Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


MOTORNET: Baby Swede

Baby Swede

SCOOP MOTORNET with Karl Ferguson
Images by Neil Mackenzie -

A cynic might suggest that a red Volvo is a good way to get attention for a new model, but believe it or not, Volvo have a tradition of producing red cars, especially when it comes to the smaller vehicles of the range. In fact, I distinctly remember driving both a red 360GLT and 440, so it came as no surprise that the spiritual successor to both these models, the C30, carries on the tradition.

Click to enlarge

Fortunately, the C30 is worthy of more than a discussion about its colour palette. The new range of ‘C’ cars may have officially been launched in New Zealand over a year ago, but you wouldn’t have guessed that based on the attention it attracted it literally turned heads. And so it might it’s certainly the most unusual Volvo to hit our shores of late, its high sides, and typically Volvo nose giving way to a tapered rear and distinctive, sloping roofline incorporating a large glass tailgate. It works from most angles, though can look a little clunky from the rear three quarter view in my opinion. I like it even so, and it makes a very strong statement when compared to the ubiquitous hatches that seem to dominate our roads.

Neither is the C30 just a misguided design exercise by Volvo that made it to production. It might only sport two doors, but it’s a genuine four seater, with excellent rear access and plenty of head and leg-room once you get there. The boot appears slightly smaller than the average hatch, but with the seats laid flat, the little C30 presents as a genuine load carrier, while the centre armrest can also be lowered to allow portal access for oversized or long items.

The interior is also typically Volvo no bad thing. The now trademark floating centre console makes an appearance while the grey cloth interior is attractive if not quite as inspiring as the exterior design. The overall minimalist tone is lifted by alloy style inserts on the doors and centre console, while the rest of the cabin impresses thanks to its strong build quality and generally high calibre materials.

Click to enlarge

The test car the C30 S is the entry level vehicle of the range, and joins the more powerful turbocharged T5. Sans turbocharger, it still sports the T5’s quirky, inline five cylinder motor, including the distinctive engine note that once opened up, just adds to the little Volvo’s charm. With a capacity just shy of 2.5 litres, the C30 makes an honest 125kWs, and 230Nm of torque, and while not fast it manages the 0-100km/h sprint in 9.84 seconds it’s a solid powerplant.

Sadly, while the engine is happy to rev, it really needs to be worked to feel sporty. Frankly, the standard and somewhat lethargic five-speed transmission doesn’t help matters and frequent use of the manual mode is required to get the best from what the otherwise spirited C30 has to offer.

Click to enlarge

On the road, the C30 displays ride characteristics of a much larger car, soaking up bumps and generally making an excellent fist of negotiating poor quality road surfaces. Fortunately, this is not at the expense of handling characteristics. The Volvo turns in well, gripping consistently, and feels pretty well sorted, though push the performance envelope and the C30 will revert to type manageable but less than desirable understeer.

Standard equipment is good and includes 16” alloy wheels, dual zone climate change, cruise control, a trip computer and a lengthy list of standard safety features as you might expect from Volvo. It misses out on the T5’s bigger wheels and standard leather upholstery, but for the most part, punters won’t be missing any creature comforts.

Click to enlarge

At $44,990, the C30 slips neatly into the pricing pool of German and French euro-chic hatches and while not a price leader, it potentially offers greater engine capacity (if not necessarily performance) over its main rivals. More importantly, the Volvo offers a point of difference. The distinctive styling may not appeal to all while the three door arrangement could also limit appeal if first impressions are any guide, there are plenty of punters who like the idea of not just a red Volvo, but a head turner to boot.


© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On The Media Collusion With National’s Attack Lines

For most of the past week, any consumer of this country’s management of Covid-19 would think New Zealand was actually Brazil, or Texas. The media language has been full of claims of “botches” at the border, and laxness and inexcusable errors ... More>>

Gregor Thompson: Don’t Be Too Pessimistic About New Zealand’s Future.

With the first hurdle hopped our Government will be turning its attention to trying to soften the economic damage this pandemic has on our little archipelago. More>>

Eric Zuesse: U.S. Empire: Biden And Kerry Gave Orders To Ukraine’s President

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at Strategic Culture On May 19th, an implicit international political warning was issued, but it wasn’t issued between countries; it was issued between allied versus opposed factions within each of two countries: U.S. and Ukraine. ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Budget Cockups In The Time Of Coronavirus: Reporting Errors And Australia’s JobKeeper Scheme

Hell has, in its raging fires, ringside seats for those who like their spreadsheets. The seating, already peopled by those from human resources, white collar criminals and accountants, becomes toastier for those who make errors with those spreadsheets. ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Altars Of Hypocrisy: George Floyd, Protest And Black Face

Be wary what you protest about. The modern moral constabulary are out, and they are assisted by their Silicon Valley friends in the Social Media club. Should you dare take a stand on anything, especially in a dramatic way, you will be found out ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Welcome Deaths: Coronavirus And The Open Plan Office

For anybody familiar with that gruesome manifestation of the modern work place, namely the open plan office, the advent of coronavirus might be something of a relief. The prospects for infection in such spaces is simply too great. You are at risk from ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Why Thinking Makes It So: Donald Trump’s Obamagate Fixation

The “gate” suffix has been wearing thin since the break-in scandal that gave it its birth. Since Watergate, virtually anything dubious and suggestive, and much more besides, is suffixed. Which brings us to the issue of President Donald Trump’s ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Brutal Choices: Anders Tegnell And Sweden’s Herd Immunity Goal

If the title of epidemiological czar were to be created, its first occupant would have to be Sweden’s Anders Tegnell. He has held sway in the face of sceptics and concern that his “herd immunity” approach to COVID-19 is a dangerous, and breathtakingly ... More>>