Hot Hatches – boy, how I love ‘em, whether it’s the celebrated green chile pepper from New Mexico or a cool baby wagon from an automaker such as Audi, Mazda or Volvo. Unfortunately we have to bid farewell to one of them, the Volvo C30.
C30 is the baby in the Volvo lineup here in the States. It was launched in 2006 to give Germany a run for its money in the premium sport hatch segment. It’s my guess that during development Volvo engineers nicknamed the C30 “Jack,” as in “Jack be nimble, Jack be quick.” It certainly is. But alas, we have learned the 2013 model is the swansong edition for C30 here and what better way to go out in style than to deliver a super hot Polestar edition.
Polestar is a performance group that takes certain Volvo models and tweaks and tunes them further than what the factory is capable of. I recently spent a week behind the wheel of one of the unique limited edition cars and enjoyed every moment.
I was surprised by the long gears (and therefore, extended powerband) in the C30. I found it very easy to sneak up on posted speed limits and then say adios to them. Our tester was powered by the smooth turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder T5 powerplant backed by slick six-speed manual gearbox. From the factory, this engine produces a fun 227hp but then Polestar finds another 23 ponies to bring the total to 250hp and 273 lb. ft. of torque for just an all-out fun driving experience.
Power delivery is smooth, strong and consistent. C30 is front-wheel driven and in corners reminds you of the weight up front but that quickly goes away as soon as you straighten up that sporty steering wheel.
The chassis is solid and the car, despite its size, feels very rigid and, in return, safe. Dynamic Stability and Traction Control is standard as are a host of other safety technologies. Heck, if there is one thing Volvo knows, it’s safety. C30 (along with models like the S60) are proving Volvo also knows a thing or two about making vehicles fun to drive.
Despite being around since the middle of the last decade, C30 styling is still very modern and chic – in the past I have gone so far as to compare Volvo models with an Ikea store and a lot of folks love Ikea, so…there ya go.
More? You want more?
Well how about this R-Design/Polestar package our test model was wrapped in. It features styling enhancements that include a body color body kit and spoilers as well as a new sport chassis featuring slightly reduced ride height for improved handling and performance.
Our R-Design C30 rode on stylish 18-inch alloy wheels with all-season low profile rubber and was finished with polished 3 ½-inch exhaust tips. The farewell car was bathed in Rebel Blue body color that found critics polarized in opinion.
Fuel economy rolls in at 21 mpg city and 29 mpg highway although I am quite certain my figures varied a bit from these.
Inside, the C30 is quite comfortable while not giving up anything on style points or function. The “floating” center stack features audio and climate controls while a navigation system rises from the top center of the dash pad adjacent to the center speaker of yet another awesome Volvo audio system.
The hot little C30 Polestar rolled in here at $35,545. It’s sad to see it departing the U.S. market but perhaps some day when global economic conditions ease we will see the return of this great little hatch. For now we bid you a fond farewell: Adios, amigo; adieu; auf wiedersehen; tot ziens; hej då.