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2013 Volvo C30 Review

The Volvo C30 has zippy engine performance, nimble handling, and excellent safety ratings. However, its frustrating controls, puny cargo hold, and tight rear seats push this Volvo to the back of its class.

Pros & Cons

  • Refined engine and handling
  • Great outward visibility
  • Confusing dashboard controls
  • Limited cargo room




Critics' Rating: 7.2
Performance: 7.3
Interior: 7.5
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.8
Safety: 10.0
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2013 Volvo C30 Overview

Is the 2013 Volvo C30 a Good Used Car?

The Volvo C30 hatchback isn’t a great used luxury small car. It has athletic handling and a turbocharged engine that scoots it up to speed swiftly. Despite its performance, the C30’s many nagging issues make it hard to recommend. Its backseat and cargo space are short on space, and the navigation and audio controls are needlessly complex. Also, the C30’s fuel economy trails sportier rivals like the Volkswagen GTI.

Used 2013 Volvo C30 Performance and Interior

The Volvo C30 has a turbocharged five-cylinder engine with 227 horsepower. The C30 Polestar features different engine software, which raises its output to 250 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive are standard; a five-speed automatic is available. The engine feels refined, and it provides immediate throttle response and brisk acceleration. The automatic is smooth and changes gears promptly, but the lack of shift paddles feels like an oversight for this sport-tuned car. The manual transmission is a better pairing. Fuel economy is low by class standards at 21 mpg in the city and 29-30  on the highway.

The C30 feels composed and balanced when rounding corners, with quick power steering that inspires confidence. The C30 T5 base model has a comfortable ride as well. However, the R-Design and Polestar models have a stiffer suspension, which decreases ride quality without any substantial gains in handling. The C30’s brake pedal feels rather spongy, but the car has good stopping power.

Read more about C30 performance »

The Volvo C30 is a two-door hatchback that seats four. The front seats are nicely contoured and provide great support. The rear seats are similarly shaped and cozy as well, but legroom is fairly tight. The car’s two-door layout means getting into the backseat isn’t that easy. That said, the large windows and all-glass hatchback offer excellent visibility all around. There are two sets of LATCH connectors for securing child seats. The C30 offers just 12.9 cubic feet of cargo space with its rear seats upright and 20.2 cubic feet with these seats folded. These measurements are small by hatchback standards.

The C30’s interior has a few more issues as well. While the cabin benefits from sleek styling, its many plastics and dated technology make it feel rather cheap. The dashboard is also crowded with lots of buttons, which merge audio and climate controls into one section. Finding the desired button can be tricky when on-the-go. However, Volvo’s available navigation system is the C30’s biggest drawback. The screen pops up from the dashboard and employs a handheld remote control and buttons on the back of the steering wheel. It’s frustrating to use, and the screen’s poor graphics don’t help.

Read more about C30 interior »

Used 2013 Volvo C30 Prices

The price of a used 2013 C30 ranges from about $12,300 for a base T5 model to $14,200 for an R-Design Platinum model. Prices vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

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We Did the Research for You: 71 Reviews Analyzed

We’ve researched 71 Volvo C30 reviews, as well as hard data points like reliability scores and cost of ownership estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars for a decade, and our team has more than 75 years of automotive industry experienced combined. While we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to giving helpful consumer advice. To ensure our reviews remain impartial, we refuse expensive gifts and trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Reliable Is the 2013 Volvo C30?

The C30 has a reliability rating of three out of five from J.D. Power, which is average for the industry as a whole but subpar for the luxury small car class.

Read more about reliability »

How Safe Is the C30?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Volvo C30 a 2013 Top Safety Pick and gave it the highest score of Good in all four areas tested. The C30 is available with available blind spot monitoring, rear parking sensors, and adaptive bi-xenon headlights that pivot to illuminate corners.

See C30 safety scores »

Is the 2013 C30 the Best Model Year to Buy?

Volvo debuted the C30 as an all-new model in 2008, and the hatchback saw few major changes until it was discontinued for 2014. Give the 2013 C30 a look if you’re interested in the limited-edition Polestar model. Otherwise, you’ll find the same features in used 2011 and 2012 models, often at much lower prices.

Compare the 2011, 2012, and 2013 C30 »

Which Used Volvo C30 Is Right for Me?

The C30 comes in three trim levels. The Volvo C30 T5 has a CD player, Bluetooth, USB input, power windows, remote keyless entry, cruise control, air conditioning, rain-sensing wipers, and alloy wheels. The Volvo C30 R-Design adds leather seats, stiffer springs, and quicker steering. The limited-edition Volvo C30 Polestar boosts performance up to 250 horsepower and showcases a unique Rebel Blue paint scheme. Volvo produced only 250 of these Polestar models.

Available upgrades include a moonroof, satellite radio, heated front seats, parking sensors, and blind spot monitoring. The Premier Plus package  gives you proximity keyless entry and adaptive headlights, and the Platinum package adds a navigation system.

You may want to consider a certified pre-owned model for added peace of mind. Volvo provides all CPO vehicles with a comprehensive warranty good for seven years or 100,000 miles from the new-car purchase date. Each CPO Volvo must pass a 130-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Volvo warranty page carefully.

Read more about certified pre-owned vehicles »
Read more about the Volvo certified pre-owned program »

2013 Volvo C30 and Other Cars to Consider

Which Is Better: 2013 Volvo C30 or 2013 Volkswagen GTI?

The Volkswagen GTI isn’t just a better hatchback than the C30; it’s one of the best hot hatches on the market. The GTI outshines the Volvo with sharper handling, better fuel economy (up to 24/33 mpg), a more upscale interior, roomier backseat and cargo space, and easier-to-use tech features. Used C30 and GTI models tend to be in the same price range as well. For more smiles per hour, get the GTI.

Which Is Better: 2013 Volvo C30 or 2013 Ford Focus?

Like the C30, the 2013 Ford Focus has some major drawbacks. The Focus has cramped rear seats and a clunky infotainment system. It also has a poor reliability rating. Ultimately, neither are great used car picks. But the Ford does offer more cargo space, sharper handling, and zestier engine performance in Focus ST trim. Used models are often far less expensive as well.

Compare the C30, GTI, and Focus »

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