Swede needs seasoning

Volvo’s C70 has been around so long it’s easy to forget that it’s still in production, yet in 2003 the Swedes shifted more drop-tops than ever. And with the all-new folding hardtop C70 not due until next autumn, Volvo is giving the ageing range a boost with the Collection special edition.

Starting at £26,578 (£1700 over a basic 2.0T), the Collection adds new 17in alloys, metallic paint, heated, soft-leather seats and aluminium or carbonfibre inlays. Our T5 test car, complete with £1100 auto ’box and £900 Convenience Pack (uprated sound system, auto-dim rear-view mirror, computer) weighed in at £31,978.

That’s enough to buy you an Audi A4 3.0 V6 Quattro Sport – with £1263 change – and is only £572 shy of a BMW 330 Ci SE. Add group 18 insurance, 35 per cent company car tax and 25.9mpg, and you’re looking at a costly package that, quite frankly, isn’t good enough.

That silhouette has been around since the now-defunct coupé’s 1997 launch but it’s still pretty and, being based on the V70 platform, there’s tonnes of space inside. Ergonomics are good, too, with superb seats and clear switchgear. But that ugly dash comes from the last-generation V70 and rearward visibility is poor.

Our test car’s T5 spec means 245bhp, so it’s very quick, but there is an unhealthy dose of torquesteer and little action before 3500rpm. Worse, the firm ride sends shudders through the structure in an exemplary display of old-school scuttle-shake, and bumps kick back through the otherwise inert steering.

With only 300 Collections available this year, Volvo shouldn’t struggle to sell them to those who want a safe, roomy cabrio. But we’d make sure it’s a 2.0T manual before donning the Ray Bans.

Alastair Clements

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