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Volvo C30 (2006): first official pictures

Tue, 25 Jul 2006

By Phil McNamara

First Official Pictures

25 July 2006 01:17

The lowdown

This is the Volvo C30, a rakish three-door set to take on the BMW 1-series and Audi A3. Unconventionally, this hatchback only has four seats; conventionally, it mounts its engines across the nose and sends power to the front wheels. The C30 is scheduled to arrive in UK showrooms in December. Prices will start at £14,750.

Today's Volvos are solidly engineered but hard to lust after. Could the C30 hatch break the mould, and be that Volvo you love passionately and unconditionally? The handsome C30 certainly looks the part. It's funkier than an A3, not as funky as a 1-series - and that's the design sweet spot in the premium hatchback segment. The design is pure Volvo. Either side of the trademark grille are set-back headlamps that eat into the flanks, a device used on the XC90 to make it look more compact. Those shoulders get broader towards the rear, where the cabin tapers and the roofline drops. And the back end is hugely distinctive. The widescreen rear glass borrows heavily from iconic Volvos, the 1970s P1800 ES and 1980s 480. It's framed by red lamps that ooze down from the roof spoiler like a lava flow, spreading out to cover those shoulders. If it all feels familiar, that's because the production model is a virtual carbon copy of the C30 Design Concept, which Volvo has been tarting around this year's motor show circuit. Only the concept's bronze undertray, paralellogram pipes and 19-inch rims have bitten the dust. C30 wheels span 16 to 18 inches in diameter.

By Phil McNamara