Our Fleet Test Drive: Volvo C30 - Final Report
21 July 2008
Volvo's gorgeous C30, its best-looking car, has now left the BusinessCar fleet for good and is at the mercy of the remarketing gods.
Volvo gave us a free choice of engine, trim and spec, and with hindsight we got it pretty much spot-on. The 136PS 2.0-litre diesel was the sensible business choice, while picking the R-design kit makes the car look great.
There are problems, though, and how important they are depend on the driver's lifestyle. The boot  is a joke. We went for the essential £206 hard load cover because the standard parcel shelf is flimsy. But even the optional one isn't great, leaving a narrow letterbox-style access hole to the boot that makes square loads impossible without removing it. Not that the boot's very big to start with.
Rear access is also bad, and there's not a lot of space there either. The seats don't return to their set position after being flicked forward to allow passengers into the back, and the seatbelt slides across to make a tripwire.
We managed a reasonable 37.3mpg overall, remaining steady between 37.0 and 37.4mpg average over 8000 miles. The peak was a couple of 46mpg tanks and only once did it not make 30mpg. We also had a trip to the dealer, to correct a fault with the option BLIS blind-spot warning system. A new wing mirror proved to be the solution.
Talking of the BLIS system , Volvo insisted that we should have the £650 system fitted despite my scepticism. And, just to prove me wrong, it saved a fellow staff member from a collision with a motorbike hovering in his blind spot. The accident it prevented would have cost significantly more than £650, and that's without complications of injury or paperwork.
Other options fitted included the pricey £2150 communications package of navigation  and useless phone system that requires a SIM card to be inserted into a slot on the dash. In seven months, no-one bothered.
But get past such shortcomings and there's a great-looking car with good interior quality. And thanks to a recent price drop, it's now at a level that might tempt people from less pretty premium German rivals like the BMW 1-series and Audi A3.