The Volvo C70 was one of the first convertibles with a folding hard top when it hit the market in 2006. The C70 hasn’t seen many upgrades or innovations since then, but its clean lines and minimalist interior ensure that it will continue to age gracefully. Mechanically, the C70 uses the same 227-hp turbocharged five-cylinder found in the C30 hatchback, and here it is paired only with a five-speed automatic transmission (the six-speed manual was dropped a couple of years). Since the C70 is really more a cruiser than a hard charger, we recommend the standard seventeen-inch wheels over upgrading to the optional eighteens and their more aggressive 40-series tires, because the larger wheel and tire package diminishes ride comfort while doing little to increase handling prowess. That said, the C70 is a convertible that can be used year-round. The hard top cuts trunk space drastically when it’s lowered, but when it’s in place, it offers the advantages of better sound and weather insulation along with greater security. Although it doesn’t have the City Safety auto-braking system, the C70 still comes standard with a raft of features that help uphold Volvo’s reputation for building some of the safest cars on the road.
Lexus IS C
new for 2013
New are standard automatic windshield wipers and headlight washers. The $3900 Inscription Package — with 23 extra horsepower and 37 more lb-ft of torque — gains a rear spoiler. Full synthetic motor oil increases service intervals to 10,000 miles or 12 months.
Front, side, and side curtain air bags; ABS; traction and stability control; rollover protection; and a tire-pressure monitoring system are standard. Blind-spot monitoring is optional.
Inexpensive compared with the competition
Complicated center stack
Base Price Range: $41,885–$45,685
TRIM LEVELS: T5, T5 Premier Plus, T5 Platinum
BODY STYLE: Convertible, 4-passenger
ENGINE: 2.5L turbo I-5, 227/250 hp, 236/273 lb-ft
TRANSMISSION: 5-speed automatic
PASSENGER VOLUME: 84.1 cu ft
CARGO SPACE: (top up/down) 12.8/6.0 cu ft