Our Fleet Test Drive: Volvo C30 - 1st Report
26 November 2007
Even south London's hoodies have taken a shine to how our new Volvo's exterior
I have to confess to being a big fan of the Volvo C30 since I first saw the car on a motor show stand in 2006.
It's certainly the first Volvo that could appeal to someone like me - still in their 20s (just) with no kids. Our car's even grabbed some early affection from south London hoodies (and I quote directly) - it's a "cool Volvo man, that car is sick".
The debate about how to spec our car raged long and hard. The easy bit was picking a colour. From the moment Volvo announced the C30 would be available in the Cosmic White pearl with Java pearl bodykit - the stunning colour of the show car that first attracted me - that was the one to have.
On paper, the 2.0-litre diesel was also a no-brainer. For CO2 reasons a diesel was always going to be chosen over petrol, and the 2.4 D5, as well as being a little extravagant for a car of this size, only comes with a CO2-adding auto gearbox. Having sampled the smaller 109PS 1.6-litre diesel option, we were impressed, but in the end plumped for the extra poke of the 136PS 2.0.
We opted for the R-design pack because the bespoke bodykit makes the car look even more sporting, especially the aggressive spoiler at the front. The extra £2000 over an SE model includes stunning alloys  (though it's a matter of time before someone ruins them on a kerb), the bodykit, off-black and cream interior, aluminium pedals and several fairly discreet badges inside and out. The rear spoiler is especially needed - cars without it look sober and positively weedy by comparison.
Ticking boxes from the options list has added a further £4500 to the price from its original £21,105 P11D. Volvo has historically offered one of the best satnav systems  on the market so we went excessive and spent the £2150 on the communications pack that also includes phone system, if you can be bothered to remove your Sim card and slot it into the holder located in the glovebox. And as it's getting colder we added the £300 winter pack for the heated front seats and headlamp cleaning system.
Volvo insisted we try its Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) that lets you know if there's a car hovering in your blind spot, and our car also has an optional "higher performance" audio upgrade. Metallic paint was a
no-brainer. Other extras include passenger airbag switch, rear parking sensors and £206 for the hard load cover to replace the pathetic flimsy standard one. The next half-year will tell how many of those boxes would have been ticked with the benefit of hindsight.