Volvo C30 Performance
Reviewers find the 2008 Volvo C30's performance good but not exciting. "The C30 is capable in the manner of Audi's A3," says Edmunds. "That is to say it is safe, predictable and blessed with plenty of grip. However, the enthusiast will still want for greater agility and more steering feel."
Acceleration and Power
The C30 is offered with a single engine, Volvo's T5 turbocharged inline with five cylinders. This is a performance-oriented engine and reviewers mostly agree that it's powerful enough to meet Volvo's promise of making the C30 sporty. "The C30 T5 is respectably fast -- 0 to 60 mph in an estimated 6.4 seconds and a top speed of perhaps 149 mph," says Car and Driver. About.com adds, "Five cylinders and turbo may be unusual but the payoff is in rapid acceleration." The EPA rates the Volvo C30 with a T5 engine at 19 miles per gallon in the city and 28 miles per gallon on the highway.
A six-speed manual transmission is standard, though a five-speed automatic with Geartronic manual mode is available as an option. The Road and Track is less enthusiastic about the automatic: "The automatic disguises the engine's potential and blunts its responses. That's a pity because the C30 has plenty of urge and willingness to perform, albeit in a more subdued manner than, for instance, the Golf GTI."enjoyed driving with the manual: "I loved playing with the gears. Six of them are plenty for rolling along the twisting, up-and-down roads between Vermont and New Hampshire. Pushing the engine, transmission, and tires ... showed me just how far this Volvo could go."
Handling and Braking
Reviewers find the 2008 Volvo C30's handling good but not great. "Like the sporty versions of the S40," says Car and Driver, "the C30 handles nicely enough, but it's not terribly rewarding." The Car Connection feels that "it rides well...and steers with tremendous accuracy, even though the huge Volvo steering wheel blunts some of its sharpness." However, "the upshot is a quiet and relatively composed ride quality that really gives the occupants the sense that the C30 is a proper premium product." Also reporting on the C30's steering, Road and Track writes, "Accurate, but not very informative, steering is accompanied by the onset of understeer and body roll as you press the car harder in asking it to deliver the more exciting drive you'd get from a Golf." In a comparison with the MINI Cooper, however, Edmunds is less than enthusiastic about the C30's brakes: "The Volvo isn't far behind with a 117-foot stop, but its soft pedal makes the distance feel longer.
Driving a European version of the C30, Motor Trend likes the suspension: "Other than an occasional jar from the suspension of our test car, which had the sport suspension and 18-inch alloys, the C30 felt nearly perfect for its intended segment. Volvo assures us the C30 would be tuned softer for the U.S."