Volvo coupe for all

reasons

Volvo C30, front
Volvo C30, side
Volvo C30, rear
Volvo C30, interior

THE Volvo C30 coupe was the company's first hatch for some years and has as much economy or performance as anyone could want.

It's design was partly a homage to the iconic P1800 ES from the 1960s, but the styling just didn't cut it.

The ES had presence in spades but even the C30 T5 barnstormer, which is far quicker, looks rather staid.

It's a three door with a fair amount of interior space and a glass hatch at the rear, but the boot is small and awkward, with a non-lifting rear shelf.

Petrol engines range from a 98bhp 1.6 up to the hugely quick T5 with a 226bhp 2.5, diesels also start with a 1.6 - borrowed from Peugeot - which has 107 or 115bhp.

Then comes a 2.0-litre with 134bhp and the range topper gets the 2.5 five cylinder D5 with 177bhp.

The last 1.6 DRIVe ultra green version uses the same smaller diesel but adds automatic stop-start taking average economy to 74mpg and emissions down to just 104g/km.

Performance is good or brilliant depending on engine size, with decent urge even in the smallest petrol and diesel 1.6s.

Top T5's are wonderfully fast, with huge acceleration but they also have sports suspension, making the otherwise excellent ride rather knobbly.

Handling and road holding are both superb, with almost no roll and tremendous grip in all models and refinement is brilliant.

They will also ford deep water, as I discovered when persistent torrential rain turned all the roads into rivers around the Forest of Dean. It took me 23 hours to drive 12 miles but the Volvo got me through.

Like all Volvos they come with On Call - a system which links to a call centre for directions or other help and even calls the emergency services if you have an accident.

FAST FACTS

Price: Pay about £7,800 for an '11 11-reg ES, or £10,450 for a '13 13-reg R-Design

Mechanical: 115bhp, 1,560cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 121mph

0-62mph: 11.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 65

Insurance Group: 17

C02 emissions: 114g/km

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