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The New York Times

Time:2018-02-14 01:09Turbochargers information Click:

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The C30 is a sprightly, shapely little wedge that drew more unbidden public praise than any Volvo I’ve driven in years. Its most striking design cue — a daring all-glass hatch framed by a chunky tail — was widely admired when shown on the Safety Concept Car that Volvo unwrapped in 2001. The design also makes a nod to the 1800 ES wagon of the early 1970s.

Below its skin, the Volvo is essentially an S40 sedan with 8.5 inches and 300 pounds shorn from its rear end. That leaves a car roughly the size of a competing Volkswagen GTI or Audi A3, but nearly 10 inches shorter than a Mazda 3.

Keeping things software-simple, Volvo offers 1.0 and 2.0 versions, starting at $23,445 and $26,445, respectively. Both models get the S40’s 5-cylinder, 2.5-liter turbocharged engine with 227 horsepower and a buff 237 pound-feet of torque.

That engine delivers the muted drone typical of five-cylinder power plants — it could use a decongestant — but it is plenty strong. Get it wrong with the throttle, and the C30 smokes its poor front tires throughout first gear. Get it right, and the little Swede runs like a luge headed downhill, hitting 60 miles an hour in 6.6 seconds with the five-speed automatic transmission, 6.2 seconds with the five-speed manual. And its turbo torque keeps things moving well into triple-digit territory.

Torque steer, a condition in which burly front-drive cars struggle to point straight ahead under hard acceleration, is especially well controlled. Fuel economy is acceptable for this class at 19 m.p.g. in town and 27 on the highway.

Naturally, Volvo works overtime on safety, and it drops its best abbreviations on the C30: there is the SIPS side-impact airbag protection system, the WHIPS whiplash-protection seats, the optional BLIS blind-spot monitor. In a 35 m.p.h. rear-end crash, the rear head restraints are designed to block intruding objects while the body diverts crash energy downward, away from the passengers.

On rolling, wooded two-lane roads in the Sterling Forest area north of New York City, the C30 proved to be the rare Volvo with more than safety and citizenship on its mind. The car hung in nicely on turns, with an elastic, eager feel similar to the S40’s.


Volvo C30 is based on the larger S40 sedan.

Especially with the softer suspension of the 1.0, the Volvo isn’t as aggressively tuned as boy racer cars like the Volkswagen GTI or Mazdaspeed 3, but it’s not playing their game. Instead, the C30 picks a spot between edgy and easygoing, including a ride that’s quieter and smoother than many of its rivals.


Brakes, at least on my test car, seemed to be the squishy Achilles’ heel, with average power and a pedal that began sinking near the floor during robust use.

The long coupe doors swing out extra-wide, requiring attention to avoiding whacking cars or fire hydrants. Step inside, and the C30 has the airy, modern-furniture feel of recent Volvos, including the curving waterfall panel that forms the center of the instrument panel. Also familiar are the excellent form-fitting seats and controls so simple and ergonomically correct they almost seem old-fashioned. Visibility is another strong point, with an enormous expanse of windshield and slim roof pillars.

With two distinct buckets, the back seat is tighter than some competitors that offer seating for five in a pinch. And while that hatch is distinctively stylish, the form hinders the function: with no metal frame, the glass panel is commendably light, but the opening is notably smaller than those of other hatchbacks. Forget about squeezing that flat-panel TV box inside. With seats folded or erect, the downsloping roof impinges on cargo capacity; a Kia Spectra’s hatch seems as big as an S.U.V.’s in comparison.

If the hatch is somewhat stingy, so is the basic interior: It fairly rattles its bare bones, urging you to flesh it out with options.

My 1.0 version had a reasonable price of $25,170, but with a $1,250 automatic transmission and lovely blue metallic paint ($475) as the only options. (Version 2.0 adds a firmer suspension, sporty body trim, 18-inch wheels, larger exhaust outlets and a 650-watt audio system).

But even a quick scan of my surroundings revealed M.I.A. items like leather upholstery, heated and powered seats; a navigation system, Xenon headlamps, sunroof, cruise control, satellite radio, rain-sensing wipers and trip computer.

All that, and much more, is available for a price. Some are part of the Custom Build program that charges a $300 entry fee for the pleasure of spending even more on options, including 17 exterior and 12 interior colors.

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