2010 Volvo C30 R-Design Review

Don’t call it a purse!

2010 Volvo C30 R-Design Review

It’s a satchel, not a purse! There is the difference between a leather handbag a man might use to carry his extra papers and nick-knacks in and the latest fashionable ladies’ offering from Dolce and Gabbana. Men buy utility, speed, and convenience, and women buy fashion. Uniqueness has its own raison d’etre.

FAST FACTS

1. All C30 models come with the same 227-hp turbo 5-cylinder engine.

2. Less dynamic looking base models start at $24,100, with the R-Design package priced from $26,300.

3. Rear seat passenger room is limited, as is cargo room with just 12.9 cu.-ft. behind the rear seats or 20.2 cu.-ft. total.

There, in a nutshell, lies the kernel of truth behind Volvo’s C30 R-Design. It is a purse disguised as a satchel. Or is it a satchel disguised as a purse? That view will depend on whether you’re male or female.

Ignoring for a moment the logical incongruity behind the assumption that today’s X-Games emulating youth will rush out to buy a safe hatchback, there’s the small matter of the existence of the Audi A3, the Volkswagen GTI, and the Mini Cooper S. These cars fill a hole in the market, and do so extremely well, to the point of discouraging other companies from even attempting to enter this niche.

R-DESIGN PACKAGE HAS C30 LOOKING THE PART

To be a player, Volvo needed something a little different and, viewed from the rear, the C30 certainly nails that design parameter. And while the base model might look somewhat strange, the R-Design model, with its fully-painted body kit and rear wing is surprisingly appealing. In a sense, it “completes the look” of the truncated body.

As much as we’d like to gush over this Volvo, if only to applaud the automaker for producing the Swedish equivalent of a “hot hatch,” the inclusion of “R-Design” DNA can only go so far to mask the basic premise. After all, the C30 is an entry-level Volvo. This doesn’t stop it from being a very good car though.

In terms of options on the car, Volvo has unfortunately done away with the extensive “Custom Build” program for 2010 that allowed customers to pretty much spec out the vehicle with individual options a la carte. Now there are just two option groups to choose from.

Our test model was nicely outfitted with both the $900 Climate Package that includes things like heated seats and electronic climate control, as well as the $1,950 Preferred Package with power front seats, keyless drive, dual xenon headlights, aluminum trim and fog lights.

If you can do without the 5-speed Geartronic automatic transmission or the rest of the aforementioned goodies, you can roll in the C30 R-Design for just over $26,000.

TYPICALLY VOLVO SAFE

The C30 is chock-full of useful safety features; too many to list in this review. Were we ever to be struck by a semi-truck and had a choice about it, we’d like to be in a Volvo. The really great news is that the C30 handles well enough to dodge that truck. There’s a wonderful on-center steering feel, and precise feedback from the Pirelli P-Zero Rosso tires on those attractive 18-inch alloy wheels. Body roll is minimal, front-to-rear pitch is dampened, and only the harshest freeway jolts will ever be heard or noticed in the hushed confines of the cabin. It is extraordinarily quiet for a hatchback!

TIGHT BACK SEAT

Did we say “confines”? We mean it. Definitely try the rear seats before buying one. This hatch is squarely aimed at folks without families. The best that can be said about the seats is that they fold nearly flat at the touch of a lever. Full-sized humans can ride in the back only during the length of time it takes for a collegiate beer run. Anything longer will result in a visit to the chiropractor. A lot of hatchbacks are this way though. It comes with the elimination of body length so we’re not faulting Volvo.

As for the rest of the interior, it is well laid out and designed, sharing its dash and controls with the S40 sedan. This is a plus in our book, as everything is neatly laid out and accessible. The blue-face R-Design gauges are a sporty touch.

R-DESIGN LOOK, BUT TURBO-FIVE-CYLINDER NOT ALL THAT FAST

But despite all the R-Design badging, the acceleration of this hot-hatch is only a touch warmer than tepid. It never overwhelms but it is more than sufficient for zipping away from stop lights and finding holes to squirt through in freeway traffic. The 227 horsepower and 236 ft-lbs of torque represent more than the Audi/VW and MINI offerings can muster, yet due to the weight of the body, the Volvo will get scorched in any head-to-head race. Volvo rates the C30 at 6.5 seconds to 60 mph.

At 2.5-liters in displacement and five-cylinders, it does offer torque even before the small turbo spools, hence the stoplight fun. It certainly doesn’t do burnouts; it’s much too refined for that. And the electronic nannies make sure of it, managing the power delivery at all times.

While we would like to see more power, in this case the Swedes have struck a nice balance between sensible speed and fuel economy. We saw 18.1 miles per gallon in urban driving, and 28.9 mpg on the freeway, all while paying little attention to frugal throttle application. Volvo rates the car at an official 19/28 mpg.

THE VERDICT

There’s much to like in the C30 R-Design. It’s stylish, frugal, and handles well, with a hatchback opening large enough to hold a keg but probably not a big screen television. Room behind the seats is 12.9 cubic feet. Drop the seats and you gain very little, for a total of just 20.2 cu.-ft.

It offers every amenity if you purchase a loaded-up model from a dealer, yet will deliver the same performance at a $24,100 base price, if you don’t mind a 6-speed manual transmission (saves $1,250) and gray plastic body cladding instead of the R-Design’s body-colored pieces.

If originality is your thing, well, you’ll like the C30 as you’re certainly not going to see one in every parking lot or driveway.

It carries Volvo’s reputation for safety which, let’s face it, enables Volvos to sell at a slight premium over other brands. A Dolce and Gabbana satchel sells for $1,850 through Saks Fifth Avenue; for our money, the C30 R-Design is less likely to get you beaten up in the wrong neighborhood.

Whether you’ll see the C30 as an attractive purse or a functional satchel will ultimately depend on your gender. Viewed either way, it’s worthy of consideration before you buy.

RELATED READING

Audi A3 2.0T 2009 MINI Cooper JCW 2010 Volkswagen GTI: First Drive

« Back
SWEEPSTAKES – OFFICIAL RULES, TERMS AND CONDITIONS

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.

1. NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THIS SWEEPSTAKES. AGE/RESIDENCY RESTRICTIONS, VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked