Volvo has been on a rather aggressive drive to position their cars as a slightly more youthful brand than days of yore. No more station wagon safety connotations but rather aggressively styled and good value for money.
The C30 was even Edward Cullen’s mode of transport in the Twilight series, and if there was ever better product placement to reach the youth it’s probably having your product sleep with Justin Bieber. Sales for the C30 saw a significant increase since it made its appearance in the blood sucking saga. Edward however had the mental capacity to buy the T5, which no doubt is the model I’d go for after driving the D2 around.
The D2 is the first diesel in the C30 for SA, however only available in 3door. A wise choice considering the popularity for diesel models in the hatch category in SA. Under the hood it sports a 1.6litre 84kW (@3600RPM) diesel motor producing a quite significant 270Nm of torque (@1750RPM). Compare it to a direct rival, the VW 1.6Bluemotion and the figures on the Volvo impress with more power and torque. The Volvo doesn’t do as much shouting about being a very “green” (excuse the pun) car, as much as the VW does. Sadly, it doesn’t feel like it has more power or torque than the VW. With a very delayed low pressure turbo and first gear ratio combining to give about as much shove in first as a toddler on a bike. First gear is dismal and requires a lot of effort (read rev guessing) to make sure you get over the light in time. There’s no problems once it gets going however, as the turbo spools up and the engine is on then boil its perfectly suitable to the daily commute.
Thankfully the interior is not a let down. The floating dashboard makes an appearance and it’s a typical Volvo affair inside. A typical Volvo affair is something I’ve genuinely come to like these days as there’s nothing you can fault them on. Everything is simply laid out, easily understood and materials, even in this bottom of the range C30, of a high quality. It’s not exciting, but I guess the Swedes would fall over and riot if the Volvo interior turned into a Mini, for instance.
Some interesting thoughts around the interior, as with all 2doors, the doors are rather long making exiting in a parking lot quite interesting. The entry and exit to the rear of the vehicle is tight, and rear seats, with someone my length driving does not allow for an adult to sit in the back, unless diagonally across the seats (only 2 read sets just by the way) A friend of mine who drives one of these also commented that the cigarette lighter/power socket, is in an awkward spot, because when you have a sat-nav / car charger plugged in, changing gears is very challenging. I would definitely spec it with park distance for the rear and front as I still cannot judge a Volvo front properly, but maybe I’m just retarded like that.
Something that Volvo is pretty retarded at was the excuse for boot and boot cover. I’m not sure what size of ferret they expect you to fit in that tiny hole in the hard cover, but it’s not my bag for work.
It’s the most disappointing part of the car, I couldn’t even fit a bag for a 2day trip to Cape Town through the cover. The boot itself is not going to fit an entire dead hooker, you’d have to chop and dice to make her fit, but the real doozy is the cover to keep lurking eyes from seeing what’s in there that boggles my brain. Bad design Volvo. SMH.
There’s climate control for driver and passenger, the option of integrated Bluetooth with full controls on the dash as well as cruise control. A full on-board computer and gear shift indicator (e-driving indicator) is also standard. On the safety front there is no shortage of equipment with DSTC, Adaptive brake lights, ABS with EBA. A full compliment of airbags including side curtain and a whiplash protection system is also standard. Doing it the Volvo way even in the hatch.
Handling and braking were both good. Handling surprised me as I thought it could be rather boring but when eventually gathering up enough momentum to push into a corner there was some form of chassis there, and one that didn’t dull you. Let’s be frank, if you bought the D2 you’re not going to be tearing around corners anyway. Thankfully I never had to do any emergency braking but pedal feel on the brakes was as expected for Volvo.
I didn’t return the best fuel consumption figures, getting around 8l/100km which is nothing to write home about. I drove it like I normally drive and if that’s what it’s going to return for my driving style (mostly city with limited highway) then I’d rather stick to a larger turbo engine and get 10l/100km. I expected it to be a lot better, as this friend of mine who does the jhb-pretoria commute (vomit) every day, achieved around 6.5l/100km, so it’s possible.
I was neither excited, not blown away by this Volvo, and I shouldn’t be, because that’s not what it’s there to do. It does its job very well, being a fairly frugal value for money city car. It does it even better when you consider the price of R252 000. (As Tested R260 000 with Essential Package – see www.volvocars.co.za for more info) It’s priced R10K under VW’s 1.6bluemotion which is its best competitor considering engine (a 5door though) and gives considerably more in terms of kit and equipment and looks a hell of a lot better than anything out there in this price range. I don’t think Edward cared much for value for money, or fuel consumption, and we know he rather liked the T5, so his view is out for now.
Competitors in the price range is the Alfa Giulietta 1.4, Mito 1.4T, Audi A1 1.6d, and A3 1.4T. It’s tough competition and to be honest I’d rather opt for a 1.4Turbo on another model or the Golf, but if you can’t handle the boring styling of the Golf and need more value for money than this is the car for you. Also it’s the model choice for vampires around the world, so if you’re one of those it’s definitely for you.