"The car is wonderful, the buying process is so-so."4.5 starson by bryan73
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.