Sedans & Coupes

The Volvo C30 Is the Hot Hatch That You Never Knew Existed

When was the last time that you thought of a Volvo as being “sporty?” Probably never, considering Volvo’s current lineup is filled with SUVs and wagons. However, there was one car that we could consider one of the sportiest cars that Volvo ever produced. In fact, we could even call it a “hot hatch.” That car was the Volvo C30.

The Volvo C30 was a good-looking throwback

No, it wasn’t as athletic as the Volkswagen GTI or a burnout and torque-steer machine like the Mazdaspeed3 at the time, but the Volvo C30 was a pretty avid performer nonetheless. The C30 was in production in the U.S. from 2008 to 2013 and it was actually a bit of a throwback to the old Volvo 1800ES from the 70s, as they had the same rear window design. Sharing features with its S40 and C70 stablemates, the Volvo C30 was also the first compact hatchback to be produced by the brand. So it was definitely something special when it came out.

However, the Volvo C30 was actually much more of a subdued performer than the rest of rivals and like the quintessential “hot girl” in high school, it mainly got by on its looks. Performance aside, Volvo did a fantastic job when it came to designing the C30 as it truly looks unique and has a timeless design compared to most other hatchbacks at the time.

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Volvo C30 | Volvo

The Volvo C30 was also a subdued performer

The Volvo C30 was powered by a 2.5-liter, five-cylinder engine that produced 227 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque, which was good for 0 to 60 sprints in about 6.6 seconds. However, those looking for an extra kick could opt for the rare Polestar C30 that was made available in 2013. The Polestar C30 was the higher performance version that was lower, meaner, and bluer than the regular C30, and it pushed out 250 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. However, only 250 units were ever sold in the U.S., so it was pretty hard to get ahold of one.

It was still comfortable, nonetheless

OK, so the Volvo C30 wasn’t exactly the hottest hatch of all time. Aside from its handsome exterior, the interior was exuded a somewhat luxurious, avant-garde flare. Leather seats were available and the layout was very minimalistic. Volvo gave the car a very futuristic flair by incorporating a “waterfall” center console that had an opening behind it, which made it look almost like concept car-like. But things got a little more interesting with one look in the backseat area. Instead of a three-seat bench, Volvo decided to get crafty and install two bucket seats. And while it was considered a weird move at the time because other hatchbacks could accommodate five people, the seats were actually fairly comfortable and it’s not like anyone actually sits in the middle seat anyway.

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Volvo C30 | Volvo

The C30 makes for a great small-car runabout

Like it or not, the Volvo C30 was actually a solid daily driver. While it didn’t exactly blow the doors off its competitors, it sure outclassed them with its attractive sheet metal. It was eventually discontinued in 2013 due to decreasing sales and the brand wanting to go in a different direction. But in case you happen to find yourself shopping for a small car that withstands the time, then you can expect to find a C30 for around $10,000 or less in today’s used market. However, just remember that it’s sporty, but only slightly so.