in 2009 Upscale Small Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $12,081 - $13,696
Original MSRP: $23,800 - $25,950
MPG: 19 City / 28 Hwy
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2009 Volvo C30 Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Many reviewers say the 2009 Volvo C30 is a good performer, but not among the best or sportiest of the class.

  • "It’s comfortable and fun to drive, and 227 hp is a more than respectable number. On the freeway, it's smooth and comfy." -- AutoWeek
  • "This is a car that knows how to act." -- Car and Driver
  • "A healthy does of athleticism thanks to its turbo five-cylinder engine and sport-tuned chassis." -- Cars.com

Acceleration and Power

The C30's engine is a T5 turbocharged inline with five cylinders that most agree is powerful enough to meet Volvo's promise of a sporty compact. The C30 does offer two choices for transmission: a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic. Reviewers say the manual guarantees more fun on the road.

  • "This turbo-five gives the C30 an especially crisp launch, smoothly moving it from 0 to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds with the manual transmission and 6.6 seconds with the automatic. While its 160-mph speed is considerably optimistic, it does top out at an impressive 149 mph." -- San Francisco Chronicle
  • "The turbocharged five-cylinder has strong bottom-end torque, although its actual acceleration times are hampered by the car's somewhat portly curb weight." -- Edmunds
  • "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. … The 6-speed manual would go a long way to improving the driving experience." -- Road and Track

Handling and Braking

Though there are occasional complaints about vague steering, reviewers say the 2009 Volvo C30 twists and turns adequately for an upscale small car.

  • "With a firmer suspension and grippier tires than those of the S40, the 2009 Volvo C30 hatchback manages to deliver a bit of fun behind the wheel. It's not as nimble or engaging as a Mini Cooper S, but the C30's smoother ride quality and quieter cabin make it much more suitable for daily use." -- Edmunds
  • "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." -- Road and Track
  • "Ride quality is good for a car with a taut sport suspension and hefty, low-profile tires. Rolling over certain pavement irregularities can send vibrations into the cabin." -- San Francisco Chronicle
  • "The roadholding is superb, stable, with exceptional steering turn-in." -- About.com
  • "Like the sporty versions of the S40, the C30 handles nicely enough, but it's not terribly rewarding." -- Car and Driver
Used car average prices are provided by ClearBook™, a TrueCar™ product