Used 1998 Volvo C70 Review

what's new

Modeled on the S70 chassis, the C70 shares sheet metal with the S70 from the windshield forward, and is powered by the same set of turbocharged power plants.

vehicle overview

Forget what you think you know about Volvo. Well, almost everything you know. Volvos are still very safe cars, but they aren't to be relegated to granola crunchies and conservative suburbanites any longer. The new C70 is proof of that.

With the mission of going after buyers looking for a little excitement, Volvo engineers have transformed the sturdy but boxy S70 into a svelte coupe and somewhat pudgy convertible with impressive performance and room for four bona-fide adults. Sheetmetal forward of the windshield is shared with the S70 sedan and V70 wagon, but aft of the front glass the C70 is all curvy coupe or weatherproof drop-top.

Under the beautiful sheetmetal of the coupe, buyers will find the chassis of the S70/V70, along with the turbocharged powertrain that T-5 sedans and wagons use for propulsion. Making 236-horsepower at 5,100 rpm, the blown inline five-cylinder engine will create enough g-force when spooled up to push passengers back into the large, supremely supportive seats. Convertibles make do with the less powerful 190-horsepower light-pressure turbo engine from the S70 GLT, for now. The interior is lifted from the S70/V70, but an optional Dolby Surround Sound pod can sit atop the instrument panel in the C70. Trust us. It rocks.

Well-equipped coupes start at $39,500; convertibles go for a few grand more. Buyers can add traction control, huge 18-inch alloy wheels, premium leather upholstery, and heated front seats. Those with a hankering for lighter wood trim or smaller all-season rubber can get them at no additional charge.

Structural rigidity was a priority with the coupe, and the results show when driving it along winding roads. This car is rock solid. The convertible, however, exhibits more cowl shake than one might expect. And, in keeping with Volvo's tradition of providing safe transportation, the C70 has dual front airbags, side airbags for front passengers, three-point inertia reel safety belts at all positions, anti-submarining front seats, and the SIPS side-impact protection system. A strengthened steel safety cage surrounds the convertible's passenger compartment and a Rollover Protection System (ROPS) designed to deploy when sensors determine that the car may flip prevents crushed skulls.

The C70 will battle the shapely new Mercedes-Benz CLK and the upcoming redesigned BMW 3-series, among others, in the marketplace. It will also change the way people think about Volvo, and should fare well in the battle against existing luxury coupes and convertibles.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.