Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Devon test drives a Volvo C70

File:2011 Volvo C70 -- 11-13-2011.jpg
Photo provided by  Raul

There are so many convertibles you can choose from. BMW 3-series, Audi A5 and Lexus IS. What if you desire something a bit more Swedish? Well here's your last chance because the Volvo C70 will soon be discontinuted, but is it worth considering over its much better rivals? Let's find out. 

Performance: There's only one engine available for the C70 and that's a 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder which produces 227hp. Acceleration around town and on the highway is strong. Most buyers will spend their time on the highway and this is where the C70 shines. It's strong turbo pull makes it very entertaining to drive. Sadly no manual gearbox is available. You'll have to make due with a slightly dated five-speed auto gearbox.

On the road: If you are looking for fun to drive you best venture elsewhere. The C70 is about as fun to drive as most Volvos which is bland like plain vanilla ice cream. Handling isn't great due to too much body lean in corners. Steering feels almost numb at times with very little feedback. The body shudders over bumps. Compared to most convertibles with ragtops, the Volvo C70 has a metal roof which helps iron out wind noise. However, some wind noise can be heard through the pillar-less side windows. Road noise is also a unwelcome visitor in the cabin. With the roof down buffeting is well isolated.

Behind the wheel: the C70 dashboard is covered in tiny buttons that are hard to see at first glance. The infortainment system is a nightmare to use due to too many confusing menus and a tiny screen that makes it harder to use while on the go. The front seats however are very comfortbale. The folding metal roof eats up more boot space than fabric roof convertibles. With the roof lowered you have less space than keen rivals. There is somewhat decent space for four passengers, but the rear seat is best used for cargo space rather than people space.

Equipment: The C70 comes standard with climate control, electric front seats, fully automated folding metal roof, cd-player and daytime running lamps. You'll have to step up to the top of the range trim to add Xenon headlamps, heated front seats, navigation system and rain sensing windshield wipers.

Buying & Owning: The Volvo C70 seems like a bargain when you look at the more costly 3-series convertible and Infiniti G-series. Compared to the Audi A5 and Lexus IS convertible however the C70 loses it's value appeal. Both vehicles are priced similiarly to the C70 and offer similar equipment as a well. The C70 offers more power but that's not saying much here. Running costs should be decent thanks to somewhat okay fuel economy. Resale value however won't be as impressive as its keen rivals, but it shouldn't be too disappointing.

Quality & Safety: The C70 is a classy car thanks to appealing materials used in the cabin. Everything feels built to last. Volvo reliability record is only so-so. We highly suggest paying close attention to the electricals which tends to be a problem with most Volvos. The C70 comes with an array of safety features like all other Volvos. Anti-lock brakes, stability control and traction control both come standard. Active head restraints, roll-over protection and duel front and side airbags are standard as well. An engine immobilizer with anti-theft locks come standard to keep theft away.

The C70 is a classy convertible that's not the most fun to drive when you compare it to BMW, Audi and Lexus. One thing Volvo has that the others don't is the extreme focus to safety and it's cheaper to buy than most rivals. However, we still think that the C70 just isn't as fun to drive as the equally comparable Audi A5 cabriolet. Reliability record is only so-so with resale value boarding risky. If you desire a Swedish Convertible this may be your last chance, but a second-hand Saab 9-3 makes more sense than the C70.  Even the more expensive rivals make more sense. Unless you have to have a Volvo convertible we strongly suggest looking elsewhere. 

Performance: **** Turbo pulls very well.
Ride & handling: * Doesn't feel as sharp as rivals.
Refinement: * Too much wind and road noise.
Buying & Owning:  ** Cheaper to buy but not by much.
Quality: * Reliability record is only so-so.
Safety: **** It's just as safe as other Volvos.
Behind the wheel: ** Confusing controls and lack of fun to drive factors.
Space & practicality: * Over glorified two-seat with not much boot space.
Equipment: **** Generous compared to rivals.

Devon M

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