Used 2002 Volvo C70 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 will offer the C70 Coupe in just one trim level, and the contents of last year's SE model will come with it, including the unique sport grille, 17-inch wheels and tires, power sunroof, leather upholstery, trip computer, auto-dimming rearview mirror and special dash inlays. New standard features for all C70s include Volvo's stability and traction control system (STC), heated front seats and an emergency trunk release. Convertibles also get 17-spoke alloy wheels and ride on Z-rated 205/55R16 Pirelli tires. Genuine wood dash trim replaces the "wood effect" trim in the optional Touring Package for the C70 LPT convertible. Ash Gold is now an exterior color choice, while Turquoise Metallic and Venetian Red Metallic have been discontinued.

vehicle overview

Forget what you think you know about Volvo and its boxy station wagons. Well, almost everything you know. The C70 Coupe and Convertible are positioned as the "sporting" members of the company's lineup, but they still offer the high levels of safety and luxury that Volvo buyers have come to expect.

With the mission of going after buyers looking for a little excitement, both the coupe and convertible offer impressive performance and room for four bona-fide adults. But while the similarly named V70 wagon was redesigned last year (and moved to the larger, more luxurious S80 platform), the C70 continues to ride on the previous-generation S70/V70 platform while waiting for a complete makeover. Of course, older underpinnings don't make the C70 an undesirable car -- it's simply not the best the company has to offer.

The C70 Coupe comes with a turbocharged 2.3-liter five-cylinder engine that makes 236 horsepower at 5,400 rpm and 244 pound-feet of torque at 2,400 rpm. The power delivery is buttery smooth, but the high-pressure turbo engine definitely likes to be kept spinning to make full power. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, and a five-speed automatic (with Winter mode) is optional. The C70 HPT Convertible shares this engine, while the less expensive C70 LPT ragtop has a more sedate 2.4-liter five-cylinder turbo that makes 190 horsepower and 199 lb-ft of torque. This powerplant is available only with the automatic. Both the coupe and convertible deliver a smooth, forgiving ride around town. Although body roll is significant on winding back roads, both handle remarkably well despite their hefty weight and front-wheel-drive configuration. Structural rigidity was a priority for Volvo's engineers, and indeed the coupe feels rock-solid; although, the convertible exhibits more cowl shake than one would expect from a Volvo. Stability and traction control and four-wheel antilock disc brakes are standard.

In keeping with the company's tradition of providing safe transportation, every C70 includes side-impact airbags, head curtain airbags, whiplash-reducing front seats and three-point seatbelts for all four positions. Additionally, convertibles provide a rollover protection system (ROPS).

You can raise or lower the convertible's top with the press of a button. If you don't need to transport rear passengers, the accessory mesh-screen wind blocker allows draft-free cruising even at elevated highway speeds. With the top up, the C70 Convertible is slightly noisier than its competitors.

Inside the cabin, the C70's gauges are clearly legible, and the secondary controls are logically arranged on either side of the steering column. As with most Volvo products, the seats are without equal. Superbly comfortable, they offer a wide array of power adjustment and up to three different memory settings. And with the aid of the steering wheel's tilt/telescope adjustments, it's easy to find the ideal driving position. Leather upholstery is standard across the line. 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 a serene ride and a full menu of safety and luxury features, the C70 is worthy of consideration.

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.