I purchased this car in Aug 2008. The 2009s had been released and I got a killer deal. I as replacing an 11yo Honda Civic with suspension upgrades that I *loved*. I did not think I could find a car to replace the Civvie. I really wanted an A4 Avant with manual (good luck finding one) but wound up x-shopping the A3, GTI, Mazda 3, Focus and Impreza. I have drove them all. The C30 was the best package for me. We have a two year old daughter but we also run a Mazda CX9. I only needed marginal utility. The C30 has just enough. (I recently took a road trip to hike the Grand Canyon. Three guys, full packs/gear.) The C30 is a superb touring car.
Styling, Acceleration, uniqueness. Hatchback space. The Dynaudio stero is superb. Seats are comfortable all day long.
Fuel economy. I get 20mpg but have a very heavy foot in city driving. 24mpg mixed. 27 on aforementioned road trip (cruising at 90). Another post mentions a door seal leak. I had this issue as well, though not as severe. Volvo has corrected this problem on later builds.