2013 Volvo C30 Expert Review

3.5 Overall Score
Performance 3.5 Comfort 3.2 Styling 3.6 Value 3.3

Editor's Overview

The C30 is Volvo's smallest car, a stylish 4-passenger hauler that straddles the line between hatchback and small wagon. Its turbocharged 5-cylinder engine offers potent power and good fuel economy, while the car's designer looks help it stand out.

You'll Like The 2013 Volvo C30 If...

If you want a stylish, solid and quick compact hatch with a premium feel that stands apart from just about everything else on the road, the C30 is an appealing option.


You May Not Like The 2013 Volvo C30 If...

If you need to move more than four people and their gear, look to a slightly more spacious Audi A3, Volkswagen GTI, Mazda3 5-door or Honda Fit.

What's New

For 2013, Volvo continues to expand the trim-level offerings on the C30, adding a new Premier trim. Rain-sensing wipers and headlight washers are fitted across the line, and the Premier Plus trim gets new keyless entry and starting as well as active xenon headlights.

Interior Features

If you've been in any recent Volvo, the C30's cabin will be instantly familiar. It's functional yet stylish, looking as sleek and angular as anything from an IKEA store. Two-tone leather seating is available, which helps give the C30 a premium look. R-Design models get extra garnishments like aluminum inlays and logos on the seats and steering wheel. In back are two – but only two – sculpted seats, roomy enough for adults. Behind the rear seats is 12.9 cubic feet of storage, which expands to over 20 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.

Exterior Features

A squat profile, deep curves, angular front and beautifully contoured rear make the Volvo C30 a car that looks truly one-of-a-kind. Its defining feature is the lovely panel of rear glass stretching halfway down the car and differentiating it from all other hatchbacks. The window allows exceptional visibility outward, but also lets onlookers peer in, so owners would do well to keep valuables covered in the cargo bay. R-Design models get identifying cues such as a rear spoiler, larger exhaust tips and a smattering of logos. Base models have 17-inch wheels while R-Design editions roll on 18-inchers.


Driving Impressions

The 2013 Volvo C30 is quick, but not blazingly fast. Still, with a stated 0-60 mph acceleration time of about 6.5 seconds, the C30 has absolutely no problem getting up to speed on the freeway. What the C30 really has going for it is a solid, planted, and ultimately safe feel that belies its small size. In base T5 form, the front-wheel-drive C30 offers bigger-car comfort, while the R-Design model has a tighter suspension for better cornering. Power level is the same for both models, though either can be boosted with the available Polestar Performance upgrade, which tunes the engine to 250 horsepower for noticeably more sizzle. Both models have a pleasingly quiet cabin. The seating position is comfortable, but for some people, the seatbelts have a tendency to creep up. Outward sightlines are among the best.


Pricing Notes

The 2013 Volvo C30 T5 has a starting Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $26,395, while the R-Design model starts at $28,745. Loading up a C30 T5 R-Design with the Platinum package and other options can push the price past $36,000. The Polestar retro-fit tuning upgrade, which boosts horsepower from 227 to 250, adds $1,295 to any C30 configuration. The C30's base price undercuts the Audi A3 and Lexus CT 200h, and comes in higher than a Volkswagen GTI, Mazdaspeed3 and Mini Cooper Clubman. Be sure to check KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for the Volvo C30. Over time, the C30 is expected to retain its resale value well, comparable to an A3, but not as strong as a VW GTI or Mini Cooper Clubman.

Notable Equipment

All 2013 Volvo C30 models come with a 6-speed manual transmission, cruise control and a 160-watt/6-speaker audio system with AM/FM/HD Radio, CD player and auxiliary/iPod/USB inputs. Also standard are steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, Bluetooth wireless connectivity with audio streaming, and – deep breath – a pollen filter. All current Volvos are backed by a 5-year/50,000-mile basic warranty and complimentary maintenance for three years/36,000 miles.


Notable Options

The new Premier package on the 2013 Volvo C30 adds a sunroof, power-adjustable driver's seat and cargo-area cover. Premier Plus brings power adjustability for the passenger seat, dual xenon headlights and LED running lights. The top-line Platinum package has a 10-speaker/650-watt premium sound system and navigation system with real-time traffic. Additional options include a 5-speed automatic transmission, climate package, blind-spot monitoring system, and the power-bumping Polestar Performance Package.

Favorite Features

EXCEPTIONAL OUTWARD VISIBILITY

The C30's rear window looks great from the outside, and it's even better from within. Thanks to that long panel of glass flowing down the hatch, this Volvo provides astounding rearward visibility.


TURBOCHARGED ENGINE

A turbocharged 2.5-liter 5-cylinder engine gives the C30 a great balance of performance and efficiency, falling neatly between a smaller 4-cylinder and a larger 6-cylinder. And the turbocharger responds with almost no throttle lag.

Under the Hood

All Volvo C30s are powered by a turbocharged 5-cylinder inline engine that makes 227 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque across a wide rpm range. This means the car's power is readily available any time, and there is plenty of it. The standard 6-speed manual transmission has precise, if rather long, shift throws. The optional 5-speed automatic works well but lacks paddle shifters. Unlike many cars with turbocharged engines, this one can run on regular-grade gasoline. For drivers who want more power, the dealer-installed Polestar Performance Package retunes the engine to make 250 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. Gloriously, the Polestar performance boost does not affect rated fuel economy, emissions or warranty coverage.


2.5-liter turbocharged inline-5

227 horsepower @ 5,000 rpm

236 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-5,000 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/29 mpg (manual), 21/30 mpg (automatic)


Note: The dealer-installed Polestar Performance Package increases the C30 engine output to 250 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. The fuel economy figures are not affected.

Editors' Notes

The 2013 Volvo C30 is an upscale compact carryall that blurs the distinction between hatchback and small station wagon. It is priced above the Mini Cooper and below the Audi A3, but looks nothing like them – or anything else on the road for that matter. Even its engine is unusual, being a turbocharged 5-cylinder that aims for 6-cylinder performance with 4-cylinder fuel economy. Inside, the C30 defies more convention with only four seats instead of the typical five. The C30's differences make it a stylish, fun-to-drive car for individualists.

Road Test Video Reviews

2013 Volvo C30 Owner Reviews

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Volvo C30: Why you need it.

This is my second C30 (we loved my 2008 C30 so much my dad wanted one for him, one for me). Both have been manual transmission which I think is a must-have which this car. It's very similar to driving a go-kart, which means the handling is unbelievable. My 2008 is still running well at 200,000 miles. We live 10 miles down a barely paved road that has more twist, turns and bumps than imaginable. I'm also from the Adirondacks and the C30 handles just as well with a set of snow tires in winter as it does in summer.

- Al E

Little sports car, without the big sports car price.

Sports car feel and look reasonably priced. Not really for people with kids as the back seat is not very big. More comfortable for 2 people with no back seat passengers, comfortable leather seats that wrap around you. Turbo charged so that it had great pick up and go.

- Shelly L

lots of room and it is a volvo even though it is small

hatchback, too low to the ground and the color black attracts heat. otherwise love the car and the style

- Michael J

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