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The Mercury Cars Guide : August 22nd 2009
12— Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au Saturday, August 22, 2009 IMPRESSIVE: The Volvo C30 T5 R-Design, dressed in a sporty, stylish set of clothes. Volvo’s design team joins the style revolution firstname.lastname@example.org with KEITH DIDHAM grand has happened in Volvo land. The boys and girls in the styling department have discarded their cardigans, or whatever the Swedish equivalent is, and rediscovered the world of style. So boring and boxy Volvos are out U tion. Which brings me neatly around to Volvo’s C30 T5 R-Design. Yes, it’s a mouthful but all those badges do actually mean something. The front-wheel drive C30 is Vol- vo’s smallest car sold here; the T5 means it has a turbo five-cylinder engine neatly tucked away under its snout and R-Design is Volvo-speak meaning the car comes dressed in a more sporty, stylish set of the clothes than normal. And just to clear up another point, while Volvo is Swedish, this one comes from Belgium. The T5 R-Design costs almost 10 grand over the price of a normal C30 but Volvo is out to prove a point with this model, that it can match it in motoring’s fashion stakes. The basic car costs $42,450 (plus on- road costs) but the T5 R-Design adds the design styling package ($3700), stylish 18-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels ($1600), Volvo’s excellent blind and sexy curves are in. Cabins have become fashionably cool while safe but pedestrian performance has been replaced with cars which are safer and impress. Evolution? No this is more revolu- NLESS your name is Rip Van Winkle (those under 30 go and look it up), you can’t help but notice something RETRO: The rear styling has a huge glass tailgate. spot detection system BLIS ($1275), Dynaudio premium sound system ($975), a hard load cover ($375) and a whopping $1550 for metallic white paint. That brings the grand total to $51,925 plus registration, stamp duty and insurance. Now in the new car game there are a couple of price point psychological barriers: dealers find it easier to sell a car for $19,990 than $20,500. The second barrier is the $50,000 mark so this latest Volvo steps over the line and by some distance. Despite that, there’s still some value for money here. The now ageing C30 has a couple of minor flaws, but overall it comes well packaged and impresses. The flaws: it’s only a three-door and the front doors are heavy; the boot and rear leg room in this four-seater are less than generous and the fivecylinder motor is not that frugal, returning an average 11.6l/100km for a mix of city and rural running. That, however, is an improvement on the last C30 I drove a couple of years ago which returned 11.9l/100km. The virtues outweigh the niggles: this car has quality written all over it. It feels solid, is tight and has a level of craftsmanship which is class leading. I love the rear retro styling (based on the P1800 coupe driven by Roger Moore in the Saint), with its huge glass tailgate. The C30 has one of most logical dashboard designs in the business and offers perky performance and well balanced manners on the road. The C30 is based on the same platform (and uses the same but modified 2.5-litre turbo engine) as Ford’s XR Focus. The Focus is good for 166kW, the Volvo goes slightly harder with 169kW to play with. The money buys you a comprehen- sive safety package including the BLIS which warns (by shining an orange light near the side mirors) if there is another car in your blind spot, leather seats, park distance control, central locking and airconditioning. You can also tick the boxes for life’s little luxuries like door mirrors that neatly fold flat when you park, fog lamps, headlamps that come on at night when you remotely unlock the doors (great for finding the car in a dark carpark) and washers for the headlamps. The R-design adds 17-inch alloys, mild body kit and ‘‘sports upholstery’’. The five cylinder produces 169kW, plenty of pull from its 320Nm of torque and is well matched to the excellent six-speed manual box. Zero to 100km/h takes a claimed 6.7 seconds.Wedidn’t get a chance to test that but the C30 is quick but doesn’t feel like a firecracker.
August 15th 2009
August 29th 2009