What's New for 2010
The 2010 Volvo C70 gets miniscule updates for the new model year, mainly in the form of option-package shuffling and new adjustable front headrests.
When the second-generation Volvo C70 was introduced in 2006, its retractable hardtop roof was still a novelty and caused passersby to stop and stare at the mechanical marvel. And in the roughly 30 seconds it takes to drop the top, they also had time to admire the car's fluid lines. This show of engineering strength and design style went a long way in helping the Swedish car company shed its dowdy image of building only durable but blocky wagons.
The car has been a minor hit with those in the market for a luxury convertible, and so Volvo has given the second-generation C70 only minor tweaks in the last few years. The 2010 model plays it safe by sticking with a successful formula, including retaining a turbocharged five-cylinder engine, which also means the car is built more for comfort than speed when compared to some of its competitors.
While the luxury convertible segment is a small one -- and the list of retractable hardtops is even smaller -- the group has grown to include the formidable BMW 3 Series and, just this year, the Infiniti G37 and Lexus IS C convertibles. Volkswagen's Eos is another contender. Overall, we still think the 2010 Volvo C70 is worth consideration, but its practicality, good looks and great safety alone might not be enough to win you over with a purchase.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2010 Volvo C70 is a four-passenger luxury convertible with a retractable hardtop, and it's available in only one trim level, the T5. It comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, a power-retractable hardtop, front and rear foglights and heated outside mirrors. Standard interior features include eight-way power front seats (with driver memory), automatic dual-zone climate control, full power accessories, cruise control, Bluetooth and an eight-speaker audio system with a CD/MP3 player, auxiliary audio/USB jacks and HD radio.
Four option packages are available for the C70, along with a surplus of stand-alone upgrades. The Premium package includes leather seats, an auto-dimming review mirror and satellite radio. The Climate package adds heated front seats, rain-sensing wipers, and Volvo's Interior Air Quality System. The Dynamic package gets buyers 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-xenon headlights and a three-spoke leather steering wheel with aluminum inlays. Going with the Multimedia package equips the C70 with a Dynaudio premium sound system with 14 speakers and a hard-disc navigation system with real-time traffic updates. Other stand-alone options include keyless ignition, rear park assist, a blind-spot monitor, interior wood inlays and premium leather upholstery.
Powertrains and Performance
The power plant for the 2010 C70 is Volvo's venerable turbocharged 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder engine that produces 227 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels through a six-speed manual transmission or an optional five-speed automatic with manual-shift control. The automatic-transmission C70 gets 19 mpg city/28 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined, while the manual models get 20 city/28 highway and 23 mpg combined, according to the EPA.
Along with antilock disc brakes with brake assist, standard safety features for the 2010 Volvo C70 include stability control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags for front passengers, roll bars that deploy in the case of a roll-over accident, and whiplash reducing front head restraints. In crash tests, 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 C70's cabin is anchored by Volvo's signature "waterfall" center stack, which is slightly angled so the main controls are closer at hand. The controls used to access stereo, Bluetooth and navigation functions are clunky and not intuitive, but Volvo's trademark "reclining man" climate controls are virtually idiot-proof. The optional wood trim dresses up the center stack, albeit with an IKEA-like feel -- overall, the cabin isn't as rich as others in this class. More desirable is the optional Dynaudio system, which is one of the best-sounding open-air audio experiences available from any automaker.
Most people will find the C70's front seats comfortable, and a button on each backrest slides the seats forward for easier access to the rear seats. Rear legroom isn't expansive, but compared to most other luxury convertibles, the C70 actually provides decent room for children or small adults.
With the top up, trunk capacity is a generous 12.8 cubic feet, though with the top down it drops to less than half of that at 6 cubes. A button in the trunk activates the C70's standard Load Assist feature that lifts the compacted roof assembly a few inches to create a bit more space for small items. In total, the C70 is more cargo-friendly than its retractable-hardtop rivals.
Top-down driving in a convertible is usually a compromise, trading a quiet interior and a firm chassis feel for the sun in your face, the wind in your hair (and in your ears) and inherent body flex. But the 2010 Volvo C70 remains relatively rigid over bumps and dips, and the softly sprung suspension makes it a comfy daily commuter and cordial highway cruiser.
On the flip side, we've found that the C70 exhibits numb steering, considerable body roll when cornering and plenty of pitch under heavy braking. Likewise, while the turbocharged engine offers decent low-end torque, the C70 is a bit of a laggard when compared to segment standard-bearers from BMW and Infiniti.