2012 Volvo C30 Hatchback Review | Edmunds.com

2012 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 21/29 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2012 Volvo C30

  • The 2012 Volvo C30 dishes out a full plate of style and comfort but doesn't match some of the performance thrills that competitive models offer.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Distinctive styling; firm yet compliant ride; supportive yet comfortable front seats; spirited turbocharged engine.

  • Cons

    Rivals offer more performance; behind-the-times navigation system.

  • What's New for 2012

    Volvo revised its trim level strategy for the 2012 Volvo C30, adding Premier Plus and Platinum options to both the C30 T5 and C30 T5-R models. Other updates include audio streaming for Bluetooth, a standard security alarm and the replacement of the halogen-type daytime running lights with LEDs.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Great car!

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Vehicle: 2011 Volvo C30

Have had my 2011 Volvo C30 for a little over a month now and overall, really love the car. The styling is amazing, handling great, seats the most comfortable I've ever sat in (heated seats a huge bonus) and great fun to drive. Other high points are bluetooth which works amazingly well, iPod integration, and great visibility. Only drawbacks (and minor at best), huge, oversized key, so-so mileage and difficulty accessing rear seat. All that said, I would recommend the C30 to everyone.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Brilliant automobile

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Vehicle: 2011 Volvo C30

This car is absolutely fantastic. I've had the R-Design for about 6 months now and love driving it. The handling is very tight and the acceleration is good for its class. The body styling sets you apart from the crowd and the interior styling is comfortable and very functional. The ability to customize features and options hits the mark. The only drawback is that the exterior r-design styling features seem a bit flimsy - we'll see how they hold up over time. I couldn't be happier with this car - at least until the polestar version is available.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Hot!! volvo c30 r-design

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Vehicle: 2011 Volvo C30

I test drove several cars to include the Volkswagon GTI and Mazdaspeed 3. I wanted something with a European feel when driving and this car nailed it. The Car has more than ample horsepower. Exterior Styling is a attention grabber.....Going to a new drive thru window always has the kids commenting on the car. It really is a wonder why there is not many on the road, but it sure does get attention....Interior is a BIT BORING, but I spiced it up with amplifiers. Kinda upset that door sills are not dressed up like other "luxury" brands. If you want something with performance and not just a kiddie compact tuner cars this will get attention. My first Volvo and I love it. Hatch is small.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Most refined tuner car.

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Vehicle: 2011 Volvo C30

I realize that most people will not consider this a tuner car. It seems to have all the features of a Mazdaspeed, GTI, etc. This car is more comfortable than any other car that I have previously owned (GTI, Mazdaspeed, Civic Si). Nice that I can use 87 octane gas. MPG so far is a little better than 27 mpg/gallon combined. I believe it still needs to be broken in. Also, overall cost is really no different than a loaded GTI. By the way, I have leather, sunroof, and 100K Maintenance plan. I do believe that the Mazdaspeed is a little faster, but I am commuting not street racing.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Superb gt / shooting brake

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Vehicle: 2011 Volvo C30

After the initial 2000 miles I am very pleased with this car. Excellent daily driver with very good performance. Actual gas mileage has exceeded expectations at 24 mpg around town and 31 mpg on a long highway trip. The distinctive looks draw a bit of attention. Rides much more comfortably and looks much better than the GTI in my view. Everything simply works well. I'm particularly happy with the cabin ergonomics. Have not had any wind noise issues as others reported. A refined and reasonably priced car given the free maintenance, especially now that end of year rebates are available.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

Great driving experience

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Vehicle: 2011 Volvo C30

In evaluating a car, first you define the mission. No car can be all things. If you want a Corvette, you understand that it can't have the gas mileage of a Prius. This is the T5 C30 with 17 in wheels: A small, nimble car with an appealing and distinctive aesthetic that coddles the driver with excellent ride dynamics and great interior design. It is not trying to be a track car. It is 2+2 GT road car. It gets you through your driving day with a minimum of fatigue and a maximum of bliss. It has the quickness and agility to squeeze through traffic, yet still has a cabin that is quiet and comfortable. Plus, it feels like quality, it is nice to look at, and it is just fun to drive.

Gas Mileage


  • 21
  • cty
  • 29
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

Full 2012 Volvo C30 Review

What's New for 2012

Volvo revised its trim level strategy for the 2012 Volvo C30, adding Premier Plus and Platinum options to both the C30 T5 and C30 T5-R models. Other updates include audio streaming for Bluetooth, a standard security alarm and the replacement of the halogen-type daytime running lights with LEDs.


The 2012 Volvo C30 tends to stimulate more right-brain passion than left-side indulgence with its Euro-chic styling and sassy attitude. While it offers an available sport-tuned suspension and is motivated by an energetic turbocharged engine, this Swede doesn't grab you by the throat with the same fury as others in the hot-hatch segment, like the Subaru Impreza WRX.

Don't get us wrong -- the Volvo C30 drives nicely and has more dynamic capabilities than most drivers will care to exploit. But the result is more like automotive art than pure performance. While giving up a bit of sportiness to the competition, the C30 excels in delivering superior sophistication, refinement and, of course, styling. Check out the hatchback's oversized glass, Volvo's trademark vertical taillights and the front fascia that resembles Volvo's XC60 crossover. Compared to most other hatchbacks, the C30 is a cut above.

Volvo hasn't sacrificed comfort for performance, even in the sport-tuned R-Design model. The result is refreshing in this segment: a capable two-door hatchback that remains perfectly pleasant to drive on a daily basis. Other than the Volkswagen GTI, no rival can match the C30's refinement -- and aesthetically speaking, the C30 is in a class of one. Nevertheless, you might also want to compare the 2012 Ford Focus hatchback in top-level trim as well as the Mini Cooper.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 Volvo C30 is a four-seat, two-door hatchback offered in two models: the base T5 and the sportier T5 R-Design. Each model can be upgraded with either the new Premier Plus or Platinum trim level that basically groups popular options into packages for easier ordering.

The T5 includes 17-inch alloy wheels, height-adjustable seats, a trip computer, cruise control, full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with audio controls, Bluetooth and an eight-speaker CD audio system with an auxiliary audio jack and USB input.

The Premier Plus trim adds a power glass sunroof, power front seats, LED daytime lights and aluminum inlays for the dash. The new Platinum trim includes the Premier Plus upgrades along with driver seat memory, a navigation system and a premium 10-speaker surround-sound audio system with satellite radio.

The T5 R-Design model features mechanical upgrades to provide more performance, including 18-inch wheels, a quicker steering ratio and a sport-tuned suspension that is 30 percent stiffer. Distinctive styling cues for the R-Design include color-coordinated exterior trim, a special front grille design, leather seating, blue-faced gauges, sport pedals and metallic interior trim. The Premier Plus and Platinum trim upgrades include the same equipment as mentioned for the T5.

The C30's Climate package -- which includes heated front seats, electronic climate control, headlight washers and rain-sensing wipers -- can be added to any trim level.

Powertrains and Performance

The front-wheel-drive 2012 Volvo C30 is powered by a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-5 that produces 227 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and a five-speed automatic with manual-shifting function is optional.

In our performance testing, a manual-equipped C30 reached 60 mph from a standstill in 6.4 seconds with the manual, which is average for the class. The automatic was just a bit slower at 6.9 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy checks in at 21 mpg city/29 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined for the manual; the automatic has a 21/30/24 mpg rating.


The 2012 Volvo C30 comes standard with 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. In Edmunds brake testing, a C30 came to a stop from 60 mph in a below-average 130 feet.

In crash testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the C30 received the highest possible rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side and roof strength tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The C30's front compartment channels the design of the Volvo S40 sedan, which means it has Volvo's trademark floating center stack that is sharply dressed in brushed aluminum and complemented with sophisticated controls. One noticeable downside is the confounding optional navigation system, which is at once less sophisticated than those from other manufacturers and yet requires a steep learning curve.

The front seats draw the strongest praise. They're exceptionally comfortable, though more supportive side bolsters would be helpful on a winding road. The telescoping steering wheel helps accommodate drivers of all sizes.

Volvo didn't even try to design a rear seat that could hold three passengers. Instead, the rear cabin area sports a 50/50-style bench seat with a center armrest. Seating is comfortable, but somewhat restricted in legroom for taller adults. Rearward visibility is excellent thanks to the tall and wide all-glass hatch. For all the interior comfort and refinement, the pint-sized cargo area is a disappointment. There are a paltry 13 cubic feet with the rear seatbacks up, and 20 cubes when both are lowered -- hardly impressive by hatchback standards.

Driving Impressions

The 2012 Volvo C30 is a fun car to drive, boasting ample grip in the turns and accurate steering. The R-Design model generates the most smiles with its extra rubber and quicker steering ratio. The Mini Cooper S might be more entertaining on tight roads, but the C30 has a smoother ride and a quieter cabin. The five-speed automatic transmission is responsive in either manual or auto modes, although some drivers may yearn for paddle shifters. However, the transmission makes a nice dancing partner for the turbo engine and its distinctive soundtrack. Wind and road noise are negligible, but that engine will tickle the senses.

Talk About The 2012 C30

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