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2008 Volvo C30 Review -- Heels on Wheels

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2008 Volvo C30

  • SEE ALSO: Volvo Specs, Pics and Prices - Volvo Buyers Guide

    2008 VOLVO C30 REVIEW
    By Katrina Ramser


    The 2008 Volvo C30 is a 2-door compact hatchback with seating four, inspired by the vintage Volvo 1800ES coupe design. The 2008 model is the first C30 to hit the United States market, specially designed for first-time Volvo buyers and a younger market. Volvo is a division of the Ford Motor Company, and the C30 uses the same Ford C1 platform as the Ford Focus and Mazda3.

    I drove a 2008 Volvo C30 with a 2.5-liter 5-cylinder turbocharged engine delivering 227-horsepower. It had front wheel drive (FWD) with a 6-speed manual transmission. Aside of a long list of safety and security, plus comfort and convenience standard features, it also came with extra optional equipment that bumped the price up by almost $4,000 for a total vehicle cost of $29,350.

    The 2008 Volvo C30 is very sporty and sleek looking and embodies the word aerodynamic both inside and out, but the design is based on vintage ideas so it is representative of an evergreen style. The large hatchback glass that gets the most eyeballing equates to excellent visibility for the driver.

    The 2008 Volvo C30 comes in two trims or styles: The Version 1.0 and the Version 2.0. Standard on both trims are child safety latches, remote locking, rear fog lights, dual-side passenger and driver air bags, leather steering wheel, leather-clad gear knobs, and floor mats (hey – Nissan charges for these!). I drove the 2.0 Version, which adds standard aluminum dash inlays, 18-inch wheels, a sport body kit, and a Dynaudio 10-speaker surround sound system – not that much of a step up. Extras are carefully priced out. The $4,000 cited above includes the actual exterior paint (no cost if you choose red, black or white), the automatic transmission with Geartronic (manual shifting), front fog lights, cruise control, auto-dimming mirror, sport gearshifts and steering wheel – also, $300 goes to a Custom Bill charge for choosing extras. I've never seen that fee before.

    As a first-time Volvo driver, the vehicle definitely spoke to me from the second I laid eyes on it: The retro-inspired C30 represents a sporty-like sedan with a safe yet esteemed label at an affordable price, which makes it a car I would seriously consider buying. This car has the potential to be a big hit.


    Stylish But Comfortable Results:
    I felt the 2008 Volvo C30's wide doors were a bit heavy to swing open and shut. There is some work involved with climbing in and out of the bucket seats, but those very seats are what make the C30 feel so spacious for the driver and passenger. You have to turn your body to reach back for the seat belt; this becomes tedious. The doors automatically lock when driving because they are child safety locks (despite the fact this is not a kid-friendly car), so every time you reach for the interior handle to get out it's locked; this becomes tedious too. The back liftgate opens with a click of the key fob. Rear seat room and comfort is usually cited as average for Volvos. Second seat windows do not go down.

    Reliability & Safety Factor:
    Despite their background as safety innovators, 2008 Volvo cars were a mixed bag. The Volvo S40/V50 – which the C30 is related to – were listed under the 2008 Least Reliable Family Cars by Consumer Reports (CR). On the other hand, CR recommends the Volvo S60 sedan as a highly reliable vehicle. Out of 15 vehicle manufactures, for 2008 CR ranks Volvo as number ten on the list. The C30 has a 48-month/50,000 mile limited warranty coverage on whichever comes first. You also get four years of Volvo On Call roadside assistance.

    Cost Issues:
    When I first laid eyes on the Volvo C30, I assumed the vehicle was in the 40ks price range. My test ride was $29,350 with its extras, but the vehicle has a Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $22,950. A turbocharged engine is a complex engine that has complex issues with an additionally complex price tag to fix when something goes wrong.

    Activity & Performance Ability:
    A turbocharged engine is designed to gain more power without sacrificing additional fuel consumption. The engines are popular with higher-end brands like BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz. The engines can also get hot quicker. The Geartronic transmission ($1,250) allows you to either leave the vehicle in five-speed automatic mode for carefree driving or use manual mode so you can shift gears yourself. This is fun and helpful on road with lots of bends and curves. There was a small, high-pitched reoccurring whistle sound that my passenger and I concluded was coming from the tires.

    The Green Concern:
    The 2008 Volvo C30 gets 19-mpg city and 27-mpg highway for a typical consumer average of 23-mpg. A turbocharger engine allows Volvo to stick a smaller engine in the C30 while achieving power levels of a much larger engine, but it doesn't equate to saving fuel. Also, turbochargers risk being damaged by dirty or ineffective oil so most manufacturers recommend frequent oil changes – you're also looking at that impact.

    The 2008 Volvo C30 is a safe yet chic choice for a woman who wants a classy alternative to the connotations and price tag associated with a flashy sports car. And the upscale brand factor is still present.

    2008 Katrina Ramser