From £29,035
Refreshed C70 looks good but is dull to drive

Our Verdict

Volvo C70 2006-2013
The C70 is now offered as a single copy style, combining the benefits of the old C70 coupe and cabriolet

The Volvo C70 is a sleek, high-class coupe cabriolet with average handling

  • First Drive

    Volvo C70 D5 SE Lux Premium

    Refreshed C70 looks good but is dull to drive
  • First Drive

    Volvo C70 D5 SE Lux

    The C70 perhaps makes most sense with the D5 diesel, which admirably suits its cruising prowess - except when you need to nip into a gap in traffic.

What is it?

The thoroughly refreshed version of Volvo’s four-year old four-seat, rigid roof convertible. Taking a lead from the new S60 saloon, the C70 gets a completely re-styled nose and tail and detail updates including LED rear light clusters. There’s no doubt that the new front end is a stylistic advance.

This model is pretty much the top of the diesel-engined C70 range. It’s powered by a 176bhp five-cylinder turbodiesel engine driving a six-speed manual ‘box.

SE Lux trim brings the owner 17-inch wheels, auto-folding mirrors, aluminium trim, leather upholstery, an electric driver’s seat, active headlights and, thanks to the Premium upgrade, sat-nav.

What’s it like?

Some way short of amazing, unfortunately. The biggest problem with this particular model is that it is powered by Volvo’s old five-pot diesel, which is now well off the pace thanks to it’s sluggish throttle response and reluctance to rev freely.

Combine this with a six-speed manual shifter and you end up with a car feels much more like rep mobile than it does a luxury conveyance.

The chassis isn’t much better. The C70 is a weighty machine and the suspension set-up struggles to deliver much in the way of delicacy or driver enjoyment.

On the cratered A23, the C70 clumped in and out of potholes and showed little enthusiasm for the sweeping bends it was shown. It was dull in nearly every way.

However, it’s nicely made, quiet enough and feels decently upmarket, but this drive train is deeply unsuited to the car. The C70 will never enthuse keen drivers, but a combination of a tweaked chassis and the punchy five-cylinder T5 petrol engine hooked up to an automatic transmission might well liberate the C70’s inner Californian cruiser.

Should I buy one?

Well, if you do, you’ll end up with a relatively exclusive car. Just 10,792 C70s were sold globally last year, down 25 per cent on the only partly credit-crunched 2008.

The main problem with the C70 is that while – with the right engine and transmission - it could make for a perfectly useable cruiser, it falls between two the two main convertible markets. This range-topper is slightly more expensive than an entry-level Audi A5 and almost as expensive as BMW 3-series.

Its most direct rival, the VW Eos, is not only a better car but also significantly cheaper.

 

Join the debate

Comments
19

25 March 2010

Hmmm, I'm not a fan of the new "Oh! I put the front of the car too close to the fire" look for Volvos.

I welcome the fact that there is something a bit left field in the premium market.

Where has all Japanese design went to?

25 March 2010

another brown car. brown is back in fashion. excellent colour for resale value.

www.KOOOLcr.com

 

25 March 2010

Yet another yawningly predictable Autocar review of a Volvo. Not everyone wants the ostentatiousness of a Merc, the aggression of a BM or the naff coolness of an Audi.

jer

25 March 2010

Whilst I trust Autocars reviews and don't drive a Volvo the response in this magazine is like a Fox News presenter on the mention of the word liberal. Can the car be that bad? all diesels have the characteristics described.

25 March 2010

Sounds like an awesome car, but I'm not a big fan of the C70. I have a V70, which I love. Although I like my moon roof, I don't care for convertibles--I'm concerned about the crash ratings safety features!

psychology degree
San Antonio Industrial Space

25 March 2010

[quote jer]Can the car be that bad? all diesels have the characteristics described.[/quote] This is not a good engine. As far as the today's diesel engines go, it's way off the pace, which is why Volvo has introduced the new-generation five-pot. This unit has no place in a car of this type. Maybe we should try the C70 again, this time with a decent petrol motor.

25 March 2010

In the P2 generation cars (S60/V70/S80/XC90) I've always found the D5 engine to be smooth, refined and have a distinctive 5 pot 'warble'. I never found it sounding the slightest bit agricultural, unlike say a VW PD engine.

Would you prefer if they fitted some dull 2.2 litre Ford/PSA engine instead, further diluting the Volvo's charachter?

25 March 2010

I really like the look of it, but the idea of wanting a convertible diesel is just daft to me. Id prefer a smaller turbo engine than a big diesel one.These Volvos are best suited to automatics and sweet silky sounding petrol engines

25 March 2010

In the test I said

'The biggest problem with this particular model is that it is powered by Volvo’s old five-pot diesel, which is now well off the pace thanks to it’s sluggish throttle response and reluctance to rev freely.'

I didn't say it was agricultural. We ran an XC60 for some time with this engine and found the new D5 engine to be a considerable improvement. The VW PD was agricultural. Which is why they replaced it with the new, and very impressive, CR engine.

Quite why the C70 is available with the old D5 is beyond me. As is the decision of the Volvo press office to have this car on it fleet. I cannot believe potential C70 buyers want a large diesel engine with a manual box...

I'm sure the T5 petrol C70 is a much better car.

25 March 2010

[quote HiltonH]I didn't say it was agricultural.[/quote]

You didn't, but a lot of people do.

I know people hark on about diesels being superior to petrols these days, but I think they should be banned from being fitted to any convertible or sports car.

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