"Exciting-Looking Volvo" No Longer an Oxymoron
I caught a glimpse of the new Volvo C30 last night, and it is a head-turner. The car was sitting in front of a restaurant here in Southern California. The Volvo had "Vehicle Mfr." license plates from New Jersey, so I suspect that it was sent out here by Volvo North America for promotional purposes, such as test drives and reviews by automotive journalists.
The Volvo C30 successfully harks back to classic Volvo models, especially the P1800ES from the early 1970s. Like the P1800ES, the C70 has a distinctive glass hatchback. It also sits on muscular haunches (meaning that the fenders, especially in the rear, flare out from the passenger compartment). The C30 is built on a compact platform. With its 103.9 inch wheelbase and 167.4 inch overall length, the C30 is only a couple of inches longer than the Volkswagen GTI. In addition to its glass hatchback, the Volvo has two doors and two individual rear seats that fold forward to maximize cargo space. With the rear seats upright and in place, however, storage space is rather limited.
Despite its racy looks, according to at least one review, the C30 does not perform like a true sports car. Rather "the handling falls short of being truly entertaining." Hopefully, higher-performance models will follow soon. Nevertheless, this new Volvo boasts a very modern, very good-looking design, and is such a departure for Volvo (in the U.S., at least) that few people who approach the car without seeing the manufacturer's badge will likely know at first glance that it is even a Volvo. With demand for this beauty likely to be hot, especially among a younger demographic, it is doubtful that Volvo executives will regard this confusion as a problem.