Volvo C30 SE

VOLVO'S C30 might be the smallest model in the Swedish car maker's range but the introduction of vivid new colours ensure that it's the one that gets noticed.

The sporty two-door, four-seater C30 underwent a facelift at the beginning of the year and along with distinctive nips and tucks to the metal came the option to have colours like vibrant Orange Flame Metallic or Lime Grass Green Metallic, borrowed from the XC60 colour collection.

Volvos of the past had a reputation for being a little on the sedate side but my test car, in orange flame, was anything but a shrinking violet. And while orange - a £525 extra - sounds like an awful colour for a car this one works well.

The same colour is featured inside too, with orange seats in a hard wearing canvass-like fabric.The whole "hey look at me" image was further enhanced by the addition of an exterior styling kit, which goes some way to making the car look like one of the marque's prestigious R Design vehicles.

On this 2.0-litre diesel SE model the £899 exterior styling kit added deep side skirts with scuff plates, front and rear skidplate with an aluminium look and aluminium surrounds to the foglights. Add to all this the new 17" Styx White alloy wheels just introduced to the range and standard on the SE trim level, and you really do have a car to get you noticed.

In fact with such distinctive features there is a tendency not to notice the changes to the body design. If you look closely, however, you can see that the front has undergone the most work in a bid to make it look more dynamic and expressive.

There's a larger air intake, new headlights, a new honeycomb grille and an increase in size of Volvo's distinctive iron mark. Deeper contours on the rear of the car also go some way to giving the C30 even more street presence.

On the road the 2.0-litre SE offers nice balance between performance and economy. With its sporty six-speed gearbox it delivers punchy performance in every gear while averaging - for me at least - in the low to mid forties per gallon over the week that I drove it.

While being surprisingly quick around town the C30 is superb on the motorway with a top gear that keeps revs sufficiently low for relaxed driving yet has the capacity to respond instantly at high speed whenever you need it.

Sculptured rear seats ensure that this is definitely a four not five seater but there ample space for all four travellers. The C30 is available with two doors only but the size of them and the wide opening angle mean there is little problem getting rear seat passengers in and out.

Beneath the trademark glass tailgate there's space for a sensible amount of luggage - 433 litres - and this can be almost doubled by folding down the rear seatbacks.

The C30 is very much a car that stands out in the Volvo range, appealing to young and young at heart buyers.

FAST FACTS

Volvo C30 SE

Price: £18,610

Mechanical: 136bhp, 1,997cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 127mph

0-62mph: 8.8 seconds

Combined MPG: 49.6

Insurance Group: 7

C02 emissions: 151g/km

Bik rating: 15%

Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles

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