2010 Volvo C30 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Unique styling, supple ride, supportive front seats, smooth turbocharged power.
  • Not as sporty as some might like.
Other years
List Price Estimate
$3,485 - $5,948

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2010 Volvo C30 lacks the sharp handling of some rivals, but it's got style and comfort to spare.

Vehicle overview

The 2010 Volvo C30 is compelling evidence that Ford's stewardship of Volvo has been beneficial to the small Swedish automaker. Ford wisely left the styling to Volvo, yielding a unique-looking two-door hatch that's half S40 sedan, half classic Volvo hatchback and all Swedish chic on the inside. Meanwhile, Ford provided the C30's platform, which is based on the S40's and derived from another related Ford product, the excellent Mazda 3 compact.

Volvo's familiar turbocharged five-cylinder engine lives under the hood, cranking out a healthy 227 horsepower in this application. The result of this multicultural mash-up is a refined runabout that gives up a bit of sportiness to the competition, but more than compensates with its slick cabin and considerable curb appeal.

The C30 isn't really a "hot hatch" in the vein of the Mini Cooper S or Volkswagen GTI, but it still acquits itself reasonably well against these rivals in aggressive driving, falling behind only after most drivers would have reached their personal limits anyway. The Volvo certainly holds its own in a straight line, accelerating to 60 mph as or more quickly than cars like the Cooper S, GTI and Honda Civic Si. Stylistically, this four-seat Volvo is a knockout, with taut proportions outside and a trick "floating" center stack within that provide a cutting-edge flair that few competitors can match.

Hatchbacks have historically had a hard time in the U.S. market, but the C30 is more of a European fashion accessory than a workaday two-door hatch. We suspect a lot of the trendy young folks we see tooling around in Mini Coopers would be happier in the more sophisticated Volvo. You'll still want to check out the Mini, of course, and the added practicality of the four-door Mazdaspeed 3, Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart Sportback and Subaru WRX should also be considered. These models are more sport-tuned than the two-door Volvo, but if hot hatches strike you as a little too hot, the C30 is well worth a look.

2010 Volvo C30 models

The 2010 Volvo C30 is a four-seat, two-door hatchback offered in two trim levels. The base T5 includes 17-inch alloy wheels, height-adjustable seats, a trip computer, cruise control, a 50/50-split-folding rear seat, full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with audio controls, Bluetooth and an eight-speaker CD audio system with an auxiliary audio jack. The T5 R-Design trim level adds 18-inch wheels, foglights, a sport-tuned suspension, sporty exterior trim, partial leather upholstery, blue-face gauges and metallic interior trim.

The Preferred package tacks on power front seats, bi-xenon headlamps and keyless entry/ignition, as well as foglights and aluminum interior trim on the T5. The Multimedia package adds a 10-speaker Dynaudio surround-sound audio system and satellite radio. The Climate package includes heated front seats, headlamp washers, automatic climate control and rain-sensing wipers. Stand-alone options include leather upholstery, a sunroof, a blind-spot information system and a navigation system with real-time traffic.

2010 Highlights

The 2010 Volvo C30 gains standard Bluetooth and cruise control, and its formerly extensive customization program has been eliminated, though some custom features survive as additions to the revised options packages.

Performance & mpg

The front-wheel-drive 2010 Volvo C30 is powered by a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-5 that produces 227 hp and 236 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and a five-speed automatic is optional.

In performance testing, we hustled a manual-equipped C30 to 60 mph in a fleet 6.4 seconds. EPA fuel economy estimates stand at 19 mpg city/28 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined.

Safety

The 2010 Volvo C30 comes standard with antilock disc brakes (with brake assist), stability control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and front seats with whiplash protection. Volvo's Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) is optional.

Driving

The 2010 Volvo C30 possesses plenty of grip and accurate steering. It's a fun car to drive, though its closest competitor, the Mini Cooper S, weighs less and is more entertaining on tight roads. The C30 counters, however, with a supple ride and a quieter cabin that combine to give the car superiority in terms of civilized commuting comfort. The turbocharged five-cylinder matches up well to either the six-speed manual transmission or the five-speed auto.

Interior

The C30's front compartment comes straight out of the S40 sedan, but that's hardly a bad thing. For example, it means that the C30 features Volvo's trademark floating center stack, which is a very cool flat-panel bridge between the dash and the center console with extra storage space beneath. Most controls are straightforward and attractive, but the confounding optional navigation system has a steep learning curve. The exceptionally cosseting front seats and telescoping steering wheel allow drivers of all sizes to get comfortable, though more side bolstering would be helpful on a curvy road.

Rather than attempt to shoehorn a fifth passenger into the C30, Volvo went with two rear bucket seats. It's actually quite comfortable back there for average-sized adults, though legroom may be a bit cramped for taller folks. Rearward visibility is excellent thanks to the tall and wide all-glass hatch. The cargo area can accommodate 13 cubic feet with the 50/50-split rear seatbacks up and 20 cubes when both are lowered -- hardly impressive by hatchback standards.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2010 Volvo C30.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Unique Sport Hatch!
realcsi,08/18/2013
R-Design 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl Turbo 6M)
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.
C30 is a head-turner
HoustonJ,02/25/2010
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.
Just Right
Hondo123,12/07/2009
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.
Sweet Ride!
Stephen,04/03/2016
R-Design 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl Turbo 6M)
I got the automatic C30 R-Design last August 2015 when there was just over 58,000 miles on the odometer and have since added over 10,000 miles. My previous car was a 2000 Buick LeSabre so I was looking for a vehicle that provided a similar ride but had a bit of fun factor to it. I also need a car that has good seats as I have a bad back. The car is also parked on a city street, so I wanted something smaller that could easily be parked and not get dented. I looked at a 2015 Mini Cooper S, a 2014VW GTI, and this car. The Mini was my favorite when it came to its quirky design but it ends there; the mechanics and overall comfort was pathetic for such an expensive vehicle. I also decided against it when I learned that the Hardtop failed a side impact safety test (which the dealership claimed they fixed by adding more interior padding). The next car I tried was the VW GTI. It was an okay vehicle but the ride was harsh, the seats were hard and not as supportive as older models, and the materials were just cheap (worse than the Mini and that's saying a lot). I then found my 2010 Volvo C30. The seats are impressive but I guess that's to be expected as they are the only ones in the market to be designed by orthopedic surgeons. I was greatly surprised to discover that the C30 has a softer ride than the Buick LeSabre. The car has great vision and safety, as it has large windows and is equipped with BLIS (though I have not turned it on yet). The vehicle also weighs over 4300 pounds, which is heavier by at least 1500 pounds compared to the Mini and VW. The Volvo C30 attracts a lot of attention wherever I go because of its unique design and its great engine note when starting or accelerating. The Volvo has also been very reliable with only oil changes needed. The only downside, but not really for a car this awesome, is the mileage. On premium, I can only get 22.8 mpg in mixed driving but highway mpg easily reaches 32 mpg.

Features & Specs

MPG
21 city / 29 hwy
Seats 4
6-speed manual
Gas
227 hp @ 5000 rpm
MPG
21 city / 29 hwy
Seats 4
6-speed manual
Gas
227 hp @ 5000 rpm
See all Used 2010 Volvo C30 features & specs

Safety

IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2010 Volvo C30

Used 2010 Volvo C30 Overview

The Used 2010 Volvo C30 is offered in the following submodels: C30 Hatchback. Available styles include T5 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl Turbo 6M), and R-Design 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl Turbo 6M).

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Should I lease or buy a 2010 Volvo C30?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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