The shape of the 2012 Volvo C30 has worn well, despite being around for several years now. It's recognizably a Volvo in the front, with a strong visual resemblance to the S40 compact sedan and the newer S60 mid-size sedan. And it's stayed up to date with a mild frontal restyle last year, giving it new headlamps, reshaped front fenders and hood, and a revised front fascia.
But the C30 has entirely unique sheetmetal, and it's the sole three-door hatchback in the Volvo range. From the windshield pillars back, it's not quite like any other model. Not unless, that is, you harken back to the 1800ES two-door sport wagon of the early 1970s.
The C30's all-glass rear hatch echoes its ancestor's raked glass hatch, complete with a shoulder line over the rear wheels, giving it a rakish silhouette that's distinctive and appealing. Wheel wells are outlined in contrasting trim, and the alloy wheels are large for the segment--and flashy too--giving the C30 the look of a fastback coupe rather than a more upright three-door hatchback.
Inside, the interior too is a unique design, with Volvo's now-familiar "floating" center stack holding the sound system controls as well as those for the climate system, and a slightly awkward storage space behind it on top of the tunnel. Aluminum trim inlays with a honeycomb pattern updated the interior trim last year, keeping it modern and sophisticated.