2010 Volvo C70 Review

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Nelson Ireson Nelson Ireson Senior Editor
February 8, 2010

Part coupe and part convertible, the 2010 Volvo C70 is a bit plain on the outside, but offers a clean, well-turned interior and a strong overall package.

TheCarConnection.com's editors took the wheel of the new Volvo C70 to bring you an expert opinion. TheCarConnection.com's expert researchers then combed the best of other road tests to produce this conclusive review of the Volvo C70, helping you find the truth where opinions differ.

With a hardtop convertible system and a peppy turbocharged engine, the 2010 Volvo C70 is a fun and fast top-down tourer, but limited cargo space and small rear seats mean it's best suited to two adults rather than four. The Volvo C70 is mostly a carry-over from 2009, with a few new options and packages for 2010.

While tThe C70's exterior design is attractive but less than inspiring, particularly with the top up, yet the interior delivers the look you expect from a luxury convertible. The console design is slick, like an audiophile's speaker cabinet, with aluminum trim and a generally modern Scandinavian theme.

Under the hood, a 2.5-liter, turbocharged five-cylinder, 227-horsepower engine delivers power to the front wheels through a six-speed manual or an optional five-speed automatic. Both gearboxes deliver smooth, easy shifts, and both pair well with the punchy turbo engine. Volvo statespegs the C70's 0-60 mph acceleration at 7.6 seconds for the manual, and an even 8.0 seconds for the automatic. It will carry on to a top speed of 150 mph, yet still manages 18 mpg city and 27 mpg highway with the six-speed stick. The automatic rates 18/26 mpg.

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Handling is unexpectedly light, belying its hefty grand-tourer nature, and a tight feel to the steering and the whine of the turbo inspires. The electric power steering is a controversial element, but it's tuned for a linear, realistic feel. The ride is well-controlled thanks to a MacPherson strut front- end and multi-link rear suspension.

Fit and finish in the interior isare impressive, with high-quality materials that look and feel good. The front seats are incredibly comfortable and supportive, in sharp contrast to the cramped rear seats. Full-size adults won't tolerate more than short trips in the back, thanks mostly to a shortage of leg room.

There's plenty of cargo room in the trunk-as long as the top is up, a full 12.8 cubic feet of storage space is available. With the top down, however, it's cut to just 6 cubic feet, just enough for two sets of golf clubs, but behind the rest of its class. Despite the cargo-robbing nature, the top operates smoothly with a foot on the brake and the touch of a button, stowing in the trunk in 30 seconds.

Volvo's stellar reputation for safety holds strong even in this drop-top model, with six airbags, including curtain airbags, plus stability control, traction control, and anti-lock brakes-all standard. Because of its collapsible top, Volvo has fitsted a pair of pop-up bars that can blast through rear glass to help protect occupants' heads in the case of a rollover accident. The 2010 Volvo C70 earns a top rating of "good" from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

The 2010 Volvo C70 offers a wealth of features and options, including a standard high-performance sound system with CD and MP3 input, eight speakers, and a 160-watt amplifier. A Bluetooth phone interface, an iPod/USB connection, and a six-month subscription to Sirius Satellite Radio are also standard. For 2010, the Volvo C70 adds a number of new features, including dual-position adjustable front headrests, newly styled 17-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, and a range of changes to package and stand-alone options.

8

2010 Volvo C70

Styling

Clean, conservative, and with attention to detail, the 2010 Volvo C70's design is a success with the top up or down.

While the C70's exterior design is attractive butif also less than inspiring, it looks equally good with the top up or down, and the interior delivers the lookappearance you expect from a luxury convertible.

Not everyone is disappointed with the Volvo's looks, however. Car and Driver says the 2010 C70's "aggressive snoot and shrink-wrapped sheetmetal" deliver "seductive good looks." Road & Track also finds the car "elegant" and, while conservative, also "modernly handsome." Cars.com findsdeems the smooth, rounded design "a far cry from the boxy Volvos of yore." Edmunds praises the slick hardtop mechanism, and notes that the time it takes to unfold gives onlookers time to "admire the car's fluid lines."

The console design is slick, like an audiophile's speaker cabinet, with aluminum trim and a generally moderncontemporary Scandinavian theme. The 2010 Volvo C70's modern, attractive interior styling is focused on the center console area, with its floating, sculpted-wood face, described by Kelley Blue Book as a "serious wow." Detroit News also praises the wood elements, noting in particular the "laminated oak trim," which it calls "the best wood accent ever seen on a car." Edmunds offers some minor criticism, noting that, "The controls used to access stereo, Bluetooth and navigation functions are clunky and not intuitive," but going on to explain that "Volvo's trademark ‘reclining man' climate controls are virtually idiot-proof."

7

2010 Volvo C70

Performance

Built more for cruising than corner-carving, the 2010 Volvo C70 isn't the sportiest option in its class.

Under the hood, a 2.5-liter, turbocharged, five-cylinder 227-horsepower engine delivers power to the front wheels through a six-speed manual or an optional five-speed automatic.

Kelley Blue Book would like to see more boost from the turbocharged five-cyllinder, arguing that "a little more horsepower would turn the C70 from a satisfying ride to a thrilling one." Edmunds tempers that criticism, saying that though the 2010 C70's performance is "certainly not blistering," the T5 engine "provides enough low-end torque to get the C70 moving briskly enough from a stop." Volvo states the C70's 0-60 mph acceleration at 7.6 seconds for the manual, and an even 8.0 seconds for the automatic.

Both gearboxes deliver smooth, easy shifts, and both pair well with the punchy turbo engine. The 2010 Volvo C70 will carry on to a top speed of 150 mph, yet still manages 18 mpg city and 27 mpg highway with the six-speed stick. The automatic rates 18/26 mpg. ConsumerGuide describes them both as "smooth," though noting that the "manual's shift action is a bit rubbery."

Handling is unexpectedly light, belying its hefty grand-tourer nature, and a tight feel to the steering and the whine of the turbo inspires. The electric power steering is a controversial element, but it's tuned for linear, realistic feel. The ride is well-controlled thanks to a MacPherson strut front-end and multi-link rear suspension.

Cars.com says the "C70 has sporty handling," though most find the car is better suited to grand touring duty than sports car slicing and dicing. Car and Driver explains, "the [Volvo] C70 had a tendency to wallow and pogo" on winding mountain roads, a result of suspension settings chosen for "boulevard ride quality." Kelley Blue Book says the 2010 Volvo C70 "does a more-than-creditable job of finding the ride balance between ride and handling for most luxury coupe-convertible drivers." ConsumerGuide agrees, pointing out that the Volvo C70 is "not sports-car nimble, but C70 corners with front-drive assurance, modest body lean and tolerable noseplow."

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2010 Volvo C70

Comfort & Quality

TheCarConnection.com's research reveals that most reviewers agree the 2010 Volvo C70's interior build and material quality is generally high.

Fit and finish in the interior is impressive, with high-quality materials that look and feel good. The front seats are incredibly comfortable and supportive, in sharp contrast to the cramped rear seats. Full-size adults won't tolerate more than short trips in the back, thanks mostly to a shortage of leg room.

Kelley Blue Book finds the front seats excellent, noting that "Volvos have long been known for their fantastic seat comfort, and the C70 upholds that reputation." The Detroit News offers praises for the "beautifully crafted leather seats that hold you in place snugly but don't try to squeeze you like a grandmother heading back to Alaska for a year." Cars.com says the 2010 Volvo C70 "seats four adults and features ergonomically shaped front seats," but ConsumerGuide notes that the "rear seat is a token gesture...shaped for two only," and short on leg room so that it is "very tight for most adults and many teens," adding that "entry and exit are for contortionists."

There's plenty of cargo room in the trunk-as long as the top is up, a full 12.8 cubic feet of storage space is available. With the top down, however, it's cut to just 6 cubic feet, just enough for two sets of golf clubs, but behind the rest of its class. Despite the cargo-robbing nature, the top operates smoothly with a foot on the brake and the touch of a button, stowing in the trunk in 30 seconds.

ConsumerGuide points out that even once the top has reducesd available cargo space, "a couple of golf bags or medium suitcases still fit." Cars.com adds that "objects can be stored in the trunk by opening a pass-thru between the two rear seating positions," helping expand the limited trunk space. Interior storage space isn't great, however-ConsumerGuide says "the door map pockets barely hold standard gas-station maps."

Kelley Blue Book finds the 2010 Volvo C70 to be "a quiet, cozy closed coupe in a rain shower and a wide-open convertible in the sun," and ConsumerGuide echoes that top-down civility, praising the cabin as "solidly assembled with high-quality materials," which help the C70 to deliver "little top-down wind buffeting," even though "road roar is always audible with the 18-inch tires, but isn't overbearing."

9

2010 Volvo C70

Safety

Despite its open-air design, the 2010 Volvo C70 doesn't compromise on safety.

Volvo's stellar reputation for safety holds strong even in this drop-top model, with six airbags, including curtain airbags, plus stability control, traction control, and anti-lock brakes-all standard.

The 2010 Volvo C70 earns a top rating of "good" in every category from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not yet ranked the Volvo C70.

As Cars.com points out that, "The C70 is one of few convertible models to provide side curtain airbags; they inflate upward from the doors,." They add, and that to reduce the danger of its convertible nature, "these airbags deflate slowly in the event of a rollover." Further boosting rollover safety are, a pair of pop-up bars that can blast through the rear glass to help protect occupants when the vehicle is upside-down.

Edmunds makes notes of the standard "whiplash reducing front head restraints," and Cars.com explains Volvo's innovative emergency brake light system, which features "taillights that illuminate brighter under hard braking, such as when the antilock brakes activate."

TheCarConnection.com foundfinds that the Blind Spot Information System that, which warns drivers when a vehicle is in their blind spot, is a peeve for some drivers, and it's an almost unnecessary feature for the 2010 C70 when the top is down.

9

2010 Volvo C70

Features

The 2010 Volvo C70 presents an attractive set of standard and optional features that all reviewers praised.

The 2010 Volvo C70 offers a wealth of features and options, including a standard high-performance sound system with CD and MP3 input, eight speakers, and a 160-watt amplifier. A Bluetooth phone interface, an iPod/USB connection, and a six-month subscription to Sirius Satellite Radio are also standard.

For 2010, the Volvo C70 adds a number of new features, including dual-position adjustable front headrests, newly styled 17-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, and a range of changes to package and stand-alone options. Edmunds notes that the 2010 Volvo C70 is "available in only one trim level, T5," and that it "comes well-equipped with most modern convenience features." According to Kelley Blue Book, highlights the C70's "integrated global positioning system (GPS) unit, heated front seats, leather or ultra-premium Sovereign Hide leather seats, and polished 18-inch, performance rubber-wrapped tires," which are other available C70 Volvo extras.

Another change for 2010 is the deletion of the Dynaudio Sound System package and its replacement with the Multimedia Package. Fortunately for audio lovers, the Dynaudio Sound System is still part of the new package, which includes 12 Dynaudio speakers, Dolby ProLogic II Surround Sound, plusand Volvo's hard-disk based navigation system with Real Time Traffic.

There's lots of praise to be found for the Dynaudio stereo system. Kelley Blue Book declares that no matter if it's "Green Day or Sinatra, music has rarely sounded as pure and clear as through the C70's audiophile-worthy system." Edmunds says simply that the Dynaudio system is "For music lovers."

ConsumerGuide points out that the convertible hardtop system is another of the C70's strongest features, providing a "well-built blend of top-down fun and fixed-roof security." Once a rarity, convertible hardtops are becoming more common, but as one of the first, the Volvo C70 is still one of the best in this regard.

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8.2
Overall
Expert Rating
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Styling 8.0
Performance 7.0
Comfort & Quality 8.0
Safety 9.0
Features 9.0
Fuel Economy N/A
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