From £14,365
R-Design option is a good addition, but the C30 is still too expensive

Our Verdict

Volvo C30 2007-2012
The C30's styling is as cutting edge as it comes

The C30 2.0D disappoints, but 1.6D is very competitive. Nice, but flawed

  • First Drive

    Volvo C30 1.6D DRIVe

    Take the C30 at its actual monetary value and it’s harder to make a more convincing case
  • First Drive

    Volvo C30 Polestar Concept

    Volvo builds a Ford Focus RS beater - but it's only a concept for now

What is it?

The new R-Design Volvo C30. Classified as an option rather than a trim level, adding R-Design will cost an extra £500 and gets you a host of design tweaks, the most significant of which is the two-tone leather interior and external body kit. The R-design model we're testing is the C30 T5 SE Sport.

What's it like?

The R-Design kit itself is a worthwhile option if you want your C30 to look particularly sporting inside and out. As well as the R-Design badges, you get a rear roof spoiler to match your colour-coded body kit, and on the lower SE trim level you get unique 17-inch alloys, although the SE Sport model tested here keeps the 18-inch design that is standard with the trim level.

It comes as no surprise that this engine - also used in Ford's Focus ST - mated to a six-speed gearbox gives the C30 considerable pace, albeit without the involving dynamics of the Ford.

The cabin is quiet, the engine refined and the interior pleasant – especially with the black and cream leather and subtle console design you get with the R-Design option breaking up the greys of the dashboard.

But even with such decent motorway manners and the draw of the C30's attractive styling and premium feel, there is no getting over the fact that this model comes at a price it cannot justify.

Our test car was fitted with £3700 of options, including the £2150 'communications pack' that accounts for sat-nav and telephone integration, and the excellent Blind Spot Information System worth £650.

At the list price of £23,495, the T5 SE Sport R-Design seems lacking in equipment and dynamics next to its rivals, but with the options that everyone will want it competes in price with the BMW 130i and Audi S3, and it simply isn't as good.

Should I buy one?

Yes, absolutely. But only if you're looking on the used market in 2010, when the range-topping C30 will likely be a sub-£12k purchase and a better ownership proposition in every respect.

Join the debate

Comments
4

15 July 2008

Does anyone have one of these?? would like to know what you think?

15 July 2008

I have the V50 version in white - and I love it.

4 April 2009

[quote albertz33]Does anyone have one of these?? would like to know what you think?[/quote]

I would like to know as well does anyone own this car and what is it like to live with, in paticular what is the 1.6D R Design model like There are some great offers for that car at the moment any info would be great?

8 October 2013

Even in 2013, this is yet the Volvo model I like more! It is so beautiful that I could live inside my car!

Life is too good to care about that!

-Fernando da Cunha Sterea

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Audi S5 Sportback
    First Drive
    19 January 2017
    The Audi S5 Sportback is more bruising GT than practical sports car, but it makes sense for those wanting a fast executive saloon in coupé get-up
  • First Drive
    18 January 2017
    Despite receiving a cosmetic and mechanical refresh, Lexus's compact executive saloon still fails to provide much driving involvement
  • 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 5h review
    First Drive
    18 January 2017
    Big-selling plug-in SUV gets a light refresh in the face of new challengers to offer decent economy but only average driving dynamics
  • Mini Countryman Cooper S
    First Drive
    18 January 2017
    All-new bigger Mini continues to make a curious, flawed crossover hatchback, though it’s more compelling to drive than some and more practical than it used to be
  • Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid
    First Drive
    17 January 2017
    Plug-in petrol-electric Panamera makes a better case than ever to supplant the diesel best seller, but it still appeals more to the head than the heart