The 2011 Volvo C30 isn't your typical "hot hatch." Sure, it's got a powerful turbocharged engine and an available sport-tuned suspension, but this Swede is about a lot more than just speed. Don't get us wrong -- the C30 actually drives nicely and has more dynamic capabilities than most drivers will care to exploit. But with its chic interior and a classic hatchback design that evokes Volvos of yore, the C30 is also the closest thing in this segment to automotive art.
A product of the Ford era at Volvo, the C30 (like the related S40 sport sedan) shares its basic platform design with the Mazda 3 and the latest Ford Focus. That's a good thing, as we've applauded these underpinnings in virtually every application. Power comes from Volvo's familiar turbocharged five-cylinder engine, which cranks out a healthy 227 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. The C30 ultimately gives up a bit of sportiness to the competition, but it compensates with superior sophistication and refinement.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2011 Volvo C30 is a four-seat, two-door hatchback offered in two trim levels. The base T5 includes 17-inch alloy wheels, height-adjustable seats, a trip computer, cruise control, a 50/50-split-folding rear seat, full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with audio controls, Bluetooth and an eight-speaker CD audio system with an auxiliary audio jack. The T5 R-Design trim level adds 18-inch wheels, foglights, a sport-tuned suspension, a quicker steering ratio, sporty exterior trim, partial leather upholstery, blue-face gauges and metallic interior trim.
The Preferred package tacks on power front seats, bi-xenon headlamps and keyless entry/ignition, as well as foglights and aluminum interior trim on the T5. The Multimedia package adds a 10-speaker Dynaudio surround-sound audio system and satellite radio. The Climate package includes heated front seats, headlamp washers, automatic climate control and rain-sensing wipers. Stand-alone options include leather upholstery, a sunroof, a blind-spot information system and a navigation system with real-time traffic.
Powertrains and Performance
The front-wheel-drive 2011 Volvo C30 is powered by a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-5 that produces 227 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and a five-speed automatic is optional.
In performance testing, we hustled a manual-equipped C30 to 60 mph in a fleet 6.4 seconds. Fuel economy checks in at 21 mpg city/29 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined for the manual; the automatic has a 21/30/24 mpg rating.
The 2011 Volvo C30 comes standard with antilock disc brakes with brake assist, stability control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and front seats with whiplash protection. Volvo's Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) is optional.