Volvo C30 is a compact hatchback that’s fun to drive

Volvo C30 was restyled last year with a new front fascia, fenders, a new honeycomb grille and trapezoidal headlights.

The Volvo C30 is a two-door hatchback compact with a lot to offer. It’s sporty and fast, handles with precision and has a lot of extra standard equipment.

Under the hood there’s a 227 hp 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine mated to either a standard six-speed manual transmission or a five-speed Geartronic automatic with the Auto-stick function. The front-wheel drive C30 gets pretty good fuel economy at 21/30 mpg with the automatic and 21/29 mpg with the manual gearbox.

With its compact size and smart design, the Volvo C30 is fun to drive and with its relatively wide front and rear tracks and long wheelbase, it has exceptionally stable driving characteristics. With a MacPherson front suspension and a multilink rear axle, the chassis is optimized to provide outstanding control and a precise response to the driver’s demands.

The C30 T5 comes standard with a healthy roster of standard equipment, including Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC), Volvo’s Side Impact Protection System (SIPS) and Whiplash Protection Seating System (WHIPS), T-Tec upholstery, leather gearshift knob with aluminum inlay, cruise control, a high performance 160-watt audio system with eight speakers, iPod/USB and auxiliary inputs, HD Radio, and Bluetooth integrated interface including audio streaming.

The C30 was restyled last year with a new front fascia, restyled fenders, a new honeycomb grille and trapezoidal headlights, so changes in 2012 are relatively minor. Two new trim levels — Premier Plus and Platinum — have been added to complement the base C30 T5 and R-Design models. The Premier Plus trim level includes a power glass sunroof, power driver’s seat, power passenger’s seat and new LED daytime running lights. This trim also includes aluminum inlays for the C30 T5 and a soft loadcover for the R-Design.

The Platinum trim level offers more technology, including all the features of Premier Plus, and the 10-speaker, 650-watt Volvo Premium Sound System with Dolby Pro Logic II Surround Sound, a Navigation System with real time traffic, remote control and map care plus, and Sirius/XM satellite radio. The C30’s Climate package can be added to any trim level, as well as individual features from the list of stand-alone options.

Also new for 2012 is the Bluetooth audio streaming connection that allows drivers to play music from compatible cell phones directly through the C30’s audio system speakers. And, using Pandora or Grooveshark, they can create playlists and synchronize with the phone to become wireless deejays.

Other enhancements for all C30s include a standard center armrest for rear seat passengers, a standard security alarm and a new exterior color — Caspian Blue Metallic.

Pricing on the Volvo C30 T5 ranges from $24,950 to $31,850.

Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondence to <LetsTalkCars@aol.com>.

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