I've had scores of cars through the years, from Lexus, Infinit, Porsche, BMW, Audi and others. I have gotten more favorable comments about the C30 than any car I've owned. It's a sort of cult classic already. Fun to drive, great for urban transport, I can even take adults in back without apologizing. I've had it for 6 months and really love this car.
We test drove a Mazda 3, Nissan Altima, and Mini Cooper S with the C- 30 as the spoiler. We found the Mini to ride HARD, have severely limited visibility, weird pedal placement, cramped, found the center speedo and other quirks just too annoying, and we know someone who sold theirs because it was too scary in the snow. We found the C-30 to be in a class by itself - a highly refined vehicle for an amazingly reasonable price. Fast, fun, engaging, safe, this purchase ended up being a no-brainer. Only downside is that Volvo dealerships don't appear to be too willing to deal. (Same w/Mini.) A LOT of car for the money. This vehicle is a class leader. See for yourself. We're very happy.
I bought my 2010 C30 R Design (automatic) at the very end of the sales year. It's the "classic style" before they changed the look of the front end. I'm very satisfied with the performance and reliability. I have over 52,000 on mine without any problems to speak of. This is a great, fun to drive car that's a head-turner. I would suggest that you stay away from the light colored leather seats that wear poorly.
I am a big fan of the Ford C1 platform. Prior to my C30, I owned an 04 Mazda 3s; I loved it. But as much as I did, it pales in comparison to the C30. It is more comfortable and more solid with a more powerful and responsive engine. Other than the wind noise coming from the side mirrors, the cockpit is quiet-isolating the road noise and allowing the driver to hear that throaty growl when the foot presses to the floor. The automatic transmission is smooth- though I've only used the manual shift feature once. The only problem here is that 227 hp driving front wheels can sometimes make the tires slip- with heavy acceleration like pulling out into traffic. The GTI doesn't have this issue.
Got one of the last 2010's with the old front design. Love the car. Ride is stiff but not as stiff as my old 07 GTI. Engine is strong and satisfying, got it with a 6spd manual. Interior materials are really nice, but a little rattly (more so than girlfriends S40). Stereo and navi are superb, and everyone looks at it on the road...really unique!! No reliability issues so far, the car has a decent exhaust note, and it actually handles really well!! The seats are superb and they look great with the contrast stitching. I found the car to be sluggish with the automatic but quite powerful with the manual trans. Would buy it again if I had to do it all over.