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With its nicely packaged retractable hardtop, the 2007 Volvo C70 is one of the top premium convertibles to consider for those who value style and safety more than outright performance.
Flexible convertible hardtop design, rigid body structure, advanced safety features, comfortable interior with ergonomic layout.
Mediocre acceleration and braking performance, minimal steering feedback.
Available C70 Models
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After a full redesign last year, changes for the 2007 Volvo C70 are limited to the addition of an input jack for portable digital music players and MP3 capability for the in-dash CD changer. Sirius satellite radio is now a stand-alone option.
Introduced for the 2006 model year, the second-generation Volvo C70 became the first true four-seat convertible to offer the flexibility and durability of a retractable hardtop design. It turned out to be the start of a trend, as Pontiac and Volkswagen have since come out with four-place hardtop convertibles as well. Although the C70 is hardly the least expensive player in this emerging niche, it will almost certainly appeal to buyers shopping for a premium-brand convertible that's suitable for family use.
Not surprisingly, the most impressive aspect of the 2007 Volvo C70 is its three-piece retractable roof. Pull into a parking spot at the mall, and you'll wait 29 seconds as the C70's slow-dance, three-card-Monte shuffle lifts a neat three-panel IKEA-esque flat-pack out of the trunk, assembling itself into a handsome steel roof. With the hardtop in place, the C70 is a fully functional coupe sealed tight from rain, snow, road noise and parking lot voyeurs. From the inside, the top-up experience isn't the least bit confining, as the Volvo offers plenty of headroom for 6-footers and slender rear pillars that afford ample visibility when backing up. The C70 is equally enjoyable to drive with its top down. Wind buffeting is well controlled and there's no need to put up a wind blocker during highway cruising.
Volvo also paid attention to the less glamorous details of convertible ownership. Trunk space with the top up is fairly generous at 12.8 cubic feet. Top-down trunk volume shrinks to a diminutive, but still competitive, 6.0 cubic feet. To allay fears of overloading and/or top damage, a hinged frame within the trunk defines the edges of the allotted 6 cubic feet. Although an open-top car has some inherent safety compromises, the Volvo C70 is likely the safest convertible currently available. It's one of only a few convertibles to offer side curtain airbags that can deploy when the top is down -- they're mounted in the doors.
Other advantages to the C70 include its attractive, intuitively designed cabin with exceptionally supportive front seats. The rear seats are a little short on legroom for comfortable use by adults, but most children and younger teenagers will be happy to sit back here. Relatively tepid performance from the turbocharged inline-5 is the C70's major weakness. It rides comfortably, handles competently and gets up to speed with no problem. But for a car with a near-$40,000 starting price, it's not as quick as it should be. And it doesn't stop as short as a Volvo should. These are potential liabilities for the 2007 Volvo C70, given that Volkswagen's new Eos offers many of its virtues, along with a lower price tag and a more potent V6 engine. For less price-sensitive buyers willing to give up a little on performance, though, there's no question that the C70 is a desirable convertible that makes an art out of retractable hardtop design.
The 2007 Volvo C70 is a midsize coupe with a convertible hardtop. Only one trim level, T5, is currently offered. The C70 T5 comes standard with a power-retractable steel roof, 17-inch wheels, automatic dual-zone climate control, cloth upholstery, eight-way power front seats, a driver memory function, heated outside mirrors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and an eight-speaker stereo with an in-dash CD changer and an input jack for MP3 players. Three option packages are available to expand the C70's content. The Premium Package adds full leather seating, HomeLink and a compass, while the Climate Package includes rain-sensing wipers, headlamp washers and heated front seats. Audiophiles will enjoy the optional Dynaudio Package; it equips the C70 with high-output amplifiers, 12 speakers and two subwoofers. Eighteen-inch wheels, bi-HID xenon headlights and a navigation system are the C70's remaining stand-alone options.
For power, the C70 relies on a turbocharged, 2.5-liter, inline five-cylinder engine. It develops 218 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels through a standard six-speed manual transmission. A five-speed automatic is optional. Equipped with the automatic, the C70 takes 8 seconds to reach 60 mph.
Four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control and stability control are standard. Front occupants benefit from standard side airbags and special door-mounted, head-protecting side curtain airbags. Rollover bars mounted behind the seats automatically deploy to help ensure the safety of occupants in the case of a rollover accident. Other standard safety equipment includes anti-whiplash seats, pre-tensioning seatbelts in all four seating positions and Volvo's OnCall telematics system.
The 2007 Volvo C70 can transform from a coupe to a top-down convertible. When the retraction process is started, the three-piece roof folds backward and is stacked and stored inside the trunk -- the dual-hinged trunk opens and closes automatically for the roof panels. With the top lowered, the C70's trunk has a scant 6 cubic feet of volume left over for luggage or other items. A divider located inside the trunk allows one to assess how much can be loaded with the top down. Top up, the C70 can carry 12.8 cubic feet worth of gear. In the cabin, a new locking feature allows certain storage compartments to be locked with the key from the glove compartment when leaving the car with a parking attendant. The interior layout is fluid, graceful and lacking in clutter. A ribbonlike center stack, handsomely finished in brushed aluminum, cascades from the dash to the shifter pod. The row of buttons down the center can be off-putting at first, but anyone with basic TV remote skills will recognize the logic and master them in minutes.
Though acceleration is hardly blistering, the turbocharged engine provides enough low-end torque to get the Volvo C70 moving smartly away from a stop. A stiff body structure and well-tuned suspension assure a composed and comfortable ride, top up or down -- even on rough pavement. The C70 is also well-mannered through the corners, though a lack of feedback from the steering keeps it from being an entertaining drive. Braking is unimpressive for a Volvo: Stopping distances aren't quite as short as they should be for this price range, and brake pedal travel is too long.
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