Used 2001 Volvo C70 Convertible Review

Based on a platform that is nearly a decade old, the first "out of the box" Volvo is in need of a redesign.




what's new

Volvo has dropped the C70 Coupe light-pressure turbo (LPT), meaning only the high-pressure turbo coupe (HPT) is offered. A new five-speed automatic transmission is optional equipment. Exterior styling remains the same, but there are new 16-inch wheels for all models, with the 17-inch wheels still being optional. Simulated wood trim replaces the previous car's burled walnut wood trim. The coupe's previously standard equipment of the trip computer, auto-dimming rearview mirror, simulated wood trim, leather upholstery and sunroof are now part of the Grand Touring option package. The premium audio system is optional on the HPT coupe and standard on the HPT convertible.

vehicle overview

Forget what you think you know about Volvo. Well, almost everything you know. Volvos are still safe cars, but they aren't necessarily boxy or boring. The C70 Coupe and Convertible are proof of that.

With the mission of going after buyers looking for a little excitement, Volvo's svelte C70 offers impressive performance and room for four bona-fide adults. Volvo groups both the C70 and V70 Wagon under the 70-Series name, but the two cars are different in that the C70 continues to be built on Volvo's old S70/V70 platform, while the 2001 V70 has been redesigned and is now based on the larger and more luxurious S80 platform.

The C70 is available as either a coupe or a convertible. For 2001, the coupe's only engine is a turbocharged, 2.3-liter five-cylinder engine that makes 236 horsepower at 5,400 rpm and 244 foot-pounds of torque at 2,400 rpm. A five-speed manual transmission is standard equipment, with a five-speed automatic being optional. The C70 Convertible is also available with this engine, or a more sedate 2.4-liter five-cylinder turbo that makes 190 horsepower and 199 foot-pounds of torque. This engine is available only with the automatic.

The convertible's top is raised or lowered with the press of a single button. The rear seat is notably wide and spacious for this type of car. If you don't need to transport rear passengers, the accessory mesh-screen wind blocker allows draft-free cruising at even elevated highway speeds. With the top up, the C70 Convertible is slightly noisier than other cars in this class.

One of Volvo's priorities for the C70 was structural rigidity, 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. In keeping with Volvo's tradition of providing safe transportation, the C70 has dual two-stage front airbags, side airbags for front passengers and three-point seatbelts at all four positions. Additionally, convertibles provide a rollover protection system (ROPS).

Inside, the C70's gauges are easy to read, and the secondary controls are lined up on either side of the steering column. As with most Volvo products, the seats in the C70 are without peer. Superbly comfortable, they offer a wide array of power adjustment, and up to three different memory settings. Combined with a tilting and telescoping steering column, it is simple to find a comfortable position in the driver's seat. Leather seating is optional on the coupe and standard equipment on the convertible. The price tag for the optional premium audio system (standard on the HPT convertible) might seem exorbitant, but allow us to say that its sound quality is truly exceptional.

The C70 competes against cars like the Mercedes-Benz CLK, the BMW 3 Series and the Saab 9-3. It is not as performance-oriented as the Mercedes or BMW, but the C70 does have its own unique advantages. If you are shopping for an attractive coupe or convertible with plenty features and safety, the C70 is a car to look at.

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.