Volvo’s first-ever hot hatch
24 July 2006

This is the new Volvo C30, a rival for the Audi A3 and BMW 1-series that is to go on sale early next year.

The new C30 is the first step in Volvo’s attempt to ditch its safe and sensible image for good. It’s not just the styling that is radical: Volvo is going for the hot hatch market as well, with a 217bhp turbocharged version to tackle the likes of the VW Golf GTi and Ford Focus ST. This should also help Volvo to attract the younger buyers it wants.

The C30’s engine range will include the five-cylinder turbocharged unit from the S40 and V50 - also used in the Focus ST - slightly detuned to 217bhp, which will create the first overtly sporting Volvo hatchback since the 480ES of 1986. There will also be a 1.6-litre petrol producing 99bhp and a 1.6-litre diesel with 107bhp. The most powerful diesel will be a 178bhp five-cylinder unit.

Inside, most of the dashboard is lifted from the S40 saloon and incorporates that car’s thin “floating” centre console. The C30 is a four-seater, with the two rear seats slightly inset to put passengers closer to the centre of the car, giving them better forward visibility. Volvo is claiming “generous” leg- and headroom in the rear. Options will include a 10-speaker hi-fi and Volvo’s Blind Spot Information system. Side airbags will be standard.

Volvo is determined to make the C30 cheaper than its rivals, and prices will start from below £15,000. The Swedish firm hopes to sell 65,000 C30s each year as part of its drive to reach sales of 600,000 annually.

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