2013 Volvo C30 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 Volvo C30 was new.


Performance: 7.3

The 2013 Volvo C30 has enough power to keep pace on the highway, but if you’re looking for an engaging upscale hatchback, the C30 is overshadowed by competitors like the Volkswagen GTI and Mini Cooper.

  • "The 2013 Volvo C30 can't quite match the performance thrills of other sporty hatchbacks, nor can it match the base price of other stylish hatchbacks. Nevertheless, it's a solid alternative to both." -- Edmunds
  • "The Volvo matches the Mini on interior quirkiness, but it can’t foster the same feeling of man-machine connection that comes from sitting in the GTI or Cooper S." -- Car and Driver (2011 R-Design)
  • "The C30 is a fun car to drive." -- Cars.com (2011)

Acceleration and Power

All 2013 Volvo C30 models have a turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine that makes 227 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a five-speed automatic is optional. With the automatic transmission, the C30 averages 21/30 mpg city/highway, according to the EPA.

Reviewers say that the C30’s engine has a nice sound and ample power for highway passing. Most reviewers say that the manual transmission is smooth, though one doesn’t think the manual makes the C30 engaging to drive. Critiques of the automatic transmission are mixed. It’s called smooth, but one reviewer wishes it had five gears rather than six.

  • "The C30's turbocharged engine is sweet regardless of where you're driving. There's a nice snarl to the noises it makes, and its low-end torque plants you nicely in the pleasantly sculpted seats. The manual transmission features long, spongy throws but is reasonably precise. The automatic transmission is a bit behind the times with its five gears and lack of paddle shifters." -- Edmunds
  • "With the manual transmission, C30 is eager to rev, with good throttle response and satisfying strength at mid-range speeds. With the automatic, C30 is similarly peppy in all situations, with smooth, crisp shifts." -- Consumer Guide (2012)
  • "The five-speed automatic fired off buttery smooth shifts, although we wish there was a transmission sport mode instead of the Geartronic manumatic-style gate. Slap the skinny gear lever to the right and you can row it yourself, but the shifts are just too lazy to serve any real sporting purpose." -- Left Lane News (2011 R-Design)
  • "Though the Volvo doesn't blow you away with its power--an enthusiast's car it is not--it does feel confident during freeway passing maneuvers and, as indicated above, back-road blasts." -- CNET (2011 R-Design)
  • "In our experience, the C30’s manual, with its rubbery shifter and feedback-free clutch, doesn’t add any driver involvement." -- Car and Driver (2011 R-Design)

Handling and Braking

Most auto critics say the C30’s accurate steering and impressive grip make it enjoyable to drive, but they are annoyed by both the base and R-Design models’ bumpy rides. Some reviewers also criticize the lack of steering feedback. Few reviewers comment on the C30’s brakes, but one who does says they are strong.

  • "The 2013 Volvo C30 is a fun car to drive, boasting ample grip through corners and accurate steering." -- Edmunds
  • "C30 has good grip and balance overall, though fast turns can induce minor noseplow. Some testers find the steering a bit vague on center, though it has positive turn-in feedback. Brakes are strong and responsive." -- Consumer Guide (2012)
  • "Handling, thusly equipped, was neutral and predictable." -- CNET (2011 R-Design)
  • "As you'd expect from a small car with a stiff suspension, you feel the bumps in the road." -- Cars.com (2011)
  • "The R-Design’s chassis changes make for a harsh ride at times." -- Car and Driver (2011 R-Design)

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