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Volvo C30 R-Design – Washington Street, NYC

September 4th, 2009 by Ian

Volvo C30 1

Volvo is not the boxy brand you may recall. In fact, their current fleet is full of pleasing, dare I say it, fashionable shapes. From broad shouldered sedans [S40/80] to curvaceous crossovers [XC60/90] and sultry sun devils [C70], Volvo’s modern day design language is athletic and easily recognizable across the whole range. Those sculpted noses and muscular shoulders from Sweden look particularly spicy on this little C30 we spotted on Washington Street. And despite its multitude of airbags and energy-absorbing impact structures, this funky looking coupe screams fun, not boring sensibility.

The C30 takes design cues from Volvo’s 2001 Safety Concept Car (SCC) as well as the vintage P1800 ES [1971-1973]. The classic design influence can be seen most in C30’s large glass hatch, which is as functional in daily use as it is cool to look at. The C30’s basic profile is one of a compact 2-door hatchback, but the hunkered down stance, flared fenders, oversized wheels, dual exhaust set-up and chiseled exterior lines challenge conventions for what a small car can and should look like. Viewed from the front, the C30 resembles the classically designed Audi TT, only more muscular and less curvaceous. From the rear, the glass tailgate reflects the best of the Gremlin.

Looking to other front wheel drive, premium hatchbacks of similar price, performance and dimensions, C30 seems to have the Mini Cooper S and VW GTI in its competitive crosshairs. And although steering feel is overly boosted and handling not as direct as in the competition, C30’s relative lightweight, turbo-charged motor and abundance of low-end torque make it every bit as fast off the line. But C30’s curb appeal and charm take precedence over purer sporting credentials. So you must ask yourself what is more important, how quickly you get there or how stylishly you arrive?

Volvo C30 2Volvo C30 3Volvo C30 4Volvo C30 5

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