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STYLING | 9 out of 10
an unabashedly adorable, uniquely tailored package
The 2011 nose job in concert with the R-Design package almost managed to convince us that the C30 is a real hot hatch.
Car and Driver
a bolder and even better-proportioned visual statement
Kelley Blue Book
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.
The racy shape of the 2012 Volvo C30 makes it stand out from pretty much any other compact car--resembling a sporty coupe more than the three-door hatchback it actually is.