Currently reading: History of the Volvo C30: picture special
As the axe falls on Volvo's quirky C30 hatch, we take a look back at the model through the years
Autocar
News
2 mins read
8 June 2013

The Volvo C30 is to be axed following a lifespan of just seven years, and the last ever car is bound for Britain Volvo announced earlier this week.

First glimpsed as the SCC Concept at the 2001 Detroit Auto Show and initially slated for production in 2002, it was finally revealed in production spec at the 2006 Paris Motor Show.

The C30 was an interesting alternative to mainstream hatchbacks and coupés, and instantly hailed as the spiritual successor to the decidedly left-field 480 coupé. Volvo positioned it perfectly as a niche, upmarket product that drivers wanted to be seen in - even if it failed to be as practical and user-friendly as it should have been.

With the more recent launches of sporting coupé hatches including the Vauxhall Astra GTC, Renault Mégane coupé and Volkswagen Scirocco, not even its looks - little changed from the SCC Concept - could fully compensate for a lack of dynamic sparkle. 

It went on to sport a huge range of engines, including frugal diesel and petrol units. The T5’s 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged engine found service in the Mk2 Ford Focus ST.

In 2010 the C30 had a mid-life facelift, as Volvo passed from Ford ownership to Chinese car maker Geely for £1.17billion. The refresh brought the car into a new styling direction, with Volvo’s boxy geometry being replaced with a more modern, smoother face. A host of new technologies also featured on the facelifted C30, including SMS messaging technology and stop-start engines. 

Perhaps the most alluring model in the line-up was Volvo’s striking Polestar C30. The C30 Polestar Concept of 2010 was a hot variant, boasting 400bhp from an upgraded 2.5-litre T5 engine and a posted a blistering 0-62mph time of 4.6 seconds. It was instantly recognisable from its aggressive aerodynamic styling and electric blue paintwork. 

Reaching production in 2012, albeit with a less potent 250bhp, the C30 Polestar was critically acclaimed; many saying that using Volvo’s Polestar racing arm could have been the adrenaline boost Volvo needed to make the brand more appealing. It fielded cars in the World Touring Car Championship, and took the team and driver's titles in 2009 and 2010 in the Swedish series.

Low sales figures prompted Volvo to swing the axe on the C30, and it is still not known as to whether the C30 will be directly replaced, with Volvo choosing to focus on its more conventional models to strengthen the company's foothold on the premium market. 

Volvo is offering fans the chance to win the last ever C30 built. Visit lasteverc30.co.uk for more details.

Jimi Beckwith

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sirwiggum 10 June 2013

S40

The S40, of which the C30 is a hatchback variant, was also axed. The effective replacement is the V40, which could also be the 5 door C30, and might appeal to ex- Saab 900 buyers...

Suzuki QT 9 June 2013

Hmmm ...

The C30 was only half a decent car (literally) - the front was good but the rear was terrible ... Only useful for a single person with a carrier bag of groceries ... I only hope Geely don't copy their SAIC Motor cousins and slap the 'Volvo' name onto some tacky creation as its replacement ...

Citytiger 9 June 2013

Suzuki QT wrote: I only hope

Suzuki QT wrote:

I only hope Geely don't copy their SAIC Motor cousins and slap the 'Volvo' name onto some tacky creation as its replacement ...

Somehow I dont think they will, if anything given the new V40, they will go the opposite route and try to push slightly further upmarket, the future could be very bright if the rumours coming out of Sweden are to be believed, the next generation of Volvos with all new engines and platforms will be a revelation, and they being developed in conjunction with Polestar to ensure they perform and handle correctly, and the relative success of the V60 plug in could see them establishing a genuine eco reptation if the prices are kept under control.

rogerhudson 8 June 2013

volvo c30

Far from being the 'spiritual successor to the 480 (whatever that is?, oh! the reworked 240) the are is a modern take on the 1800ES, wern't they made by Pressed Steel bodyworks?

Time for Volvo to really get their thinking caps on and come up with something better than the Ford influenced bland-mobiles.

Citytiger 8 June 2013

rogerhudson wrote: Far from

rogerhudson wrote:

Far from being the 'spiritual successor to the 480 (whatever that is?, oh! the reworked 240) the are is a modern take on the 1800ES, wern't they made by Pressed Steel bodyworks?

Time for Volvo to really get their thinking caps on and come up with something better than the Ford influenced bland-mobiles.

If you dont know what a 480 is your not really in a position to comment, and whilst having similar rear end styling to the 1800, it is nothing like it, as for bland perhaps you are confusing Volvo with VW, Audi, Toyota or Honda.