2008 Volvo C30 Hatchback Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Volvo C30 Hatchback

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Volvo C30 Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.5 L Inline 5-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 227 hp @ 5000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 19/28 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 Volvo C30

  • It's not the sportiest car around, but the new 2008 Volvo C30 is one of few Volvos in recent memory that can be awarded the title of "cool."

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Funky Swedish styling inside and out, comfortable ride, powerful turbocharged engine, excellent driving position, customizable options list.

  • Cons

    Can get pricey quickly, not as sporty as other premium hatches.

  • What's New for 2008

    The 2008 Volvo C30 hatchback is an all-new model.

Full 2008 Volvo C30 Review

What's New for 2008

The 2008 Volvo C30 hatchback is an all-new model.


The 2008 Volvo C30 may seem like a drastic departure for the Swedish automaker famous for its sedans and wagons shaped like big blocks of Västerbotten cheese, but in reality, it's not without significant family ties.

True enough, there hasn't been a two-door Volvo hatchback sold in North America since the 1800ES coupe of the 1970s, but there's a missing link in the C30's design evolution. The Volvo 480 was a car intended for American roads but was ultimately never brought here, instead being sold solely in Europe from 1986-'95.

Like the 1800ES and 480, the Volvo C30 is a small two-door coupe that features a large glass hatch that provides a unique look and abundant rear visibility. Like the 480, the C30 also sports four bucket seats, front-wheel drive, a turbocharged engine and handling that, while sporty, doesn't quite meet hot-hatch standards. Unlike the vaguely Japanese-looking 480, the C30 bears some family resemblance to Volvo's current crop of sedans and wagons -- specifically, from the front and inside where it's almost identical to the S40 and V50, with which it shares a platform. With its funky hatch and snazzy interior options, though, the C30 definitely scores higher on the "cool" meter than its siblings.

Compared to sport hatchbacks like the Volkswagen GTI and Mini Cooper S, the 2008 Volvo C30 leaves much to be desired in the fun-to-drive category. So while the C30's not quite a hot hatch, it is certainly as much of a hip hatch with its unique styling, interesting interior trappings and customizable features. Plus, the C30 will certainly appeal to those looking for Volvo safety at an affordable price (provided one goes easy on the options). That said, its numerous ā la carte options can raise the price toward the $30-grand plateau, close to larger, more luxurious offerings.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Volvo C30 is a two-door hatchback that seats four people. It is available in two software-inspired trim levels. Standard equipment on Version 1.0 includes 17-inch wheels, a 50/50-split rear seat, full power accessories, tilt/telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel and a CD audio system. Version 2.0 adds 18-inch wheels, a sport body kit, a Dynaudio 10-speaker surround-sound audio system and aluminum dash inlays.

The options list for both versions is incredibly long, but adding one or more of these choices includes a $300 "customization" charge. Options of note include cruise control, bi-xenon headlights, headlight washers, a blind-spot warning system, power-retractable side mirrors, sunroof, park distance control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, power front seats, heated seats, keyless ignition and a navigation system. A sport-tuned suspension, which Volvo calls Dynamic Chassis, is also available. Unlike other Volvos, there is a large selection of "custom" exterior colors and interior color/upholstery/trim choices.

The limited-edition 2.0 R-Design model adds unique 18-inch wheels, a body kit, rear spoiler, satellite radio, sport pedals, sport shifter, blue-faced instruments and other special interior trim pieces.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2008 C30 has only one engine choice, a turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder that makes 227 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual is standard, while a five-speed automatic is optional. Acceleration is quick, and the 0-60-mph sprint should be accomplished in the mid-6-second range, which is on par with the Volkswagen GTI. Fuel economy is estimated to be 19 city and 28 highway with the manual transmission, while the automatic should return only 1 mpg worse on the highway.


Despite being the baby in Volvo's family, the 2008 C30 doesn't skimp on safety features. Antilock brakes, stability control, traction control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and a whiplash protection system are all standard equipment. In addition to Volvo's Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), laminated side glass is available as an option.

Interior Design and Special Features

Volvo made no effort to squeeze a fifth passenger into the C30, opting instead for two rear bucket seats. Although legroom is lacking, the supportive rear captain's chairs are comfy and there's even enough headroom for 6-footers. From the front seats forward, the Volvo C30 is identical to the S40 sedan, save for snazzier two-tone color schemes and differing trim. The same slim, "waterfall" center stack provides brilliantly simple ergonomics and looks pretty cool, too. The driving position is spot-on for almost any body type, with long seats and telescoping wheel travel. Rearward visibility is excellent thanks to the all-glass hatch. Plus, Volvo offers some of the comfiest and most supportive seats around, although this sporty model could use some more aggressive bolstering. The C30's cargo area can hold 12.9 cubic feet with the 50/50-split rear seatbacks up, and 20.2 cubes when both are lowered.

Driving Impressions

As with its interior, the 2008 Volvo C30 is dynamically very much an S40 coupe. Its suspension has been tuned to be firmer, but this is still a car designed with comfort and everyday drivability in mind -- and in these areas, the C30 shines. It's still a fun car to drive, but its steering, clutch, shifter and suspension are just a little too comfort-tuned compared to the Mini Cooper S and Volkswagen GTI. Think of the C30 as a temperate hatch, not a hot one.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Engineering defect

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Volvo C30 T5 Version 2.0 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl Turbo 6M)

I love driving this volvo, I love it more than the GTI I used to own. BUT the severity of the damage done from an engineering defect with the oil separator has me question volvo's reliability. Here's what to do if this happens to you. If you hear a hum that progressively gets louder as the engine warms up, NOT a belt squeal. STOP the car and IMMEDIATELY shut the engine off. Have the car towed to your mechanic or dealership. If you do not stop the car immediately you'll ruin the seals in your engine, the crankshaft, timing belt and possibly other parts.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Fun all around

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Vehicle: 2008 Volvo C30 T5 Version 1.0 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl Turbo 6M)

Purchased my C30 in 2008 as a Dealer promotional model (traded in a 2004.5 S40). Now has around 70k miles and is holding up well. One issue- HVAC fan was replaced under warrenty before 15k miles. Excellent commuter vehicle with enough zip to manuvre in heavy (Chicago) traffic with confidence. Very comfortable long range cruiser (I take at least eight 8+ hour trips each year) even with three in the car. Plenty of leg room in back for 6 footers even on long trips, though taller passengers might end up feeling cramped after a few hours. Fuel economy is average (I get about 23/ 24 mpg in city and stop and go rush hour traffic, up to about 26/ 27 for long freeway cruising). FYI, auto tran.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful


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Vehicle: 2008 Volvo C30 T5 Version 1.0 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl Turbo 6M)

Fun to drive, unique and good looking. Seats are extremely comfortable. Tons of head room. Rear passengers always remark about the roominess and comfort. Rear hatch design is very functional, as is the cargo space. I can fit my road bike with one seat folded down, and room for a rear passenger to sit. No repairs yet, knock on wood as warranty is about to go.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

3 years and counting!

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Vehicle: 2008 Volvo C30 T5 Version 1.0 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl Turbo 6M)

This is the best car I have ever owned (13 over 42 years of driving). Purchased by C30 in May 2007 - still love getting into it every morning to drive to work. Excellent gas mileage on the highway with the T5 and 6-speed manual - less so in the city. Very comfortable for me (5'10") but my wife (5'4") doesn't find it all that comfortable. As she says, Volvo makes their cars for tall Vikings. Handles very well on ice and snow. Many compliments on its design from other drivers.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Exactly what i wanted

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Vehicle: 2008 Volvo C30 T5 Version 2.0 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl Turbo 6M)

I bought this after looking for 4 months for cars, using price, options, powertrains, looks and several other things. Minus not being AWD, I was able to get everything I wanted nothing I didn't need. I was able to steal mine for 22k after I put 32.5k in options on it. sometimes I hate the way it looks but its a love hate thing(it's cause it's a hatchback) and I love the drive. no matter how I feel my ride centers me. I have put a lot into since I bought, being 25 I couldn't help but want more power agility and style. Always still even now grabs eyes and the great feeling when someone take a shot of it with their cell phone. find buy love.

2 years later

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Vehicle: 2008 Volvo C30 T5 Version 1.0 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl Turbo 6M)

I purchased my C30 new in December 2007. Over two years later I still love this car. If it weren't for routine maintenance I wouldn't know how well the service department at my Volvo dealer operates. My C30 still delivers in the city and on the highway. I'm 49 years old, have had alot of cars, but this has to rate as my best yet.

Talk About The 2008 C30

2008 Volvo C30 Discussions See all Started By

I love my 2008 Volvo c30 and I'm hanging on to it until Volvo comes out with something a bit more slick / modern. If this car came to market, I would snap it up....

Hi s60leaser, or should I say C30leaser :). Volvo Finance is not currently running a special lease program on either the S40 or C30. As a result, if you were to lease either of them you will have to...

- I think that the HP rating of the T5 engine will also go up, from 220 DIN hp (218 in US) to 230 DIN hp (227 or 228 in US), as with the new C30 T5. There is no change in the torque rating, as far as...

Gas Mileage


  • 19
  • cty
  • 28
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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