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.