Looking at the sleek shape of the new C30, it's funny to think that Volvo was once known as the builder of boxy estates.
Now the Swedish firm's going after a new market – it's hoping that the stylish C30 will steal buyers away from cars such as the Mini and even the Audi TT, as well as more obvious rivals such as the Audi A3 and BMW 1-series.
Keen pricing gives it a good start – in basic 99bhp 1.6-litre S form, the C30 costs £14,750. That's £765 less than an A3 1.6 and £1245 less than a 116i.
There will be four trim levels (S, SE, SE Sport and SE Lux) and eight engines available; 1.6, 2.0 and 2.4-litre diesels; 1.6, 1.8 and 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrols, a 2.4-litre five-cylinder unit and a 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine, as used in the Ford Focus ST.
Standard kit is generous, with climate control standard, along with all the safety features you’d expect on a Volvo, including front, side and curtain airbags. SE trim adds bigger alloys, more kit and £1500 to the price. SE Sport and SE Lux are both an extra £1500 over the SE, with a slant on sporting looks and luxury respectively.
Volvo's especially proud of the SE Sport, which comes with a full body that makes it look almost exactly like the C30 concept car shown at Detroit in January, even down to the two-tone paintwork, which recalls the 1980s 480ES coupe.
The best news is that on first impressions the C30 is pretty good to drive - read Steve Cropley's Frist Drive here.
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