For the same or less money, you can buy a faster, better handling car, or a car with more interior space and luxury. The C30 is in many respects a compromise. Interestingly, the C30's inspiration- Volvo's 1800ES of the '70's, received the same critique. Today, the ES is an iconic, sought after, albeit idiosyncratic, classic. However, since buying a 40 year old car wasn't an option for me, I went for a three year old C30. I find 0-60 in 6.6 secs is plenty fast enough for me! I can sling the car thru tight curves with confidence. The ride is perhaps a bit firmer than I would choose, but then again, I'm a pretty old guy, and compared to the '65 MGB of my youth, it's downright cushy! Gas mileage is decent, but not extraordinary; I'm getting 23-24 mpg around my small city, but I'm not asking for the turbocharger too often either. My car has the R-design option which offers leather, a firmer suspension, and some unique ground effects and trim. With only about 4000 sold annually over the past 5 years (in the US), you will stand out from the crowd. The car's fit and finish says quality and substance. While I wouldn't want to squeeze into the back, my wife and I are quite comfortable in the well-made and very adjustable front seats. The automatic climate control, sound system, and bluetooth phone link are all excellent. The pop-up navigation works well, but is already a bit dated. Volvo safety features abound, which was a big reason I chose the C30. My work in intensive care has made me a little paranoid about small cars, but I feel very safe in this one. The C30 is a unique, well-made sporty car for someone that wants something fun and a little different.
After years of driving Volvo sedans I looked for something sportier in the Volvo family in my price range. I chose the C30 T5, the C70 coupe was my next choice. It came with 18" wheels and low miles and was in good shape. The sacrifice is size and storage. But for a daily commuter and the occasional road trip it is perfect if you don't need a lot of space. From my research on maintenance it is relatively inexpensive compared to higher end hatch coupes. The interior finish is pretty basic but ergonomically it is very comfortable. It's kind of low so getting in and out took some getting used to. Overall, I like the unique styling, handling and value for a car in this category.
This car is wonderful, an absolute joy to drive. It has a very powerful engine for the car's size, will surprise you. The minimalist Swedish design is great as well. Buy this.