Volvo C30 (2007)

Volvo C30

The Volvo C30 is a compact SportsCoupe from Volvo aimed at youthful, sporty drivers. The smallest yet most expressively designed of all Volvos, the C30's interior is equally stylish with Volvo's unique, ultra-slim centre stack, individual seats for four adults and the deep, distinctive glass tailgate for easy loading.

'The C30 is a crucial car for Volvo, taking us into a new sector of the market for compact, sporty, expressive cars,' says Stephen Odell, president and CEO of Volvo Cars.

Closely based on the styling of the Volvo C30 Design Concept, first shown at the 2006 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the C30 is the 'ultimate manifestation of Volvo's current design language,' according to Peter Horbury, Volvo's design director. 'It has the broadest shoulders and the most expressive lines. The Volvo C30 is a car that will engage buyers emotionally.'

Volvo expects the car to appeal to young people without a family - and to the young-at-heart whose children may have left home and who want a distinctive, small, sporty yet functional car. 'Yes, it's a very sporty and stylish car,' says Mr Abrahamsson, C30 project director. Many buyers are likely to be urban based, so won't need a large car or carry passengers very often. They lead busy, active lives and appreciate good design and premium brands.

The Volvo C30 has four individual seats. The rear seats are mounted towards the centreline of the car, improving head and shoulder-room. 'We were convinced that four seats, not five, was the correct approach,' says Mr Abrahamsson. 'Four seats mean great rear seat comfort for both passengers. Five would have been a compromise. Besides, Volvo has many five-seat cars. If you want five seats, you can buy a Volvo S40 saloon or a V50 Sportswagon. On most journeys, we doubt whether the rear seats will even be used. Mostly, the rear seats will probably be folded flat, giving an amazing cargo space.'

The distinctive glass tailgate offers excellent rear visibility, as does the big rear side windows, whose pronounced curve tapering towards the back benefits rear three-quarter view. 'Many modern cars have poor rear three-quarter visibility and that's to the detriment of safety,' says Mr Abrahamsson. 'The Volvo C30's rear visibility is class leading and a refreshing change from most cars.' A load cover is available to protect luggage from prying eyes.

There is a choice of seven engines (four petrol and three diesel), including four and five-cylinder units. The petrol range includes a light and efficient 100 PS 1.6-litre, 125 PS 1.8-litre, 145 PS 2.0-litre, plus one five-cylinder model - 230 PS T5 that can achieve 0-60 mph in 6.2 seconds. The three diesels include the lower CO2-emitting 109 PS 1.6D DRIVe engine and 136 PS 2.0D, plus Volvo's five-cylinder, 2.4-litre, 180 PS D5.

Reinforcing Volvo's long-standing commitment to environmental care, models with the 1.6D engine will come equipped with a series of efficiency enhancing features to lower CO2 emissions to below 120 g/km and improve fuel economy. These models are marked with the DRIVe emblem to signal their uprated environment properties. New Start/Stop technology is also available on the 1.6D DRIVe to further reduce CO2 emissions to just 104 g/km and offer fuel economy of up to 72.4 mpg.

'The Volvo C30 is a compact, light car with the consequent benefits on agility, performance and fuel economy,' says Mr Abrahamsson. At 4.25m long, it is 22cm shorter than the current smallest Volvo model, the S40. 'But it is also a very safe car. Even the rear end crash protection is the same, despite the new car's smaller rear area.'

The Volvo C30 is also an extremely safe car in an accident. Curtain airbags protect both front and rear passengers, and other safety equipment includes safety belt tensioners, Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS) and Side Impact Protection System (SIPS) plus SIPS airbags and an IC (Inflatable Curtain). In addition, every Volvo C30 has DSTC (Dynamic Stability and Traction Control), and ABS brakes with EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution) and EBA (Electronic Brake Assistance).

Background to the design

The Volvo C30 story begins in 2001. Volvo wanted to design a more compact car, to broaden the brand's appeal. 'The question was: what sort of car should it be?' says Hakan Abrahamsson, Volvo C30 project director. 'We looked at possibly a more functional five-door car, like an MPV/hatchback crossover: a real family vehicle, as with most current Volvo models. The other possibility was a much sportier, smaller and more dynamic vehicle.

'We began our research in London. We wanted to go to a city with many trendy young people who had the money to buy a new car. We went into their homes to interview them and to find out about their lives.' Volvo saw 40 people in the 25-30 age group. 'After that, we started to sketch out the sort of car these people would like.'

What they wanted - and Mr Abrahamsson says the results could not have been clearer - was a sporty car with character. 'They wanted a car that actually didn't currently exist. A compact car, very dynamic looking, but with the flexibility to carry friends and items such as sporting equipment. So, not a traditional sports car. They wanted driving fun but also comfort and space and carrying versatility. How many doors? They wanted two and they were very clear on that point. They don't have a family, so why do they want four doors?

'Strategically, this approach suited Volvo. We are renowned as a manufacturer that satisfies family motoring requirements. This would be a chance to enter a new market and win over people who had never been attracted to the Volvo brand before.'

Coincidentally, 2001 was also the year that the Safety Concept Car (SCC) was unveiled, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. 'The SCC was very popular with the public and with the media,' says Peter Horbury, Volvo design director. 'It was handsome, sporty but very different from anything else out there. It also had the Volvo 1800ES-like tailgate, which was not only well liked in design but also offered great practicality in terms of visibility and easy loading.'

The SCC was the design starting point for the Volvo C30. 'We tried to recapture the emotional appeal of the SCC but reapply it on a smaller car,' says Simon Lamarre, chief designer. 'We wanted to capture the essence of the SCC - which was a four-door car - but make something real out of it.

'During the design process we had the SCC in the studio in Gothenburg and an 1800ES for inspiration. The 1800ES influences are most obvious at the rear. But please don't think there is anything retro about this car; there isn't. The glass tailgate is a cue from the past because it is so practical and attractive. Retro design is sentimental. Here, we're just being emotional.'

The most expressive example of Volvo's design language

Volvo's design language, created under the design directorship of Peter Horbury, reaches its zenith in the Volvo C30. There is the V-angled bonnet, the broad and protective shoulders, the soft edges, the curvaceous truncated tail.

'It may be the smallest Volvo but it has the broadest shoulders,' says Horbury. 'In fact, those shoulders are so big that they stretch the limits of what's capable with metal stamping. We could not have gone any bigger.'

'We have been a bit more playful, less formal and more adventurous,' says chief designer Simon Lamarre, a French-Canadian who has been at Volvo for 11 years. 'The track is unusually wide, the wheelbase in long, the window-line angles are nose-down, and the shape is wedged. The result is a sense of motion even when it's stationary. The shoulders are also broader than on other Volvos and rise towards the rear. On other Volvos, the shoulders are even and level. On the C30, there's a lot more movement and angle change.'

The nose of the car is most recognisably Volvo. Upright yet gently rounded, it's similar - yet discreetly different - from the Volvo S40 or V50. The headlamps are more angled, the styling treatment a little sharper.

Two-door style was chosen. 'Two doors look sportier and our target market made it clear they preferred coupe style,' says Mr Abrahamsson. 'Besides, they will rarely use the back seat. So why compromise on style? Volvo has many four-door cars, for those who prefer the added practicality of rear doors.'

The rear end is the biggest departure from the Volvo styling norm - except for those with long memories who remember back to the classic 1800ES sports estate, launched in 1971. That vehicle's distinguishing characteristic was the deep glass tailgate. That styling cue was borrowed on the SCC concept car, shown at the 2001 Detroit Show, and in turn was borrowed for the C30 Design Concept shown at the Detroit Show in January 2006.

Volvo C30 Design Concept previewed production C30

The Volvo C30 Design Concept gave an early glimpse of the production C30. All the special features were retained for production - the angled headlamps, the low and wide grille, the sloping roof, the contoured shape of the side windows (which get narrower towards the rear of the car, as the shoulders broaden), and the deep glass tailgate that offers excellent rear visibility and great convenience. The rear spoiler, fixed to the back of the roof (available on the R-DESIGN and R-DESIGN SE models and on all D5 and T5 engine versions), improves downforce and was also retained from the C30 Design Concept. So were the big upright tail lamps that border the glass tailgate and wrap around both the rear shoulders and the roofline. (The 1800ES, incidentally, had totally different rear lights, positioned below the tailgate.)

Also carried over from the Volvo C30 Design Concept was the colour scheme: Cosmic White Pearl with Brown Java Pearl body kit, which is a two-tone colour scheme available for the R-DESIGN and R-DESIGN SE models. The R-DESIGN bodykits are also available in full colour co-ordination.


'At only 4.25 metres long, the C30 is not a big car, but its spacious cabin gives it a real big car feel,' says Mr Abrahamsson, Volvo C30 project director.

Volvo's iconic 'floating' centre console now available in new materials

One of the most elegant pieces of interior design is the modern, ultra-slim centre console, similar to the revolutionary design first introduced in the S40 saloon. The handsome console, which appears to float, contains most of the important switches and controls and contributes to the understated, simple and very Scandinavian interior design, which does without a plethora of confusing switchgear.

The centre stack is available in three different finishes. Apart from the standard Bauxite finish. The centre stack is also available in Aluminium and R-DESIGN Deco Aluminium available on R-DESIGN models only.

'One of the research findings was that customers like to be able to personalise their cars as much as possible, and the C30 offers a range of interior finishes and features,' says Mr Abrahamsson.

Rear cargo area is spacious, versatile and easy to load

The individual rear seats fold separately, so you can have a two, three or four-seat Volvo C30. The back rests fold almost flat into the floor; they are completely flat when any item of weight is placed on top.

The glass tailgate gives a wide and long opening area. Load height is very low (807mm, or just over two feet) improving ease of use. The luggage compartment is surprisingly big. It's 433 litres when both rear seats are up but increases to a capacious 947 litres when the rear seats are folded. Just as important as the volume is the load length; with both back seats folded the carrying length is 1534mm, or just over five feet. Two load covers - one hard which is standard and one soft which is a no cost option - keep cargo contents from outside view.

Four comfortable individual seats for adults

The Volvo C30 is a true four-seater. Even the rear seats - individual chairs rather than a bench - are spacious enough for tall adults. They are both slightly centred, maximising shoulder and headroom. This also makes conversations between the front and rear passengers easier.

'We considered making the Volvo C30 a five seater but decided it was not necessary,' says Hakan Abrahamsson, C30 project director. 'It is a sporty car where the emphasis is on the driving experience. Besides, Volvo makes plenty of five-seat cars.'

The individual rear chairs offer much better lateral support than a conventional bench. They are typically wider and more comfortable than seats in a three-place rear bench and mirror the style and comfort of the supportive front seats. They have separate backrests, which can be folded individually. Entry and exit is easy thanks to the large front doors and front seats that automatically jack knife forward once the backrest is activated.

The four individual chairs increase the impression of space in the cabin. A noticeable 'corridor' runs through the middle of the car, between the seats. The rear carrying area is also low and flat. This feeling of airiness is further improved by the big glass area, including the deep front screen, glass tailgate and contoured side glass that tapers inward - boat like - towards the rear of the car.

'Visibility is excellent,' says Peter Horbury, Volvo's design director. 'The central corridor and the deep rear tailgate really help. Rear three-quarter visibility, minimal in so many modern cars, is also helped by the contoured side glass. The rear head restraints are in exactly the same line-of-sight as the rear roof pillars, so they have no negative effect on visibility.' Rear passengers also get a good view, helped by the low beltline and the tapered B-pillars that enable them to see through the front side windows too.

To improve detection of other vehicles at the side of the car, BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) is optionally available. It uses cameras mounted in the door mirrors to register if another vehicle is directly behind, in the 'blind spot'. A lamp near the mirror illuminates to warn the driver.

Headroom and legroom are generous. Equally, the many seat adjustments make the C30 perfect for all sizes of people. Height and lumbar adjustment come as standard on both driver and front passenger seats. The steering wheel is reach and rake adjustable. Front and rear adjustable centre armrests are standard.


All C30s are front-wheel drive, which offers more predictable handling and better traction than rear-drive. The transverse engine design improves space efficiency - the sideways layout takes less fore/aft space. It also improves safety by creating a generous crumple zone in the engine compartment. The five-cylinder engines - which are naturally longer than four-cylinder engines - can only be accommodated transversely due to their extremely compact design.

Choice of five petrol and three diesel engines

Buyers get a vast amount of choice with the new Volvo C30, and that includes engines. From a 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, right up to the storming five-cylinder, 230 PS T5.

'The 1.6 petrol is one of my favourite Volvo C30 engines,' says Hakan Abrahamsson, the project director. 'It's light, responsive, delightfully smooth and perfect for the driver who's going to do most of his or her miles in an urban environment.' As with all C30 engines, it features four-valve per cylinder technology for optimal breathing, double overhead camshafts and sounds sporty yet refined. It's mated to a smooth shifting five-speed manual gearbox.

'We thought about having a four-wheel drive version,' says Mr Abrahamsson. 'But we were very keen to keep the weight low, a crucial quality for a car that has strong performance and excellent fuel economy. We concluded that the extra traction benefits - usable only in some extreme weather conditions - just weren't worth the extra weight.'

The combination of light kerbweights and the 100 PS, 1596cc, 1.6 engine gives a lively top speed of 115mph and 0-60mph acceleration in 11.2 seconds with 150Nm of torque at 4,000rpm, emissions of 167 g/km and 40.4mpg on the combined cycle.

The 1798cc, 1.8 petrol engine boosts power to 125 PS, and torque increases by 15 Nm, to 165 Nm at the same rpm. Maximum speed increases to 124mph and 0-60 acceleration is reduced to 10.2 seconds. Emissions are 174 g/km with fuel economy of 38.7mpg on the combined cycle.

The 1999cc, 2.0 petrol engine produces 145 PS with 185 Nm of torque at 4500rpm and emissions of 177 g/km. It is the best performing four-cylinder petrol model with a top speed of 130mph, economy of 38.2 mpg on the combined cycle, and 0-60 acceleration that takes only 8.8 seconds.

Five-cylinder petrol performance

The Volvo C30 comes with one Volvo five-cylinder petrol engine. This engine is amazingly compact for five-cylinder units, and is among the most advanced petrol engine available.

The fastest Volvo C30 is the 230 PS, T5. It uses Volvo's familiar and popular light-pressure turbo, 2521cc, five-cylinder engine. Not only is it strong in absolute performance but its wide spread of torque makes it highly responsive over a wide rev band. Maximum torque of 320 Nm comes from as little as 1500 rpm and is available all the way up to 5000 rpm. The engine offers a terrific blend of performance and economy. Top speed is 149 mph, 0-60 mph acceleration takes 6.2 seconds, while it delivers 32.5mpg on the combined cycle.

Diesel engines including new 1.6D DRIVe

Volvo's 2.4-litre five-cylinder common-rail D5 diesel engine is now one of the cleanest and most advanced diesel engines in the world. Recent improvements to the D5 engine resulted in an entirely new driving experience with considerably higher performance and at the same time there has been a sharp reduction in emissions. A particle filter requiring no service is fitted, making the engine a very environmentally efficient alternative.

In the Volvo C30, the D5 produces 180 PS and a massive 400 NM of torque across a very wide rev range (from 2000-2750rpm). It comes standard with a six speed manual gearbox with Geartronic five-speed automatic available as an option. Maximum speed is 140mph and 0-60 acceleration takes only 7.3 seconds. Despite the excellent performance, the combined fuel economy for the D5 is 45.6mpg with emissions of 164g/km.

A 1997cc, 2.0D is also available, increasing power to 136 PS and maximum torque to 320 Nm at 2000rpm. The 2.0D comes with a six-speed manual gearbox, with Powershift available as an option.

1.6D DRIVe

The DRIVe sub-120g/km CO2 range showcases Volvo's ability to produce increasingly efficient vehicles with outstanding economy to rival even the smallest diesels. With the help of special DRIVe wind deflectors and a lowered chassis, the Volvo C30 with the highly efficient 109 PS 1.6D DRIVe engine boasts CO2 emissions of just 119 g/km, enabling customers to benefit from the low L35 per year tax band C. The fuel consumption now offers up to 62.8 mpg on the combined cycle.

All DRIVe models benefit from a lowered chassis - ride height on all three models has been dropped by 10mm. This lower ground clearance reduces fuel consumption at the same time as lowering the centre of gravity that, consequentially, has a positive effect on the car's handling. Front airflow deflectors have also been moulded into the body ahead of the front wheels to help channel airflow and a lower, front lip spoiler has been added.

Road wheel design was another area of development and drag has been cut with the adoption of a new, flush-style 16-inch diameter alloy wheel dubbed the Diamond Cut Libra (optional upgrade to alternative alloys available). As for tyres, Volvo worked closely with Michelin to develop a compound with uncompromising handling and wear characteristics coupled with low rolling resistance.

Further economy benefits were made by optimising engine and gearbox management software and introducing electrohydraulic steering. There is also a Gear Shift Indicator that informs the driver of the optimum time to change gears and achieve better fuel consumption. The final ingredient is a low friction transmission oil used in the gearbox. Individually, the modifications may seem small, but combined they produce a dramatic effect on overall efficiency.


The DRIVe enhancements are available across all trim levels including the sports inspired R-DESIGN specification to offer low levels of emissions and the highest levels of visual appeal. The changes detailed above enable the cars to keep the full R-DESIGN bodykit including front and rear spoilers, lower door trim and side skirts as well as roof and lip spoilers and 17-inch five spoke alloy wheels. The interior also carries all the familiar R-DESIGN features such as upholstery in cream leather and off black Flex-Tec, R-DESIGN centre stack and blue instrument dials.

Volvo C30 1.6D DRIVe with Start/Stop lowing CO2 emissions to 104 g/km

In order to reduce CO2 emissions to 104 g/km, the Volvo C30 1.6D DRIVe is also available with further efficiency enhancing features. One of which is an intelligent Start/Stop function that allows the engine to switch off when the car is at a standstill.

The Volvo C30 1.6D DRIVe with Start/Stop features the same modifications as the standard 1.6D DRIVe cars, but they also benefit from underbody panels for improved aerodynamics, a covered grille, DRIVe rear spoiler and a rear diffuser.

This DRIVe model has also been equipped with two intelligent new features. The first is a Start/Stop function that allows the engine to switch off when the car is at a standstill.

When the driver puts the gear lever into neutral and releases the clutch while at a standstill, the engine switches off. The next time the driver presses the clutch, the engine starts up again. This technology has reduced fuel consumption and thus CO2 emissions by 4-5 per cent in mixed driving conditions. Start/Stop technology is particularly effective in urban traffic, when the saving can be as much as 8 per cent.

When the car is at a standstill and the engine is switched off, some electronic systems such as the air conditioning step down to standby level in order to save fuel. However, Volvo's Start/Stop system continuously monitors the comfort level and automatically reactivates the air conditioning if, for instance, the temperature increases in the passenger compartment. The system does not set any limits for comfort-focused features such as the sound system or other facilities that the occupants will want to maintain.

This innovative monitoring system has been made possible due to an additional small battery which supports the larger battery by providing extra power. Thanks to this extra battery, Volvo's DRIVe models also feature particularly quick and smooth start-up. The audio system also remains unaffected when the starter motor is activated. This distinguishes Volvo Car's solution from other systems offered by the competition. The standard larger battery has also been upgraded to handle up to 175,000 Start/Stop cycles.

The driver continuously receives feedback about system status via the in-car information display. The Start/Stop function can be engaged and disengaged via a DRIVe button in the centre console and in the default setting, the function is activated.

The second new feature in the C30 DRIVe 1.6D with Start/Stop is a regenerative charge facility. This charges the battery as soon as the driver releases the accelerator or brakes while a gear is engaged. By harnessing the car's kinetic energy, the alternator does not have to use diesel fuel as a power source to recharge the car's battery. Fuel savings of between 2 and 3 per cent have been achieved with this function.


Two manual transmissions are offered: a six-speed manual is standard on the 2.0D, D5 and T5, while the 1.6, 1.8 and 2.0 petrol engines and the 1.6D DRIVe have a standard five-speed manual transmission.

The five-speed Geartronic transmission, which can be driven either as a conventional automatic or a clutchless sequential manual, is available as an option with the D5 and T5 engines.

Introduced as an option to the 2.0D in early 2008, the Powershift gearbox is a six-speed unit featuring twin wet clutches to provide the gear changing comfort of a fully-automatic transmission with the performance of a manual.

Operating as two parallel manual gearboxes, Powershift has twin wet clutches that work independently of one another. One clutch controls the odd gears (1, 3, 5 and reverse) while the other handles the even ratios (2, 4 and 6). The two clutches operate alternately with one engaging while the other disengages, like a slip clutch. This means that at the same time as the engine gets full power and maximum thrust in first gear, second gear is placed ready to be engaged. And when second gear has been engaged, third gear is readied, and so on. This gives a continuous flow of power without any disruption in power delivery or any torque loss. This results in extremely fast and smooth gear changes whilst maintaining acceleration allowing 0-60mph to be reached in nine seconds in the Volvo C30.

Apart from gear changing comfort and high performance, Powershift also contributes to delivering improved fuel efficiency. The Powershift Automatic offers an impressive combined fuel consumption of 47.9mpg on a combined cycle and a CO2 figure of 156g/km.

"Lower fuel consumption allied to increased comfort and higher performance sounds like an impossible equation. But with Powershift we have shown this is perfectly possible" says Magnus Jonsson, Senior Vice President, Research & Development, Volvo Cars.

Powershift gives the driver an automatic transmission that permits sequential gearchanges, just like with Volvo's Geartronic transmission. The difference is that with Powershift even manual gearchanges take place without any time or power losses. Also, unlike a conventional automatic transmission, Powershift does not need a torque converter, planetary gears or multiple wet clutches, there is also none of the added torque losses that these features bring.


The new Volvo C30 is a compact and light car. At only 4.25 metres in length, it is 22 cm shorter than the Volvo S40, for example, and also about 50kg lighter with kerbweights from 1339-1491kg.

Light weight gives a car extra agility and reduces fuel consumption. 'This light weight was one of the goals for the Volvo C30,' says Mr Abrahamsson. 'It would have been very easy to pile on the pounds. A heavy car is often better in a collision, so that would also have enabled us to meet our stringent safety goals. We resisted. The light weight was a crucial ingredient in the agility and sporty behaviour of the C30. Thanks to the extremely stiff body, we have also launched what I believe is the world's safest compact car - quite an achievement.'

The fully independent suspension is firmer than on other Volvos to aid agility, and the electro-hydraulic rack-and-pinion steering has a sportier feel to improve the car's driver feedback.

'We spent a lot time getting the steering feel just right,' says Mr Abrahamsson. 'The lowness of the car, and its wide stance, further boosts nimbleness. The wheels are "pulled" to the very extremities of the car. The wide track improves the car's balance and road holding and reduces roll. The long wheelbase contributes to the car's composure on both winding and fast roads, and improves handling predictability.

'It feels small and nimble,' says Mr Abrahamsson. 'Yet on the motorway, the Volvo C30 has great composure. It has a big car feel on long journeys. Though nimble, the C30 is in no way frenzied. That was one aspect of a sports car we did not want.'

It's comfortable, too. 'The compact format has not prevented us from integrating much of what is best in the larger Volvo cars,' says Mr Abrahamsson. 'Even the smallest Volvo should provide the right premium feel - in all respects. This applies not only to the appearance and the impression of quality, but just as much how it is to drive and use. Our intention is that the Volvo C30 should attract people who love driving.'

The fully independent suspension boosts handling but also aids ride comfort. The Volvo C30 uses spring MacPherson struts at the front, the geometry designed to provide quick and precise steering. The rear suspension is sophisticated multi-link. This fully independent set-up allows for a small degree of passive rear-wheel steer when cornering to boost stability and control. Anti-roll bars, to ensure flat and composed handling, are fitted front and rear.

Electronic controls improve safety and on-road dynamics

A range of electronic controls supplement the finely honed mechanical set-up. DSTC (Dynamic Stability and Traction Control) is standard on every Volvo C30, preventing wheel spin or skidding by either braking the wheel that has lost traction (up to 25mph) or, above 25mph, by reducing engine power. Sensors detect the onset of a skid. The appropriate wheel is then slowed to restore control. In every case, the driven front wheels get no more power than they can safely transfer to the road.

ABS (Anti-lock brakes) are standard on all Volvo C30s with EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution) and EBA (Electronic Brake Assist) to further ensure that the car has maximum composure in an emergency stop and comes to a halt in as short a distance as possible.

All Volvo C30s get front ventilated disc brakes and solid rear discs. The ventilation helps brake cooling, and improves braking performance at high-speed or during repeated stops. The higher performance models (T5 and D5) get 300mm front ventilated discs, while the other versions get 278mm ventilated front discs.

Excellent torsional rigidity improves handling and safety

The monocoque steel body of the Volvo C30 offers excellent torsional rigidity, crucial to good handling, agility, safety and longevity. This lack of 'flex' allows the car's advanced suspension to do its job properly and is a crucial factor in the car's precise handling and high-speed stability. The advanced body design includes the use of high-strength materials, including Ultra High Strength Boron steel. These not only improve rigidity, to the benefit of handling, they improve the strength of the car, with its associated safety and longevity benefits.


'A small Volvo is built to the same high standard as a big Volvo,' says Hakan Abrahamsson, C30 project director. 'The quality levels are the same. We have Volvo standards and we don't differentiate by size.'

Volvo is renowned for building the world's safest cars to exceptionally high quality levels. Quality means superb fit-and-finish and paint and trim materials. Volvo is renowned for making cars that last.

From the exquisite, free-floating centre instrument stack to the discreet 'theatre lighting', the Volvo C30 exudes a feeling of quality. The switchgear has a solid, chunky feel and the fascia is enveloped in soft-touch materials. The Volvo C30's cabin features materials that are hypoallergenic and free from any hazardous substances. They meet a strict international standard called Oeko-Tex. This also includes all materials that occupants are likely to touch, including exterior and interior door handles, upholsteries, plastics and ignition key.

'Although it feels nimble like a good small car, it also feels very solid, very stable, and very strong - like a good big car,' says Mr Abrahamsson.

Customers in the premium sector don't compromise. While happy to go small, they still expect a high level of standard equipment. The specifications for the Volvo C30 offer a rich level of equipment, much higher than for most of its other compact premium brand rivals.

The specification of every Volvo C30 includes alloy wheels, a Performance Sound Audio System with CD, Electronic Climate Control with Volvo's Air Quality System (AQS), power windows, DSTC (Dynamic Stability and Traction Control) and remote locking with alarm.

Excellent levels of equipment, even in the entry-level S and R-DESIGN version

The entry-level S model is well equipped and is only available with the new 1.6D DRIVe engine and the 1.6D DRIVE with Start/Stop. Standard equipment includes advanced air conditioning with ECC (Electronic Climate Control) and Volvo's Air Quality System (AQS) that continuously monitors the carbon monoxide level of the incoming air and closes the air vents when the level is too high. The system also includes an active charcoal filter to prevent dust, exhaust particles, pollen and unpleasant odours from entering the cabin through the ventilation system.

Other standard features include a 'Performance Sound' audio system with CD, six speakers and a 4x20W amplifier, remote locking with alarm, automatic headlamp levelling, 'home safe and approach' lighting, power windows, front and rear centre armrests, height adjustable driver and front passenger seats. Power adjustable and heated door mirrors, leather steering wheel, gear knob and handbrake lever and 16 inch alloy wheels also feature as standard.

Volvo never compromises on safety. Key safety equipment are standard on all Volvo C30 models, and include dual-stage driver and passenger airbags, Volvo's SIPS (side impact protection system), plus side airbags and IC (Inflatable Curtain) airbags, Volvo's patented WHIPS (whiplash protection system), ABS (anti-lock brakes) with EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution) and EBA (Electronic Brake Assist), and four three-point seatbelts with safety-boosting tensioners.

The R-DESIGN is a sporty version of the Volvo C30 and most closely resembles the Volvo C30 Design Concept. Exterior design includes an R-DESIGN badge in the front grille, colour coordinated bodykit(with the exception of Cosmic White which will be fitted with Java Pearl contrasting bodykit) rear roof spoiler, silver matt finish front grille and wing mirrors and five spoke 17" alloy wheels. Interior design consists of two-tone black and cream upholstery with contrast stitching and embossed R-DESIGN logo, leather trimmed steering wheel with R-DESIGN logo, an exclusive deco aluminium centre stack, blue instrument dials, sports pedals and tufted dark floormats with cream leather seams.

The R-DESIGN also features all the standard items found on the S model and adds front fog lights, Cruise Control and steering wheel remote audio controls.


The next trim level up from S and without the sports R-DESIGN bodykit is the SE. The SE has Volvo's information centre, Cruise Control, steering wheel remote audio controls, automatic rain sensor-activated windscreen wipers, kalix textile/T-Tec upholstery and aluminium trim as standard. 17inch alloy wheels and front fog lights complete the outside look.


This model combines the luxury features of the SE with the unique R-DESIGN interior and exterior design and detail with larger 18" alloy wheels.

SE Lux

The most luxurious Volvo C30 is the SE Lux model which is aimed at buyers seeking a comfort-biased vehicle. It does without the R-DESIGN bodykit and features heated front seats, leather upholstery, luxury floor mats and specially designed 17-inch wheels, power drivers seat with seat memory and power folding door mirrors with ground lights.

Option packs

In addition, three special packs bracket popular options, improving value for the customer. The Winter Pack includes heated front seats, headlamp cleaning and luxury floor mats. The Winter Pack with Dual Xenon Headlamps combines the winter pack with xenon headlamps. The Communications Pack has Satellite Navigation system (RTI) with RDS-TMC, Keyless Drive and Bluetooth® Hands Free system.

World class audio with MP3 compatibility

'A good audio system is a key requirement of our target customer,' says Hakan Abrahamsson, Volvo C30 project director. 'Accordingly, the Volvo C30 has one of the best factory-fitted audio systems available in the world. The cabin design, with its wide doors and deep side panels in the rear, provides an extra dimension for the sound, with extreme depth and powerful bass reproduction.'

There are three audio system levels to choose from:

  • Performance Sound CD, a 4x20W amplifier and six loudspeakers
  • High Performance Sound CD, 4x40W amplifier, eight loudspeakers
  • Dynaudio Premium Sound CD, digital class D amplifier with ICE Power technology from Alpine, an output of 5x130W, Dolby® Pro Logic II Surround, 10 loudspeakers from Danish audio manufacturer Dynaudio®

On the two highest levels, High Performance and Premium Sound, it is possible to play CDs with music in MP3 and WMA formats. This means that the CD changer can store hundreds of music tracks. An Aux input for connecting auxiliary equipment such as an MP3 player or I-Pod is standard across the range.

An adapter for connecting an i-Pod or a USB flash drive is available as an accessory. With the Volvo USB/i-Pod Music Player, it is easy to connect your own music player and to control it with the car's controls. Information is shown in the vehicle's audio system's display.


Volvos are renowned for their safety. This commitment is as old as the company itself. As Assar Gabrielsson, one of the founders of Volvo, declared: 'Cars are driven by people. The guiding principle behind everything we make at Volvo, therefore, is - and must remain - safety.' Volvo has been responsible for some of the most important safety innovations including the three-point safety belt (1959), front head restraints (1968), and the side airbag (1994).

As with all Volvos, the C30 was developed and extensively crash tested in the company's world renowned Safety Centre in Gothenburg, Sweden, to ensure class-leading safety.

The goal with the Volvo C30 was to match the safety of the larger (by 22cm, or 8.5 inches) Volvo S40, one of the world's safest small saloons. 'We were fortunate to use the entire front end structure of the Volvo S40 saloon and V50 Sportswagon,' says project director Hakan Abrahamsson. 'That ensured that all front-end safety issues were taken care of.'

More difficult to engineer was rear-end safety, as the Volvo C30 has a shorter tail than a saloon.

However, due to careful use of different grades of steel, including ultra-high strength steel, and a carefully designed deformation process, the Volvo C30 offers the same high level of rear-end protection. Rear side members are a crucial tool: they are designed to absorb most of the impact forces in the early stage of an accident.

As with all Volvos, the structure of the car is divided into different safety zones and different grades of steel are employed in different areas.

The low-speed deformation zones - the front and rear of the car - are capable of absorbing a low-speed accident without damaging the rest of the body structure. The crash boxes can then be replaced, reducing repair costs.

The high-speed deformation zones include lower and upper side members. Made from high strength steel, they are capable of absorbing very high levels of energy - as they must, as there is less space for progressive deformation before encroaching on the cabin. The upper side members provide significant protection in an accident, especially with larger vehicles.

A back-up zone, around the front pillars, is made from extra high-strength steel and acts as a safety barrier. This section is extremely rigid and prevents potentially dangerous objects, such as front wheels, from entering the cabin area. In addition, a rigid cross member connects the A-pillars and the lower side members. They form a rigid three-way attachment, which maintains the integrity of the cabin in a severe impact.

Compact transverse engines contribute to safety

Engines play a crucial role in crash protection. Transversely mounted engines have an inherent advantage over longitudinal, or fore-aft, units. They are less likely to enter the cabin area in a severe frontal impact, and the extra fore-aft space around the engine gives the crash protection systems more chance to work properly, particularly in deformation. In addition, Volvo's engines are especially compact. The five-cylinder engines are especially trim in exterior dimensions. In a frontal collision, the engine can be pushed rearward by 150mm before the block makes contact with the ultra-strong cross member near the cabin bulkhead. In such a collision, most parts - including the potentially dangerous battery - move to pre-destined positions.

Class leading impact protection

Apart from the enormously strong body, the Volvo C30 is a fitted with state-of-the-art safety equipment to protect all occupants. The safety features are all standard across the range, Volvo does not believe in two-tier safety standards.

The two front airbags are 'intelligent' in actuation, deployed in two-stages depending on the severity of the impact. This reduces the likelihood of facial injuries caused by the airbag hitting an occupant too hard. The side airbags play a crucial role in protecting chests and hips. On the Volvo C30, they are fitted in the outer edge of the front seats, not in the doors, so they're always securely positioned next to the occupant's side, whatever the position or angle of the seat.

Inflatable curtains sit in the headlining, protecting front and rear occupants. In a side impact, the curtains inflate in a few thousands of a second and remain inflated for about three seconds to provide maximum protection.

The airbags are complemented by three-point safety belts with tensioners, fitted to all four seats. The tensioners activate within a few thousands of a second after a collision and tighten the belt for maximum protection. The front seat belts then 'give' a little so that driver and front seat passenger are cushioned by the front airbags in a controlled way. A seat-belt reminder system is fitted to both front and rear seats.

The SIPS (Side Impact Protection System) prevents side intrusions by dissipating much of the side impact force through protective beams, the pillars, floor, roof, and other parts of the body.

WHIPS (Whiplash Protection System) prevents neck and back injuries in rear-end collisions, and is now standard on all Volvos. In a rear-end accident, the entire backrest of the front seats automatically moves rearwards to prevent neck and back strain.

Rounded edges reduce risks to pedestrians and cyclists

Volvos are not sharp edged cars; that's not the styling philosophy. This helps reduce injury to pedestrians and cyclists. Despite the more aggressive, sportier style of the Volvo C30, the front bumper is still gently rounded to provide maximum cushioning in the event of hitting a pedestrian or cyclist. The energy absorbent properties of the specially designed bumper also reduce leg injuries.

The deep chin spoiler is also a big safety asset. It ensures there is little likelihood of any unfortunate accident victim going under the car. Instead, a person would be thrown over the car - over the front bumper and bonnet, which are especially designed to inflict minimum injury.

Primary safety features prevent accidents

Volvo does its best to protect everyone in an accident. More important is to try to prevent the accident in the first place. The Volvo C30 is full of accident avoiding features. These include its agility, superb brakes, great steering and a host of electronic accident-avoidance features that stop skids and slides.

DSTC (Dynamic Stability and Traction Control) is standard on every Volvo model and prevents wheel spin or skids by either braking the wheel that has lost traction or by reducing engine power.

ABS (Anti-lock brakes) are standard. EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution) and EBA (Electronic Brake Assist) ensure the car stops in the shortest possible distance and with the maximum amount of control in emergencies.

The Volvo C30 also has excellent visibility, a real boon for safety. Rear, and rear three-quarter, visibility is helped by the deep glass tailgate and deep contoured side glass. In addition, the Volvo C30 can be fitted with BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) that uses cameras mounted in the side door mirrors to register if another vehicle is in the blind spot. A warning lamp near the mirror alerts the driver.

IDIS (Intelligent Driver Information System) is also standard. It continually monitors steering wheel movement, accelerator pedal movement, braking and indicator controls, and works out how preoccupied the driver is. If IDIS concludes that the driver is fully occupied, less important feedback - such as certain warning controls or incoming calls to the integrated telephone - will be delayed.


The Volvo C30's security systems were developed in association with the security experts at Thatcham. The C30 is fitted with a wide range of features designed to protect against burglary, theft or assault. An electronic immobiliser makes it impossible to start the car without the correct key. Deadlocks make it difficult to break in. The car is identified with 'anti-theft' markings, and the audio equipment is an integral part of the on-board electronics.

The sophisticated locking system can be individually programmed via the car's menu system so that a single 'blip' opens all the doors or just the driver's. The doors can be locked automatically as the car pulls away.

The 'home safe and approach' lighting system enables the driver to turn on inside lights, side marker lights and rear view mirror lights as he or she approaches. When leaving the car, the headlamps can light the path to the front door before automatically switching off.

The 'Volvo On Call' system is an advanced telematics programme that uses the integrated mobile phone and the built-in GPS satellite unit to ensure help is at hand. If an airbag is deployed in an accident, the Volvo On Call system automatically rings the emergency services. The satellite tells of your precise location even if the driver is unable to. Pressing the red SOS button on the integrated phone puts you straight through to the emergency services. If the car breaks down, the 'Volvo On call' button puts you straight through to a Volvo operator. Vehicle tracking is also available.


Volvo is passionately committed to protecting our environment. Along with safety, environmental protection is a cornerstone of the Volvo brand, commensurate with the company's philosophy to protect life.

The diesel engines have particulate filters (with the exception of 2.0D m), meet the latest Euro IV pollution regulations, and all feature state-of-the-art common rail direct injection for maximum efficiency.

Low CO2 emitting DRIVe range

Reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emission level offers a range of benefits, both for the environment and the buyer's pocket. The full DRIVe range now includes the XC60 crossover, V70 and XC70 premium estates and S80 executive saloon. The C30 SportsCoupe, S40 saloon and V50 Sportswagon all offer outstanding CO2 emissions of 104 g/km thanks to the introduction of an intelligent Start/Stop system.

'Clean Inside and Out' Environmental commitment

Volvo's 'Clean Inside and Out' commitment represents a holistic approach to the environmental impact of cars, including the ecological consequences of production, use and disposal of the vehicle.

Many people do not know that the air inside a car can be just as harmful as pollutants outside, or that the materials used in a car's interior can emit substances that can cause allergies and distress.

Every Volvo C30 benefits from Volvo's AQS (Air Quality System) which constantly monitors the cabin environment to minimise odours and pollutants entering. It uses an activated carbon filter to ensure that the air inside the car is always cleaner than that outside. The air-conditioning system also incorporates an air filter that prevents dust, pollen and exhaust gas particles entering the car.

The Volvo C30's cabin features materials that are hypoallergenic and free from any hazardous substances. They meet a strict international standard called Oeko-Tex. This also includes all materials that occupants are likely to touch, including exterior and interior door handles, upholsteries, plastics and ignition key.

Like all Volvos, the C30 comes with an Environmental Product Information (EPI) analysis, which provides the car buyer with an overview of the car's environmental impact throughout its lifecycle.

Ghent factory one of Europe's most environmentally friendly

The Volvo C30 is made at Volvo Car Corporation's Ghent factory in Belgium, alongside the Volvo S40, V50 Sportswagon and XC60. Recently, over 340 million euros (L230 million) have been invested to make the factory more efficient and as environmentally friendly as possible. In every case, substances and processes have been chosen to minimise ecological impact. These include CFC-free materials, water-borne paint and chromium-free body material pre-treatment.

All materials used in the manufacture of the Volvo C30 have been carefully chosen. Eighty-five percent of the car, by weight, can be recycled. Recycled wood fibre and felt are used in some interior trim, and all plastic components are specially marked to help recycling.