in 2012 Upscale Midsize Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $24,429 - $24,497
Original MSRP: $40,450 - $44,050
MPG: 18 City / 28 Hwy
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2012 Volvo C70 Performance

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

The Volvo C70 has enough power for a daily commute or highway cruise, but it is underpowered compared with many of its sport sedan-based competitors. Test drivers say it’s a smooth, comfortable cruiser, though the C70 lacks the agility of some rivals. If you’re looking for a sportier car, test drive the Infiniti G37 or BMW 3-Series convertible. Reviewers consistently praise the C70 for its stability with the top down because it suffers little of the cowl shake that plagues some droptops.

  • "The brakes are strong and easy to modulate." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "When accelerating out of turns, when the turbo kicked in, it would lurch, and traction control would come on. Compare this to the smooth, refined speed of the S60's turbocharged engine, and the C70 feels crude in comparison." -- Motor Trend 
  •  -"Numb steering and modest power do not invite haste, but this will hold its own as a Sunday cruiser." -- Car and Driver 
  • "Although it doesn't possess the extreme handling and acceleration of cars such as the BMW 3 Series and Audi S5 Cabriolet, the C70 will prove more than sufficient for the vast majority of drivers." -- Kelley Blue Book 

Acceleration and Power

The front-wheel drive Volvo C70 is powered by a turbocharged, 2.5-liter, five-cylinder engine that generates 227 horsepower. Reviewers say the engine will meet the needs of most commuters, but it trails most of its competition with subpar acceleration.

The engine is paired with a five-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift mode. Writers have few complaints about the automatic. According to the EPA, the 2012 Volvo C70 gets 18 mpg in city driving and 28 mpg on the highway.

  • "C70 loafs until the turbo begins boosting around 3,000 rpm. It's strong thereafter, with very satisfying passing power. Fast takeoffs induce unwanted wheel spin and some torque steer. The automatic transmission is smooth and alert." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "The turbocharged engine, while no slouch, also can't match the punch delivered by the motors in more expensive competitors like the BMW 335i and Infiniti G37 convertibles." -- Edmunds 
  • "Unlike the turbo six that the XC60 has, the C70 is motivated by a 227-horsepower turbocharged inline-five with a five-speed automatic, the only powertrain choice. It provides good power, but its power delivery is far from linear." -- Motor Trend 
  • "Rightly so, convertibles are presumed to be sporty, but the C70 is a boulevardier, not a back-road bandit." -- Car and Driver
  • "Part of the letdown for enthusiasts is the comparatively low 227 horsepower produced by the light pressure turbocharger." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "The C70's turbo engine is zippy. It went as fast as I wanted it to, and I never felt like it would get away from me." -- Mother Proof 

Handling and Braking

Aside from the Volkswagen Eos, the 2012 Volvo C70 is the only front-wheel drive hardtop convertible in this price range. As a result, the C70 handles differently than its rear-wheel drive competitors, and test drivers say it’s decidedly the least sporty of the bunch. They complain of dull steering feel and sloppy cornering. Brakes are strong, which is a common Volvo trait, but those looking for a sportier convertible should consider the BMW 3-Series or Infiniti G37 instead.

  • "Not sports-car nimble, but C70 corners with front-drive assurance, modest body lean, and tolerable noseplow. The optional 18-inch wheels don't offer much of an improvement, at least not enough to justify the ride penalty." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "If you're looking for sports car handling you're bound to be disappointed, as the steering feels a bit numb and the suspension allows a good deal of body roll and brake dive when pushing the car hard on a curvy stretch of asphalt." -- Edmunds 
  • "The braking is responsive in this front-wheel-drive car." -- Mother Proof