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Volvo C30

Swedish style in a compact package.

The C30 now faces increasing competition from other compact luxury cars, but it still has the upper hand when it comes to looks with its unique glass liftgate, long side glass, and chopped tail. Even though it is 8.4 inches shorter, the C30 is built on the same platform and shares a wheelbase with the S40 sedan (no longer available in the United States), so it feels quite roomy inside. The rear buckets — there is seating only for four — are spacious enough to comfortably accommodate two adults. Despite the C30’s diminutive overall footprint, there is a reasonable amount of cargo space, thanks to the hatchback body style. The C30’s interior is a fine example of Scandinavian design. Its center stack is clean and symmetrical, although there are too many buttons of the same size. The 227-hp turbo-charged five-cylinder is reasonably engaging, but the driving experience leans more to the side of luxury than do some of the C30’s more enthusiast-oriented competitors, such as the Volkswagen GTI and the Mini Cooper. Shoppers looking for more substance with their style should opt for the optional Polestar upgrade that nets 23 extra horsepower. The C30 is the only car in its class to offer a blind-spot monitoring system, which shouldn’t be a surprise, since safety has long been a hallmark of the Swedish automaker.

COMPETITORS

Audi A3

Mini Cooper

Volkswagen GTI

new for 2013

Automatic windshield wipers and headlight washers are standard for 2013. A new Premier trim level includes a sunroof, a power driver’s seat with memory, a load cover, and an auto-dimming mirror. Premier Plus gains Keyless Drive and xenon headlights. The limited-edition Polestar bumps the turbo’s output to 250 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. Only 250 will be produced.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT

Front, side, and side curtain air bags; ABS; and traction and stability control are standard. A blind-spot monitoring system is optional.

High Mileage

MPG

CITY 21

HWY 29–30

PRO

Cool exterior design

Sprightly powerplant

Roomy rear seats

CON

Detached driving experience

Hard-to-use center stack

Sluggish navigation system

Base Price Range: $26,395–$33,745

SPECIFICATIONS

DRIVE: Front-wheel

TRIM LEVELS: T5, T5 Premier, T5 Premier Plus, T5 Platinum, T5 R-Design, T5 R-Design Premier, T5 R-Design Premier Plus, T5 R-Design Platinum, Polestar

BODY STYLE: Hatchback, 4-passenger

ENGINE: 2.5L turbo I-5, 227/250 hp, 236/273 lb-ft

TRANSMISSIONS: 6-speed manual, 5-speed automatic

PASSENGER VOLUME: 88.0 cu ft

CARGO SPACE: (rear seats up/down) 15.3/33.4 cu ft

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