Full 2009 Volvo C70 Review
What's New for 2009
The 2009 Volvo C70 receives minor upgrades like standard Bluetooth, aluminum interior trim, one-button top operation with automatic window lowering and improved navigation operation.
Mention the name Volvo and generally thoughts of bland cars that lack any measurable amount of fun come to mind. Because of this conservative image, it's noteworthy when this Swedish manufacturer breaks ranks to produce a model that is both stylish and, dare we say, fun. As such, when the 2009 Volvo C70's urbane first-generation predecessor debuted in 1998 -- with help from Val Kilmer in the movie "The Saint," no less -- people took notice.
"This is a Volvo?" was the initial reaction from many. The C70's sleek lines and contoured edges constituted a radical departure from the design philosophy of its staid stablemates. When the second-generation C70 was unveiled in 2006 as a retractable-hardtop convertible with an even more refined and fluid shape, it was clear that the bloodlines had survived. Designed in conjunction with Ferrari's design studio of choice, Pininfarina, the new C70's curbside appeal was all but guaranteed.
With such a shapely exterior, one might assume that the 2009 Volvo C70 has the performance to match. For the most part, however, the two don't quite match. This isn't to say the C70 is a complete laggard -- power from the turbocharged five-cylinder should be enough for many -- but other European luxury convertibles like the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series will be more satisfying for drivers who find pleasure in acceleration and agile handling.
In any case, it's doubtful that high performance was ever the driving force behind the C70. What the 2009 C70 does deliver is a comfortable and elegant interior, a reasonable price and a long list of safety features. You might also want to take a look at Volkswagen's Eos -- it follows much of the same formula -- but overall, the C70 is a solid choice for those in search of a sexy luxury convertible with the all-weather versatility of a retractable hardtop.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2009 Volvo C70 is a four-seat luxury convertible with a retractable-hardtop design. It is offered in just one trim level, the T5, which includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a power-retractable hardtop, eight-way power front seats (with driver memory), automatic dual-zone climate control, full power accessories, heated outside mirrors, Bluetooth and an eight-speaker audio system with a CD/MP3 player and an auxiliary audio jack.
Buyers can outfit their C70s with a choice of four options packages as well as additional stand-alone upgrades. The Premium package includes leather seats and a six-CD changer. The Climate package adds heated front seats, rain-sensing wipers and headlamp washers. The Convenience package contributes rear park assist, keyless ignition and entry and a cabin air filtration system. For music lovers, there's the Dynaudio package with its 14-speaker surround-sound audio system. Stand-alone options include Volvo's blind-spot monitor, xenon headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels, a hard-drive-based navigation system with real-time traffic, satellite radio and interior wood inlays.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2009 C70 is powered by a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder engine that produces 227 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. Power is routed to the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission or an optional five-speed automatic with manual shift control. According to the EPA, the automatic-equipped C70 should return 18 mpg city/26 mpg highway and 21 mpg in combined driving.
The 2009 Volvo C70 comes with an impressive array of safety features, including antilock disc brakes with brake assist, stability control, front-seat side airbags and door-mounted side curtain airbags that protect front occupants even when the top is down. Automatically deployed rollover bars mounted behind the seats and anti-whiplash seats are also offered as standard equipment. A blind-spot monitor (Volvo's BLIS) is available as an option. In crash testing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the C70 its highest rating of "Good" for frontal offset and side impact protection.
Interior Design and Special Features
The Volvo C70's retractable hardtop folds itself into the trunk at the touch of a button, though this process requires a somewhat lengthy 30 seconds to complete. Trunk capacity is a generous 12.8 cubic feet with the top up, but drops to 6 cubes when the top is stowed.
The C70's front seats are extremely comfortable for the vast majority of humans, but scarce rear legroom makes the backseat suitable only for children and smaller adults. The fluid and graceful cabin is clutter-free, featuring Volvo's stylish "floating waterfall" center stack along with simple and intuitive controls. Opting for the wood trim dresses up the center stack nicely. If there's a misstep in the C70's interior, it would be the use of some cheap plastics that look and feel out of place for a car in this price range.
The 2009 Volvo C70's turbocharged engine offers decent low-end torque, but acceleration is unimpressive by segment standards. Despite the inherent tendency of convertibles to exhibit body flex, the C70's chassis remains taut over bumps. The softly sprung suspension and light steering feel make the C70 a pleasant highway cruiser or daily commuter, but they also serve as limits that keep the Volvo from being as involving or fun to drive as rival luxury convertibles. Our editors also noticed some brake fade during hard driving.