2009 Volvo C30 DrivE Start/Stop- momentum 1.6 turbo diesel from Belgium

Summary:

A refined beauty you won't regret

Faults:

Nothing... nada... zilch... niets... rien.

General Comments:

You think of buying this car for three reasons:

1) Fantastic styling/looks.

2) Volvo reliability/safety/comfort.

3) Almost unparalleled balance of performance & economy.

You hesitate because of:

1) The price tag.

2) Limited trunk space.

As for the first three reasons, this car lives up to the billing. It is a beautiful automobile, full stop.

Absolutely no problems encountered in the first two years of driving. It looks great on the outside, and once you step inside, you feel well tucked away in your driving machine.

The seats are incredibly sturdy, supportive and comfortable - luxurious in comparison with the VW Golf 6 I had the opportunity to drive. There are only 2 back seats, but they are equally comfortable with sufficient leg-room for the average 6-footer.

It is a small car, but its feel on the road is of a much larger automobile. Tight handling and grips the road. Does not take rough roads very well, but generally feels very taut and responsive.

I do have some mixed feelings about the 1.6 diesel. Alone in the car, it does well, though it can be sluggish in the short, lower gears. Don't challenge anyone off the line. But I love it on the highway. 120-150 smooth and effortless. But once loaded with 4 adults, the 1.6 engine seems over-matched. Overtaking from 60-80 is painstaking. Still, it is quick enough for the average driver.

The claims to 4l/100km only hold true if you drive on flat highway at 90km/hr, but mixed (and occasionally quick) driving has still produced 5.5l/100km -- or around 55-60mpg. And for this kind of pace and acceleration, that is downright brilliant. As for the start/stop system - I just turn it off by pressing a button. Unless you are waiting for a train, I would not want to wear out my starter for minimal gain.

The interior is sober and classic. Everything is logical and easy to use. A great detail is the little led light that shines down from the lighting system when you shut down the car... almost imperceptible, but well thought-out, as everything else seems to be... except...

...the placement of the seat belts concerning stepping out of the back seat. Despite placing very comfortable back seating in the car, the designers seemed to have neglected everything else concerning the rear-seat passengers. One almost has to be a contortionist to extricate oneself from the rear. And don't open the windows!! The car is apparently so streamlined, that this throws it into a state of shock, and sends loud and pulsating wind into your eardrums.

This is also a very expensive hatchback. While the overall package of styling/performance/comfort is desirable, the price is still rather extreme for a small car without really high-level performance or luxury. Had I paid sticker-price, it would have been €24,000... but I didn't pay that.

Cargo space is another issue, but it depends on how you use the car. The back seats fold down flat so I can easily deposit a weekly shopping trip or a (front tire removed) racing bike in the trunk, but if you are with more than two people, forget about it. I have personally never found it too small, but am usually alone.

In short, this is a great, beautiful automobile. If you do not have to worry about an expanding family, and are not concerned about being the quickest off the line (though it is quick enough), I fully recommend it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th May, 2011

2009 Volvo C30 2.4i from North America

Summary:

Upscale, great looking car

Faults:

The parking brake gets stuck with temperatures below -5 degrees Celsius. The dealer fixed it once, but it got stuck again. They badly scratched the plastic around the handbrake while doing it. I saw it afterwards.

The air flow direction got stuck after selecting the defrost button. It needed a complete change of all the air conditioning system.

The A/C loses cooling power when cruising for more than 30 minutes at steady speeds on the highway. Couldn't prove it to the dealer.

Wind noise from the windows. Dealer tried to fix it, but without success.

All the repairs were done under warranty.

General Comments:

Despite all the problems I had with this car, I loved it.

I only sold it because it's a two doors and it's not practical to get the child seat in or out of it.

It's solidly built; I can feel it when driving it. It's also very quiet; maybe that's why the wind noise felt so loud.

The most thing I loved about this car was the way it looked. It was also very comfortable and it handled well. The 2.4i engine is quiet and powerful (168 bhp), though I would have liked to have the T5 instead.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th May, 2010

3rd Jan 2011, 17:33

I have a 2010 C30 2,4L Autom. I've had 3 other Volvos in the last 40 years, and I love this one, even if the rear is so short that the back window and bumper are always dirty, and especially in the winter time.

But having had 47 cars since 1967 (sometimes 3 at the same time), I must say that this car is in the top 10!

I almost didn't buy it because I thought that there wasn't any space in back, but after seeing the 4 winter tires that the dealer put in there when I bought mine in September, I realised that there was as much space there when the seats were down as my Ford Fusion 2009.

But I understand why you traded in yours; it's not pratical for young children and the parents that have to get them in the back etc.