In the world of premium hardtop convertibles, Volvo deviates from the standard recipe-typically a rear wheel drive, six cylinder car. Instead, Volvo offers a front wheel drive car, with a five cylinder engine. The current C70 has been around since 2006, but was refreshed for 2011. The most notable features of the new car is the new, sleek front end, LED taillamps, and improved interior materials. Sadly, the six-speed manual transmission was dropped, due to a lack of demand. But stacked against some intense competition, how does the Volvo compare?
Aesthetics are key in this segment, and the Volvo is one handsome car. The Flamenco Red metallic paint is new for 2011, and the C70 looks stunning wearing it. The new front fascia is a dramatic improvement over what was already an attractive car. As a retractable hardtop, Volvo designers have successfully managed to keep the car looking just as svelte with the roof in place. Overall, the C70 is a class act, and difficult to fault.
The classy, understated theme continues to the interior of the C70. Anyone who has had any seat time in an S40/V50/C30 will feel right at home here. The C70 has its own gauge faces and other interior bits to separate itself from its siblings. Overall, the interior was of good quality, and the butter-smooth leather seats drew instant praise. Volvo is known for offering supremely comfortable chairs, and they do not fail here. Even the rear seat offered a decent amount of room, so it’s no problem for another couple to join you for a night out.
Our C70 was fitted with the optional Multimedia Package, which included a Dynaudio sound system, and navigation. The sound quality of the stereo was exceptional, and let’s face it-what fun is a convertible without a superior sound system? The pop-up nav screen, managed by two buttons and a joystick situated on the back of the steering wheel is archaic, and no match for the C70’s competition that offer far sleeker interfaces.
The C70 is offered in the US and Canada with one drivetrain only. A 2.5L turbocharged inline five delivers 227hp, coupled to a five-speed automatic. This is the same drivetrain in the Volvo C30 that The Garage reviewed earlier this year. While we were a bit underwhelmed with the C30, the drivetrain suits the C70’s personality perfectly. You have power available whenever you need it, but no one will mistake the C70 for a sports car. We enjoyed our C70 over a balmy Fourth of July weekend where I live in coastal Connecticut, and it was the perfect car for top down cruising and good fun.
The C70 works well as a closed coupe or convertible, but is not a jack of all trades. The benefits of a fully lined and insulated hardtop coddle the Volvo’s occupants in inclement weather, indeed. But with the roof retracted, you know where it is stowed-in the trunk. Roof up, the Volvo offers an impressive amount of trunk space. Roof down, we still managed to pack in a decent amount of groceries. But for a week in Cape Cod, you’re traveling top up, my friends.
The Volvo C70 is actually a bit of a bargain. With a starting price of $39,950USD, the C70 is a full $5,000 less than a BMW 328i convertible, that has about the same horsepower, but poorer fuel economy. Our C70, with the the aforementioned Multimedia Package, Dynamic Package (18″ wheels, xenon lights), Climate Package and Blind Spot Information System, rang up with an as delivered price of $46,550.
For style conscious buyers seeking a fun in the sun car that can work for you year round, the Volvo C70 is an easy choice. Sure, buyers with an enthusiast bent will be better served with a BMW, but most sun worshippers will be perfectly satisfied with the Volvo’s comfortable ride, quality interior and simple, but sophisticated looks.