Pros Quality/Fit, & Finish, Style, Sporty Quiet Ride
Cons Buying custom car presented a few minor annoyances, see below.
Summary I have had my C30 2.0 (manual) for over a week, now, and I have yet to find a flaw with the car. It seems to be built with rather a rare attention to detail and quality. So far I'm quite satisfied with my 'real world' 23mpg (just like they say), and I love driving it.
Highlights: 1) The sound system in the 2.0 is beautiful, in some ways better than my rather high-end home system. It is very adjustable, and I am still learning and toying with it to get it just right. 2) The ride is very quiet and the shifting and turbo kick-in are about as smooth as any I've experienced. 3) A good balance between quiet/smooth ride and fun-to-drove road and engine feel is struck. The car can really pick-up and go quickly, and with a nice throaty little roar, when you ask it to. 4) I really like the optional keyless entry/drive system I got. The convenience of opening doors with an armload of stuff without having to fish for keys is nice, as is just sitting down and turning the car on. 5) The shifter is nearly effortless. 6) Using 6th gear WILL get you a speeding ticket eventually...but it's nice for a little spice once in a while. 7) The seats are very supportive and comfortable. 8) The long list of options does let you truly customize your features and styling to your tastes. 9) Handling and braking have been superb.
Many of the "expert" reviews decry somewhat silly things, in my opinion, considering this is a compact hatchback. Such as: "limited rear seat leg room", "limited cargo space", "not as fast or nimble as a Mini", etc.... The C30 is quite functional in all these areas, and I believe Volvo found a good middle ground. This is a great car for 1 or 2 passengers and a bit of day-to-day cargo, with the option of upping the passenger number or cargo space a bit in a pinch. It is also very sporty, without being a "toy" car. It seems a little odd to criticize it for being exactly what it was designed to be. "Limited rear visibility" is somewhat true, but it can be overcome with good mirror settings and a bit of getting used to where to look.
Annoyances: I only have three minor things related to the car itself, but several regarding the purchase process. 1) I wish the driver's seat moved back just another inch or two for optimal leg comfort. I'm 6' and leggy and I'm comfortable, but not in heaven as I sit. Taller or long-legged drivers may have difficulty. 2) The key is large and ugly. Unfortunately, the "male" end of the key does not retract or flip down into the body of the key unit (ala my bro's Audi key), so it makes the key a bit large and uncomfortable to carry in a pocket. Maybe this wouldn't be so annoying for a woman with keyless drive who could keep it in a purse. 3) The two center console drink holders, when filled, are right in the way of your arm on the manual shift. Probably not a big deal for the automatic version.
The Buying Process: the worst part of the whole deal for many little reasons. 1) The custom build option is great for how it allows you to shape the car, but...the delivery time of 2.5 months is a long wait (though mine did arrive 1 week early) and the $300 charge just to be able to select custom options is pure b.s. I know they could just build that $$ in by adding a couple bucks to each option and hiding the fee anyway, but telling you you have to pay just for the privilege of buying more stuff leaves a bad little taste. 2) Because the car is so new, the dealers and salespeople were not particularly knowledgeable...but this will likely improve over time. 3) Volvo is not cutting any deals on this car at this time, so you can't haggle much at all and are just stuck with the MSRP-type price they quote you. Because of this and the custom options that can add up fast, the price can climb pretty high for a car in this class (low to mid 30's). 4) I found one of the "individual, custom" options that I couldn't get without another. I wanted bi-xenon headlights, but was told you have to get headlamp wipers, too, for another $350. Two issues with that: a) I live in southern CA where it rains (lightly) like 20 days/year, so I have no need, and b) None of the demo cars in the dealerships that have bi-xenons have wipers (because they don't look very sexy), so I know that they can do one without the other. But, no go. It's a package deal and I was annoyed.
OK. That's enough ranting. The truth is that now that the purchase is done and the wait is over...I really love my car, and everyone I've shown it to (including many random strangers) seems to agree. I never thought I'd drive a Volvo after my dad's durable, but uninspiring Volvo in the eighties, but Volvo has really done something special with this C30, and I think many drivers will be surprised by what they find here.
Pros price, european delivery, pep
Cons fuel economy, lack of integrated bluetooth
Summary I just purchased a C30 last weekend and will be picking it up in Europe this fall. I test drove both the 1.0 and the 2.0 with the automatic and manual transmissions respectively. Here's what I found:
Version 1.0 - from the rubber bumpers, cheesy customized interior finishes, and automatic transmission this car was not very impressive. The transmission seemed to resist taking advantage of a pretty powerful engine. The interior was cheesy and uninspired (though I have to admit that some of this is Volvo's rather questionable decision to send each dealer a 1.0 with a big Swedish flag roof and metallic blue interior paint finishes).
Version 2.0 - Sitting in this car was like sitting in an entirely different world when compared to the 1.0. The sound system is truly amazing...especially for a car in this price rage. But I do have to correct the CNET review.
When I built my 2.0 to order, I learned that the American C30s will not have integrated bluetooth in the traditional sense. It's going to be a dealer add-on...and a cheesy one at that. They're just repurposing a very ugly Motorola kit and bludgeoning your dashboard with a cheap plastic button. The European versions have the integration, but you'll not get this feature State-side.
And the manual transmission and sports suspension made a huge difference driving the car. It was the most fun I've had driving a sub $30k in my life...and by fun I mean a very nice balance of pep and interior luxury.
Finally, I decided to purchase the car through Volvo's Overseas Delivery Program. Check it out.
Stereo (quality of sound, ease of use)
Younger look and feel for Volvo
Cons Options add up quickly
Auto-stick is not very predictable
Backseat headrests impede on visibility
Still running premium fuel
Summary I just purchased a 2008 C30 R from a dealer trying to clear out the last of the 08's. Unfortunately I was not able to customize the car, but was able to negotiate a very well equipped car for the 'staring at' price for the C30.
I drove one of the base models around for a while and really enjoyed the feel and performance of the car but was very disappointed with the quality of the seats and console. My wife agreed and really wasn't interested in the car until I told her about the R edition.
The R Edition uses top grain leather for the seats and metal for some of the accents and console (as opposed to what appears to be cheap painted plastic). I believe the exterior uses a sportier body kit, painted to match the car and some stainless (rear view mirrors, front grill). The available upgraded stereo should satisfy just about anyone.
I am not sure if I would have bought this car without getting a great price on the R design. By the time you add the options you would expect from a Volvo, this car can easily list for 30k. If you can find the options you want for a price that works, this is a really cool car that offers some safety and options that were previously not available in a car with this stature without looking to BMW and MB.
Hopefully Volvo's pricing will be more successful than BMW and MB have been in this class.
Pros Volvo safety & quality in a sporty, stylish package that is fun to drive
Cons $300 Custom Build Fee
Summary Caveat my comments in that I am not a C30 owner(yet) but have test driven the car and do own a similar featured 2005 V50 T5 AWD we purchased using Volvo's Overseas Delivery Program
- Minor correction to previously submitted post - C30's BiXenon headlight optioon requires headlight washers (not wipers). We have those bixenons on our car; test drove regular halogen equipped and bixenon cars back to back one evening..and they sold themselves to me.
- The $300 Custom Build charge...like another poster said..this is just an irritant to the process and in my opinion should have just been built into the vehicle price...but wait, you CAN avoid that fee....
- Overses Delivery Program - we purchased our V50 that way and would ONLY buy a Volvo that way...save 8% over base MSRP, do not pay either the $745 delivery fee OR the $300 custom build charge, get two free round trip tickets to Sweden; airport pickup and transport to hotel (one night free) and transport to factory delivery center, factory delivery complete with lunch and factory tour, two weeks vehicle insurance and free auto transport back to U.S. dealer of your choice...check out program on Volvo's web site.
-Volvo for Life! (and no, I am not affiliate with Volvo in any way other than as a 2x customer)
"IT TOTALLY SWEET"on by yella23eh
Pros its sexy hott
Cons there is none
Summary i love it, it is the coolest thing ever!