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In many respects, the 2013 Volvo C70 can serve as a reminder of how good convertibles can be—with a clean, attractive design, a tight-fitting folding hardtop, top-notch cabin appointments, and a knockout core set of luxury and safety features. And it lands in a sweet spot that many will appreciate—definitely more affordable and down-to-earth than the likes of the Jaguar XK Convertible or Mercedes-Benz E Class Cabriolet, but way more of an image-builder than a Chrysler 200 rental-car drop-top. And the price? It's somewhere in between.
In any case, the C70 remains one of the best-looking convertibles on the market--looking clean and cohesive, especially in top-down mode. The smooth folding hardtop arrangement remains the center of attention; it takes just 30 seconds to lower and folds intricately out of sight. And thankfully, it's a typical Volvo design inside, with a clean, sophisticated look. Aluminum trim and sculpted wood serve to highlight.
The 2013 C70 packs a turbocharged 2.5-liter engine provides 227 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. It feels potent, too, with peak torque arriving at just 1,500 rpm. But with a five-speed automatic transmission and a rather light steering feel, you'll never mistake it for a sports car. The C70 is on the hefty side for its quite compact dimensions, and it feels like it on serpentine canyon roads. Nevertheless, it's peppy and satisfying for freeways and boulevard cruising, and 60 mph arrives in 7.5 seconds, with an electronically limited 150-mph top speed. Fuel economy ratings are respectable, at 18 mpg city and 28 mpg highway.
Space isn't abundant, but it's better than most convertibles. You'll find enough room in the trunk for a couple of golf bags even with the top down; with the top up, it's just about sedan-sized. Front seats are very supportive and up to the comfort standards of those in other Volvos.
Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, the C70 also serves to point out what's not so desirable about some convertible designs. A recent follow-up drive with the C70 served to remind us how much stiffer and sturdier convertible designs have come in recent years. Over bumpy roads, the C70 has more cowl shake than typical.
That's not to say the C70 isn't safe; in fact, based on Volvo's reputation for safety, it's likely one of the best top-down choices you could make if it's one of your top concerns. Safety gear includes roll-over protection, pedestrian protection, whiplash protection, front, side, and curtain airbags, a collapsible steering column, and much more. And the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has rated the C70 'good' for all measures.
The C70's list of standard features was already strong, and Volvo's made it even better for 2013. Headlight washers and rain-sensor wipers have been made standard; a Bluetooth hands-free calling is included; and auxiliary/USB inputs, Sirius XM Satellite Radio, and steering wheel audio controls are as well—in addition to a lengthy roster of luxury-level conveniences. Volvo's navigation system can be added as part of a package, as can rear park assist and premium audio. For 2013, Volvo has also carried over last year's Inscription Package, which boosts power to 250 hp (and 273 lb-ft of torque) and provides active HID headlamps, a leather-covered dash, and a long list of extras. All C70s also now come with fully synthetic motor oil, which boosts service intervals to 10,000 miles.