The C30: "a New Breed of Volvo"

by : Glady Reign

For the longest time, Volvo has been known to produce safe but boxy cars. In the past decades though, the company has produced cars which are not only safe but also appeals to the demand and the likes of the younger generation car buyers. Developments in design architecture have allowed Volvo to create a new generation of Volvos.

In the United States auto market, the newest offering of Volvo Cars is its first compact car - the C30. The said compact vehicle is designed by Canadian-born Simon Lamarre. It was unveiled by the Swedish car company owned by the Ford Motor Company at the 2006 Paris Motor Show.

Fredrik Arp, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Volvo Cars, has this to say about the development of their first compact car: "We know there are large numbers of fairly young, successful people who are attracted by our brand, but who still cannot find a model in our range that exactly matches their taste and lifestyle. The Volvo C30 Design Concept was developed precisely for this group. From its inception, the Volvo C30 Project was focused on one primary demographic group: Young urbanites with accelerating careers and intensive, active lifestyles. Customer clinics allowed these people to voice their opinions and give their views on the car's design and technical content."

Meanwhile, HÃ?kan Abrahamsson, the C30 Project Director, has this to add to what Arp stated: "These customers move in a fast paced world between their homes, work, meetings, the gym and their favorite restaurants and nightclubs in town. Many of them describe their ideal mode of transport as nimble car designed to get them where they want to go. They focus on attractive design and entertaining driving properties and rarely have more than two people in the car."

The Volvo C30 combines striking styling cues, high-end entertainment system, high-performance engine, and a safe structure. Some of the design cues employed by the C30 are taken straight out of the Safety Concept Car. According to Abrahamsson, "The Safety Concept Car (SCC) heralded a bold design language for Volvo. Its roots could be found in the classic proportions of the P1800 ES, but there was no denying that it was also a Volvo of the future. As it turned out, the SCC is an excellent reflection of our ambition for the C30 project."

The Volvo C30 employs the Scandinavian luxury theme employed by other Volvo models especially the award-wining Volvo XC90. On the outside, the use of two colors makes the C30 identifiable easily as a Volvo. Outside, the stylish headlamps and grille add to the aesthetic value of the C30. The taillight is unique to the C30 and is one of the more striking exterior design cues employed by the C30. The tailgate of the compact vehicle is a tribute to the past of the carmaker. "'This exclusive and nimble glass tailgate is inspired both by the classic Volvo P1800 ES and the SCC concept car," explains Steve Martin, Volvo Cars' Design Director. "The light pattern is so unusual that you'll never be in any doubt of which car you have in front of you," he added.

The car looks smaller than it really is. While on the outside it looks like a very small car, it is surprisingly roomy inside. The front seats of course offer adequate space for the driver and the passenger, the surprise comes with the rear seats which offer ample legroom and headspace even for grownups. The occupants of the slightly centered rear seats can have a good view through the front without having to adjust their position. Accenting the dashboard of the C30 is Volvo's famous floating center stack. "The space between the seats also showcases Volvo's super-thin, visually floating centre stack, bringing it into full view from behind through the glass tailgate," says Steve Martin.

In terms of entertainment, the C30 packs the Volvo Premium Sound System which is composed of: a 5x130 W digital ICE Power amplifier from Alpine®, Dolby® Pro Logic II Surround and 10 loudspeakers from Dynaudio® of Denmark. This entertainment system complements the efficient parts used in the construction of the vehicle. Its mechanical components were designed to produce less noise while providing efficient operation. Components such as the , suspension assembly, and power window motors to name a few operates without producing much noise or vibration.

Power of the small vehicle comes from 2.4-liter inline five cylinder turbocharged engine. With the added boost of the turbocharger, the engine can produce as much as 260 horsepower at 5500 revs per minute and 350 Nm of torque before it reaches 5000 revs per minute. Transferring the power of the engine to the drive wheels is a precision engineered six-speed manual transmission. With the smooth gear changes and that much power, Volvo claims that the C30 can reach speeds of 100 kilometers per hour from a standstill in just six seconds.

According to Abrahamsson, "Sporty driving characteristics are a must to attract this customer category. A car that radiates muscular agility has to live up to its appearance once you slip behind the steering wheel." Its features include 19-inch aluminum wheels fitted with 19-inch aluminum wheels. Stopping power is provided by four-pot brakes equipped with aluminum calipers and 330 millimeters ventilated brake discs from Brembo. This brake assembly combined with a long list of safety feature that one can expect from a Volvo vehicle makes the C30 one of the safest compact cars in the market.