Full 2013 Volvo C30 Review
What's New for 2013
The Volvo C30 gains a new Premier trim level for 2013, while every trim now comes standard with automatic wipers and headlight washers. The Premier Plus trim now includes keyless ignition/entry and adaptive xenon headlights.
Stylish two-door hatchbacks are de rigueur nowadays, with names like Beetle, Fiat and Mini. As it turns out, you can have fun and economical transportation wrapped in a cool, distinctive package. Yet one more car that deserves to be noticed among these hip choices is the 2013 Volvo C30. Though it's been around for a couple years, this clever two-door hatch still looks and feels as fresh and modern as the day it was introduced. Maybe it's because you don't see many out on the road, but that just means people have been missing out on a good thing.
The C30 is unmistakable on the road thanks to the nifty all-glass hatch that harkens back to past Volvo hatchbacks. The two-passenger backseat is another interesting touch, featuring a pair of individual bucket seats that are nearly as sumptuous and supportive as those up front. Compared to those aforementioned stylish two-door hatchbacks, the Volvo C30 is far more welcoming to its passengers.
Unfortunately, pricing happens to be the C30's biggest drawback. There's no base model, so the 2013 Volvo C30 is in the same price range as sporty models like the Fiat 500 Abarth, Mini Cooper S and VW Beetle Turbo, as well as the Ford Focus ST. And against this bunch, the C30 is a bit outmatched from a performance standpoint. But in most other respects, this stylish two-door hatchback definitely deserves to be noticed.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Volvo C30 is a compact two-door hatchback that seats four people. There are two models: T5 and the sportier T5 R-Design. Both are broken into base, Premier, Premier Plus and Platinum sub-trims.
Standard equipment on the base T5 includes 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights with washers, automatic wipers, cruise control, air-conditioning, a height-adjustable driver seat, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cloth upholstery, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface. The R-Design models differ with a sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch wheels, unique styling elements inside and out, foglamps and cloth/leather upholstery.
The Premier sub-trims add to the base models a sunroof, an eight-way power driver seat, driver memory functions and a cargo area cover. The R-Design version also gets an auto-dimming mirror.
The Premier Plus sub-trims add adaptive bi-xenon headlights, LED running lights, keyless ignition/entry and an eight-way power passenger seat.
The Platinum sub-trims add a navigation system, satellite radio and a 10-speaker surround-sound audio system.
All trims are eligible for a number of options, including a blind-spot warning system and satellite radio. The Climate package adds heated front seats, automatic climate control and an interior air quality filter.
Powertrains and Performance
Every 2013 Volvo C30 is powered by a turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder that produces 227 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission are standard; a five-speed automatic is optional.
In Edmunds performance testing, a manual-equipped C30 went from zero to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds, which is average for a sporty compact hatchback. The automatic was a bit slower at 6.9 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy with the automatic is 21 mpg city/30 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined. The manual barely differs at 21/29/24.
Every 2013 Volvo C30 comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and front seats with whiplash protection. A blind-spot warning system is optional. In Edmunds brake testing, a C30 came to a stop from 60 mph in 130 feet, which is a little below average performance.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the C30 the highest possible rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side and roof strength crash tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
The C30 might be getting on in years, but its cabin still remains stylish and modern. Its prime attribute is the floating center stack that is sharply dressed in one of several distinct trim types and complemented with simple controls. Well, they're simple with the exception of the old-fashioned navigation system. Thankfully exorcised from other Volvos, this system features weird controls behind the steering wheel, a remote control for the passenger, subpar graphics and confusing menus.
As is typical for Volvo, the front seats draw praise in terms of comfort, support and adjustability -- even with standard manual adjustment. The steering wheel further helps to accommodate drivers of all sizes by telescoping a surprising amount (the Swedes are big, you know). Volvo didn't even try to design a rear seat that could hold three passengers. Instead, the rear cabin area features two seats that closely resemble those up front, albeit closer together. They are quite comfortable, though legroom is a bit short.
Rearward visibility is excellent thanks to the tall and wide all-glass hatch. Cargo capacity behind that hatch is disappointing, though. There are only 13 cubic feet with the rear seats raised and, when lowered, the total is less than competitors as well.
The 2013 Volvo C30 is a fun car to drive, boasting ample grip through corners and accurate steering. The R-Design model generates the most smiles with its extra rubber and sport-tuned suspension. Regardless of model, though, the C30 is more comfort-oriented than its rivals, with every control and motion feeling just a bit more damped and relaxed. Sport hatches like the Mini Cooper S may be more entertaining to drive, but the C30's smoother ride and quieter cabin will be appreciated on your daily commute.
The C30's turbocharged engine is sweet regardless of where you're driving. There's a nice snarl to the noises it makes, and its low-end torque plants you nicely in the pleasantly sculpted seats. The manual transmission features long, spongy throws but is reasonably precise. The automatic transmission is a bit behind the times with its five gears and lack of paddle shifters.