Unjustifiably overlooked: VOLVO C30 2.0D

author: AutoManiac date: 2016-05-16
Cars unjustifiably overlooked:
2009 VOLVO C30 2.0D

Back in the 80's it was virtually impossible to describe any Volvo car without using insanely high number of superlatives. The MOST safe, the MOST reliable, the MOST comfortable... Still, they were puzzled on how to reach to a young drivers' hearts, creating the MOST interesting vehicle out there. Volvo design at the time, or better to say lack of design, attracted people like pensioners, military members, librarians and, generally speaking, all the people youngsters avoid talking to. It seemed that Swedish designers were continuously finding their inspiration in a pack of cigars with a box of matches placed on top. They were so excited about it - they didn't change this approach for years. It was either that, or the lead designer passed away back in the 60's, and for some strange reason they kept him in a fridge, cancelling all his meetings under the excuse he was creatively enthusiastic.

And then in 1986 Volvo 480 happened. It was completely different, not only than anything else on this company's offer, but generally in the whole car market. Muscular sport line, high aerodynamics, 4 separated seats and low chassis profile - it all spelled success. Or at least that's what Volvo believed and hoped for. Unfortunately, at the time, driving a Volvo was not even nearly cool enough, so this fabulous vehicle never had it going, even though it absolutely deserved it, at least in my opinion. Roughly 75.000 of them were sold - way less than expected, thus making the company abandoning the segment. When the last Volvo 480 went off the production line, back in the 1995, it left a hole in the Volvo range, one that was gaping for more than a decade.

And then, when we all stopped hoping, the tiny C30 showed up, a reincarnation of the unique 480, ready to challenge Audi A3, Golf, Focus and rest of the ruling class of the European C segment. This car was actually part of the same family of models together with the S40 and the V50. They all shared same engines, complete front and a very interesting interior. What it didn't share, luckily, was their pretty conservative design of the exterior and that's exactly what made it so special. It was developed as a "Shooting Break", capable of carrying four adults with some modest luggage space of 250 liters, all seats up.

Its, relatively small, dimensions did not compromise its safety not even a bit, so it reached the top of its class when it comes to EuroNCAP result, but other agencies' results as well, primarily the American IIHS which assigned it the highest mark - "good".

For this occasion I chose to highlight the face-lifted variant powered by the Peugeot/Ford 2.0 HDi 136 PS engine which produces 340 Nm of torque at its peak. Face-lifted, because it moves further away from its close relatives, while the DW10 engine makes a good balance between performances and economy. This power-train is an evolution of the original Peugeot/Citroen HDi, with the difference in the camshaft that now held 16 instead of only 8 valves. A variable geometry turbo replaced the fixed one as well. All this brought a significant increase in power and torque, but enforced usage of all those hateful systems with a lot of D and F letters in their names.

For your information, those systems are the ones that break down frequently, but at least they're very expensive to repair. They became inevitable nowadays, especially with the large diesel power-trains such as this one, and the C30 is no exception there. If you're bothered with that and you travel less than 15.000 kilometers per year it is worth considering a 2.0 petrol version which, thanks to the excellent Mazda engine powering it, proved extremely reliable, strong enough but a bit thirsty.

If still, after all that has been said, you need some more reasons to buy one of those rare specimens of an excellent all-rounder, here come the three most important ones:

1. That vampire from "Twilight Saga" drove it
Maybe that movie is pure rubbish, but remember how all the girls went nuts for that anemic guy with the suspicious looking dark circles under his eyes. OK, you might not own a glass house in the middle of a forest, pointed fangs and pale tan as if you slept in a water mill, but what you actually could have is - a Volvo C30! Not that he was driving a 2.0 diesel, but nevertheless.

2. It's a Volvo that doesn't look like a Volvo
That's about the closest it gets when describing my perfect car! Just imagine, you get all the quality, safety and comfort of a Volvo, but you are not invited to a chess game automatically when you pull over next to a park. This car is, when you think about it, quick enough, sporty enough and just as impractical to make a perfect choice for your upcoming middle age crisis.

3. It's an important piece of Swedish car maker's history
Considering that barely 200.000 of those went off the production line, you will be in possession of a relatively rare car which, as an interesting old-timer, will be getting more and more expensive by time. That way you actually invest safely. When I say safely, I mean it's never going to be stolen, because - what the hell would thieves do with it?!

So what exactly would be the conclusion here? Well, let's just say that things sometimes should be observed from another, fresh perspective. Some cars that might be less represented should also be given a chance, especially when they come with a fair price. Besides, if Volvo were brave enough to unfreeze their lead designer so that they could, finally, present an attractive car intended for young people and us who feel young, then why can't you wash in flour, put on your artificial fangs and start out your very own C30 adventure.
Engine info ( issues & breakdowns )
Peugeot / Ford

2.0 DW10 BTED4 / RHR

4 - Inline
16, 4 p/ cylinder
fuel type:
Vehicle information - Volvo C30
91% score
2009. - 2013.
body style:
3 door
251 - 894
fuel tank:


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