Used 1999 Volvo C70 Review

what's new

Volvo offers a light-pressure turbocharged engine in the coupe. Both coupes and convertibles get a bit of new standard and optional equipment.

vehicle overview

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

With the mission of going after buyers looking for a little excitement, Volvo engineers transformed the sturdy but boxy S70 into a svelte coupe last year 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 convertible.

Under the C70's sheetmetal, buyers will find the chassis of the S70/V70, along with the choice of two powertrains: the 2.3-liter turbocharged five-cylinder that makes 236 horsepower or the 2.4-liter light-pressure turbocharged five cylinder engine that makes 190 horsepower. The smaller engine allows for a lower-priced ticket into the class and is the same engine found under the hood of the S70 GLT Sedan and V70 GLT wagon.

This year, buyers of both coupe and convertible models will enjoy standard interior enhancements that include a leather steering wheel, redesigned interior light switches, 130-mph speed limiter, front fender turn indicators and red walnut dash trim in place of last year's black wood. A new 17-inch alloy wheel option is available in 1999 for both coupes and convertibles. The coupe also gets an in-dash cruise control indicator light. New colors include Desert Wind for the coupe and Champagne for the convertible.

Structural rigidity was a priority with the C70, and the results show when driving it along winding roads. This coupe is rock solid but the convertible exhibits more cowl shake than we expected. And, in keeping with Volvo's tradition of providing safe transportation, the C70 has dual front airbags with two-level triggering this year, 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. Additionally, convertibles provide a rollover protection system (ROPS).

The C70s battle the shapely new Mercedes-Benz CLK, the BMW 3-Series and larger models like the Cadillac Eldorado Touring Coupe. But the C70s have changed the way people think about Volvo, and should fare well in the fight.

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.