2009 Volvo C30 Hatchback Review | Edmunds.com

2009 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 2009 Volvo C30

  • Though the 2009 Volvo C30 doesn't possess the finely honed driving dynamics one might hope for in a hot hatch, it makes up for it with plenty of Swedish style and comfort.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Funky-cool Swedish styling, comfortable ride and front seats, excellent driving position, customizable options list.

  • Cons

    Lacks the sporty fun of other hot hatches; those customizable options can get expensive.

  • What's New for 2009

    The 2009 Volvo C30 drops the software-inspired 1.0 and 2.0 trim level names in favor of the new T5 and T5 R-Design monikers. New features include a long list of exterior and interior styling tweaks, changes to options packages and enhanced navigation operation.

Full 2009 Volvo C30 Review

What's New for 2009

The 2009 Volvo C30 drops the software-inspired 1.0 and 2.0 trim level names in favor of the new T5 and T5 R-Design monikers. New features include a long list of exterior and interior styling tweaks, changes to options packages and enhanced navigation operation.


Until last year, Volvo had been absent from the American hatchback coupe market for more than three decades -- its last example being the 1800ES from the 1970s. Since then, this Swedish automaker has focused largely on building family-focused sedans. But that changed last year when Volvo introduced the C30. This stylish two-door hatchback borrows classic styling cues from the 1800ES, such as the large trapezoidal glass hatch. It also retains contemporary Volvo traits like the boxy nose and grille.

The C30's underpinnings are contemporary as well, as they come from Volvo's S40 small sedan. The C30 rides on the same wheelbase but is about 9 inches shorter overall. Under the hood is Volvo's top engine from the S40 line, a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-5 that cranks out a healthy 227 horsepower. Inside, the C30's dash is also familiar, though the overall look is more distinctive and the backseat has positions for only two passengers.

As a "hot" hatchback, Volvo's C30 puts up a fair fight. In our testing, the C30 accelerated as hard as the popular Mini Cooper S. But the differences between these cars really don't make themselves apparent until one hits the open road. On twisting canyon roads, each car will satisfy the vast majority of drivers, but the Cooper S has the edge over the C30 in nimbleness and sheer driving excitement.

However, the 2009 Volvo C30 has the advantage as an everyday commuter, with its softer ride, roomier interior and more convenient storage. Style also factors prominently in the C30's appeal, as the hipster interior treatments and customizable features should attract those seeking a bit more individuality and panache. With Volvo's reputation for safety and the C30's affordability (providing options are taken in moderation), Volvo's newest hatchback is a worthy alternative to the dime-a-dozen Mini Coopers and Volkswagen GTIs.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Volvo C30 is a four-seat, two-door hatchback that is offered in two trim levels. The base T5 includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a 50/50-split rear seat, full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with audio controls and an eight-speaker CD audio system with an auxiliary audio jack. The T5 R-Design trim level adds 18-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, specific exterior accents, cruise control, a 10-speaker surround-sound audio system, satellite radio, aluminum dash inlays and a watch-dial-inspired instrument panel. Many, but not all of these features are available as options for the base T5.

Options for either trim level are seemingly endless, and adding one or more of these choices includes a one-time $300 customization charge. Notable options include bi-xenon headlights, headlight washers, a hard-drive-based navigation system with real-time traffic, Bluetooth, a blind-spot warning system, power-retractable side mirrors, a sunroof, park distance control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather upholstery, power front seats, heated seats and keyless ignition. Unlike other Volvos, there is a large selection of custom exterior colors, interior trim choices and wheel designs.

Powertrains and Performance

Regardless of which 2009 Volvo C30 is chosen, power is delivered by a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder engine that produces 227 hp and 236 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels through either a standard six-speed manual transmission or an available five-speed automatic.

In our testing, a manual-equipped C30 dashed to 60 mph in a respectable 6.4 seconds. Fuel economy registers an EPA-estimated 19 mpg city/28 mpg highway and 23 mpg in combined driving.


The 2009 Volvo C30 carries on the company's reputation for passenger protection with a long list of standard safety equipment that includes antilock disc brakes (with brake assist), stability control, traction control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and front seats with whiplash protection. Volvo's Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) is optional.

Interior Design and Special Features

The view from the front seats is nearly identical to the S40 sedan's, except for stylish two-tone color schemes and different trim. The sleek "waterfall" center stack provides elegantly simple ergonomics with a floating appearance that is just downright cool. Finding an optimal driving position is easy for any body type, thanks to the C30's super-comfortable seats and telescoping steering wheel, though the lack of seat bolstering will become apparent when the C30 is driven hard on a curvy road.

Rather than attempt to shoehorn a fifth passenger into the C30, Volvo instead chose two rear bucket seats. Rear seating is comfortable with plenty of adult-sized headroom, even though legroom may be a bit cramped for taller folks. Rearward visibility is excellent thanks to the tall and wide all-glass hatch. The cargo area can accommodate 13 cubic feet with the 50/50-split rear seatbacks up and 20 cubes when both are lowered.

Driving Impressions

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. The turbocharged five-cylinder has strong bottom-end torque, though its actual acceleration times are hampered by the car's somewhat portly curb weight. Think of the Volvo C30 as a "cool hatch" rather than a hot hatch.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Great little car

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Volvo C30 T5 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl Turbo 6M)

We bought a C30 on our return to the US after a few years overseas. Previously we'd owned a 2003 VW GTi and a 2001 Porsche Boxster but now we only need one car. The C30 has everything we require -- more refined than the VW and, okay, not a Porsche but much cheaper to run. Space is fine for the two of us and the performance is more than good enough. When we bought it the trip computer software had not been loaded. The dealership's salespeople said it wasn't available on the manual. This simply was not true and the mechanics at the dealership installed it in a few minutes when we took it for its first service.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Best in class, value and

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Volvo C30 T5 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl Turbo 6M)

Strangely, this exquisite, sophisticated car is being overlooked in rankings because its drive isn't quite as "fun" as other cars. Meanwhile, it has twice the warranty of the far less dependable VW's, and has a solid reputation for reliability and has best in class safety. Being a grown up, I value those two aspects far more than the fun factor, which to me is represented well enough by the zippy engine, which, btw, is the same engine you get on most of the more expensive Volvos, so its a deal at this price. The C30s cost of ownership due is extremely low due to the expanded warranty package that makes it much more like buying a BMW, but for much less money. Best value anywhere.

2009 c30 great car

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Vehicle: 2009 Volvo C30 T5 R-Design 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl Turbo 6M)

My 2009 c30 is a very cool car and I have had it for almost one year. I get about 23 mph and have taken it from Jacksonville, Florida to ft. Lauderdale 2 times, for fun. The trip goes quickly and is very pleasant. My wife and I also own a 2008 Porsche Cayman s. We both often prefer the c30 because it is so much easier to drive... Easy and fun with room for groceries. I had 2 Volvo xc90's, dating back to 2004 or 2003. The c30 is much cooler and more fun. The dynaudio is an excellent option. I have automatic, leather, sunroof, Cruise, bluetooth, ipod compatible. I recommend it and would buy another one.

New c30 is having many

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Vehicle: 2009 Volvo C30 T5 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl Turbo 6M)

Decided to trade my 2006 S40 for a new C30. Since I've had the car, the passenger airbag light shows that the airbag is not on sometimes when passengers sit there. The first time I was told nothing was wrong with it, but it surfaced again. At the same time I noticed an oil leak in my garage. The car has 500 miles on it, and I wish I had the one with 85,000 that I traded in. This time, they told me that the airbag issue was a software upgrade problem (not sure why they didn't do this before delivering to me or last time it was in). Oil is from the oil cooler.

Safety/ quality issues

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Vehicle: 2009 Volvo C30 T5 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl Turbo 6M)

I've had a Volvo for 5 yrs so I thought a C30 was the way to go when replacing my other car. Oh was I wrong. In the 1st 200 miles, my passenger air bag was not working (pregnant wife refuses to ride in my new car now). The service depat. told me that they couldn't fit it in on a Saturday...too many more important oil changes I suppose.The dealer kept it for 3 days, and now the problem seems to have resolved itself. This morning (mile 500) I have an oil leak under my car. I'm seeing that quality and safety are no longer top priorities with Volvo. Time to take it back again...more time off from work. Wish they would give me back my working trade-in so I could go elsewhere.

Just right

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Volvo C30 T5 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl Turbo 6M)

I literally test drove 12 vehicles and kept coming back to the C30. I love the size after driving a station wagon for so many years. It's easy to fit in spaces and maneuver city streets. Can't understand why they aren't more popular because there are so many great features. I was looking for a car with good pick up and boy does this have it. I love my new little car.

Talk About The 2009 C30

2009 Volvo C30 Discussions See all Started By

* For a limited time, receive a Volvo Allowance on all new 2009 C30, C70, S40, S60, S80, V50, V70, XC70 and XC90 models....

My husband is considering a Volvo C30. He is about 6' 7" and has about 3 1/2 to 4 inches to the roof. Seems like a pretty nice car. We happen to be on the lot when they unloaded a pretty 2009 ...

I just traded in my 2002 S80 for a 2009 C30 T5 and the warrantee covers everything except for gas and tires for 5 years 60,000 miles....

Gas Mileage


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