpg

C70 T5 Inscription
2.5-liter turbocharged inline-5
250 horsepower @ 5500 rpm
273 lb-ft of torque @ 1500 to 3000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/28 mpg

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