Volvo is much better known for its large cars rather than small models; the C30 is its most compact car to date. Distinctively styled and good to drive thanks to it sharing so much with the Ford Focus, the Volvo C30 was never a big seller in the UK as it never really captured buyers’ imaginations. That’s a shame because the C30 has much to offer, not least of all excellent safety levels, good build quality and most models are well equipped too. The C30 also came with some excellent engines from mild to wild. However, the tiny boot, limited rear leg room and lack of availability of a five-door option made the C30 a non-starter for some. But the C30’s low profile ensures you get plenty for your money and with around 30,000 sold in the UK over a seven-year lifespan, there are more to go round than you might think.
10/06: The C30 debuts with 1.6, 1.8, 2.0, 2.4 or turbocharged 2.5-litre petrol engines, along with 1.6, 2.0 or 2.4-litre diesels.
2/08: A dual-clutch transmission is now offered on the 2.0D, and there’s an R-Design bodykit option too.
1/09: A 1.6D DRIVe model is introduced, with CO2 emissions of 119g/km.
1/10: A revised C30 appears with a heavily revised nose, facelifted tail and the option of new colours inside and out, plus a sportier chassis. At the same time, a 99g/km stop/start 1.6D DRIVe model arrives.
6/10: The 1.6D became the D2, while the 2.0D is split into D3 (148bhp) and D4 (175bhp) derivatives.
- Wind noise of some early cars can be an issue, usually because of the door mirror design; it can be fixed.
- The air conditioning stops working when the condenser fails, although system leaks aren’t unusual either.
- Big alloys on sporty C30s get kerbed easily. They can usually be refurbished inexpensively though.
- The focus is on style rather than practicality; the C30 can carry no more than four people as there’s no provision for a fifth seat.
- Door trim panels can squeak or creak and quietening things down can be a time-consuming job.
- If you do a lot of night-time driving, it’s worth buy a car with xenon lights, as the standard units aren’t that good.
- Windscreens are susceptible to stone chips and cracking; see if it’s been renewed already.
- Safety levels
- Build quality
- Stylish design
- Strong engines
- Keen prices
- Fun to drive
We don’t like
- Tiny boot
- Four seats only