The C30 could mark the emergence of a species: Volvo rockinus.

By Dan Neil of LA, August 2007

Carl Linnaeus was born to a Lutheran pastor in the province of Smaland in southern Sweden in 1707, which is why you never hear anyone say, "I wish I were like Carl Linnaeus." Linnaeus was a brilliant man, a physician to Sweden's royal court and the preeminent naturalist of his time. Despite said brilliance, Linnaeus was astonished to discover you couldn't grow coffee and bananas in Sweden. His Lutheran minister father could only roll his eyes.

We know Linnaeus today as the inventor of the system of biological taxonomy, which categorizes living things into the groupings kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species. Here's a good mnemonic device to remember: Kobe Plays Canasta On Flabby Governor Schwarzenegger.

What made me think of dear, dead Linnaeus? The new-for-2008 Volvo C30. Like fellow-Swede Linnaeus, Volvo is attempting to cultivate a crop the Gothenburg-based company is not known for: a premium sport hatchback, the like of which has not been attempted since the 1800 ES Wagon in the early '70s. The C30 likewise confounds easy categorization. The company's products fall into a number of genera, including Safe, Family, European (Suburbanus heterosexuali). But it's hard for American consumers to square Volvo with Hip, Sporty, Nocturnal, Male (Metropolitus promiscuous).

And yet, biology isn't necessarily destiny. The C30 is a terrific little car, a hugely entertaining and deftly engineered piece of Scandinavian design entering a market that's just about panting for cooler, and greener, small cars. Arriving many months before the BMW 1-series and wading in against the likes of the Audi A3, the VW GTI and the Mini Cooper, the C30 feels like the emergence of a new species, Volvo rockinus.
Of course, no car is so good that Volvo Corporate can't tie an anchor round its neck and throw it into the Gulf of Bothnia. According to this week's Automotive News Europe, Volvo marketers plan only limited advertising around the C30 launch this fall, in keeping with their modest sales expectations (around 8,000 units annually in the U.S). Allow me to predict a diet of crow: When kidless urbanites start seeing this car on the streets, they will want it.

From the curb-skimming front spoiler to the tips of its bodacious dual exhausts (more rear breathing for a 2.5-liter turbo than is absolutely necessary), the C30 is one of the most successful modern hatchback designs since the Mini Cooper. Sleek and fluent and next-year contemporary, it wears its glass-and-steel exterior like a Size 0 dress.

Mechanically, the C30 is nearly identical to its S40 sedan and V50 wagon siblings -- the wheelbase (103.9 inches) is the same as the S40 -- but overall length (167.4) is 8.7 inches shorter. The short front and rear overhangs give the car a feisty aggressiveness more like an Asian sport import than anything from the land of universal healthcare.

From a formal perspective, the most notable design feature is the car's dramatic tumblehome, which is the inward cant of the canopy toward the roof. This is the sort of fancy concept-car styling that almost never makes it to production -- in this case, because the inward taper cuts down on interior room, which is one reason why the C30 has two bucket seats crammed in the back instead of a three-seat bench. But apparently Volvo's designers, led by then-head of design Peter Horbury, fended off compromise. The result is an upper fuselage that seems to stream back in a darkly glassed teardrop.

As a nod to its Generation D target audience, the C30's two trim levels are called Version 1.0 ($19,995 base price) and Version 2.0 ($22,490). The 2.0 comes with a lowered suspension, 18-inch wheels and a full-skirted aero kit in contrasting color. Fully decked out with all the performance pieces, including Pirelli 245/45 R18 PZero Rossos, the C30 looks like it's graduated from the most ornery outlaw tuner shop in Uppsala.

Both versions are powered by the same turbocharged 2.5-liter, five-cylinder, 227-horsepower engine hooked to the front wheels through either a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic with a manual-shift gate ($1,250). I drove both versions last week and I have to say the manual is the better choice. Obviously, you have more opportunity to leverage the turbo's low-end torque (236 pound-feet at a mere 1,500 rpm) in hard driving; but, also, the clutch is so light, and the uptake so agreeable, that the manual is almost effortless in city driving.

With a dry weight of 2,970 pounds (curb weight is around 3,120 pounds), the C30 -- U.S. models all get the T5 designation -- hasn't got a lot of mass to push around. Zero-to-60 mph acceleration with the manual comes in at about 6.7 seconds, which makes it notably quicker than the Audi A3 with the 2.0-liter motor. I was surprised at how much the C30 loves to run and rev. The turbo engagement is smooth and linear, so that, for all your right foot knows, this might as well by a naturally aspirated engine with one more cylinder. Fully set the spinnaker and this car will sail along at 100 mph without a whiff of complaint.

With the Version 2.0's sport-tuned suspension, the C30 feels well planted and predictable, with unusual amounts of sideways grip from its Pirellis. Even with the car bent into a corner and the power rolled on, there isn't much front-wheel-drive kickback coming through the leather-and-alloy steering wheel. Steering is light and accurate, but not particularly reactive, so you really need to commit to a corner to get the car to turn. The car's balance is inclined toward a confidence-inspiring understeer, but you can get the tail to rotate if you jump out of the throttle. The chassis (front struts, rear multi-links with separate coils and shocks) doesn't seem to mind, but eventually the standard stability control will object and begin to chatter the front brakes.

Volvo's current problem, it seems to me, is its portfolio-wide commitment to the spare, plastic-intensive interior with the floating dash. The rational center of my brain -- assuming there is one -- says that everything is just as it should be, with four rotary dials (the most used functions) arranged around the tightly packed bunch of buttons in the console that looks like a TV remote. But nothing about the current interior look or feel arouses much pleasure. The audio readout is on a rather primitive-looking LCD display. The Audi and VW interiors are visually and tactiley more satisfying.

On the other hand, the Volvo's high-tech cloth seats feel great. The taut leather on the steering wheel and gearshift feels like it's been peeled from King Olaf's marshal baton. Here's a curiosity: One of our test models had floor mats with highly reflective piping, so that in an accident you can take them out and signal for help. I'm just guessing here.

Safety? Got it covered. In addition to standard traction and stability control, the C30 is replete with air bags (dual front, side and side curtain), body reinforcement (the Side Impact Protection System, or SIPS), smart seat belts, Isofix connections for child safety seats. Gadgeteers can opt for the new Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) and the rear parking assist system.

A sugary demitasse of Volvo's usual strong black coffee, the C30 is a charismatic automobile, to be sure. Fun to drive, fun to look at.

I wish the interior had more high-tech veneer. I also wish the thing didn't drink 91 octane, which puts a definitive premium on one's desire for this sporty Euro hatch. I wish the fully kitted version were a better value proposition. Even so, the C30 will open minds and wallets. Here's to the origin of a new species.

Be the first to drive the all-new Volvo C30 during the open-house event at your Volvo Military Sales Agent on September 22, 2007.

For more information, please see:

Volvo on- and off-Road Test Drive introduces the latest Scandinavian Design and Technology prior to the launch of their newest Vehicles

     For two intensive days, Volvo Car Sales, introduced the S40, V50, V70 and XC70 to media members traveling from all corners of the World, including Tel Aviv, Mexico City, Saint Louis and Istanbul.  From June 25th through the 27th, members of the media were introduced to Volvo's newest fleet of cars and were able to test drive them on both the German Autobahns, as well as at the test track at Ehreshoven for the off-road drive. The latest features, including the advanced drive systems that contribute to increased safety margins; upgraded driveline with more cylinders and new turbo technology; dynamic chassis with advanced drive systems; first-class comfort and world class audio system were just a few of the latest Volvo enhancements.  Each vehicle while unique in its appearance and shape, has integrated these latest upgrades along with Volvo's leading safety systems and state of the art design and technology. More

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Acknowledges Volvo C70's Safety Systems

     The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently conducted its first crash tests of several convertibles and has awarded the Volvo C70 as one of their 'Top Safety Picks'.  "For more than 80 years, Volvo has built cars with Safety in mind," states Anne Bélec, President and CEO, Volvo Cars of North America. "We are extremely pleased to have done well in the Institutes' testing program. From the very start of our modern convertible program, our goal was to bring advanced technology and engineering skills into this flagship vehicle."

     The hot-selling Volvo C70 arrived in the U.S. market in 2006 and has set the benchmark for convertible safety in regards to occupant protection with a number of safety systems, including the unique Inflatable Curtain for side impact protection, the use of multiple grades of steel for frontal and rear collisions, and Volvo's Roll Over Protection System (ROPS). More


     When the first XC model from Swedish auto marque Volvo took to the American roads in 1997, sales success and an entirely new Cross Country segment soon followed. 

     Ten year later, the third-generation XC70 makes its North American debut by rolling into the spotlight at the New York International Auto Show.  The original recipe is still intact, but now Volvo's crossover vehicle has added luxury as well as even greater capabilities for adventure. 

     The original XC exceeded Volvo's sales expectations largely based on the vehicle's appeal to consumers in the United States.  For them, the XC70 served the functionality of an SUV, while providing the distinctive Volvo feel of a true premium car.  The term "crossover" emerged. More

Volvo quartet ranked as "best bets"

     Nearly one quarter of Americans are considering buying a new Toyota, while Ford is the top domestic manufacturer for brand perception. Only five brands stand out from the competition – Toyota, Ford, Honda, Volvo and Chevrolet.

     The Car Book is considered to be the consumer’s best car buying guide. In this year’s edition, which is the 27th, the S40, V50, C70 (pictured), and V70 are all listed in the “Best Bet” category. Story  



       Buy your favorite Volvo now and enjoy our special Cruise & Collect trip to the home of Volvo.

All this is included – at an amazing $299 for four*:


Find out how you can Catch the Easter Deal!

Volvo Car Military Sales IPOD Giveaway

     Invites you to join in the exclusive music celebration and take the opportunity to win a state of the art media player. All you have to do is to answer the four questions in our competition and you are a part of the weekly draw. Just visit Volvo Military Sales every Friday to find if you are the lucky winner of the past week.


Top Ratings for Volvo in latest JD Power Survey

On the German market, Volvo gained the highest marks of all European car manufacturers in customer satisfaction. This is the result of the latest "J.D.

Power-Report“, the most important customer satisfaction study for the car industry.

In this survey, 126 car models of 28 brands were rated.  Volvo left all European cars behind - including the German premium brands -   and gained the forth rank behind three Japanese car makes with an index-rating of 82.3%.


In the upper-class category, the Volvo V70 gained the highest scores and was ranked number one with an index of 82.3%. For Volvo, customer satisfaction and permanent quality optimization, as well as high quality of production, safety and generally a strict focus on customer requirements have always been the highest principles. 


A Volvo XC90 for Pope Benedict XVI

Volvo Cars presented His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, with one of its Sport Utility Vehicles.

The keys of the car have been delivered to the Pope in the Vatican, on Wednesday June 28th, with a short ceremony after the Papal Audience.

On Wednesday June 28, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has received the keys of the Volvo XC90 that Volvo Car Corporation has presented him with.

The delivery of the keys to the Pope has taken place in the Vatican, during a short ceremony after the Papal Audience.

To represent Volvo Cars, Gerry Keaney, Vice President Volvo Car Corporation, Marketing Sales and Service, Pascal Bellemans, President Volvo Auto Italia, and Michele Crisci, General Manager Volvo Auto Italia attended.

The Volvo XC90 delivered to the Pope – and fitted for His personal use – is a V8 version. It is a dark blue XC90 with light interiors.

Since its debut, the Volvo XC90 has set the highest standards among SUV when it comes to Safety, in all driving conditions and on any surface. The AWD system (all-wheel drive) allows the car excellent off-road behavior, while ROPS System helps the car avoiding roll-over or reducing consequences of that type of accident.

The Volvo XC90 has also been designed and built not only to protect people on board, but also in order to enhance Safety performances on other vehicles in case of impact.

"We are absolutely happy and proud of the opportunity we had to give a car to the Pope. Safety has always been a no-compromise must for Volvo; no doubt, our strong commitment to safeguard lives could not get a higher and more touching recognition", said Pascal Bellemans, President Volvo Auto Italia. 

High-tech 3.2-liter in-line six-cylinder engine finds its way into new refined Volvo XC90

          Refined and more car like design

          Upgraded interior

          Sharper powertrain range with new, highly advanced 3.2-liter six-cylinder engine

          Focus on driver control including new Park Assist Camera

          World-class audio system with Dynaudio speakers and Dolby Pro Logic II

          50 percent of total sales in the USA


The new XC90 is intended to strengthen Volvo Cars’ position in a SUV market that received the first  XC90 generation with standing ovations.

Continuing success

The Volvo XC90 is an enormous sales success for Volvo Cars. Its original production volume of 50,000 units was successively increased and in 2005, production of the XC90 in the Swedish  Torslanda factory approached 90,000 units. The new, enhanced Volvo XC90 will start production in spring 2006. Story


Volvo Safety, with Children in Mind

New York (April, 2006) - For over 30 years, Volvo has developed child safety systems to help protect its littlest passengers. Throughout those years, Volvo held to the belief that safety protection should be for all occupants, regardless of size or age. While safety is paramount, Volvo also believes that keeping children comfortable is in the best interest of parents, as well as the children themselves.


The Beginning of Modern Child Safety


The impetus for modern child safety was born in Sweden 1963. While watching an American TV program, Bertil Aldman of Chalmers University in Gothenburg noticed the position of the astronauts in the Gemini space capsule. By lying on their backs, in opposite direction to the force of acceleration, they were better able to withstand the acceleration. Professor Aldman believed that this principle could be applied to protect a child in the event of a head-on collision. Story

High-tech 3.2-liter in-line six-cylinder engine finds its way into new refined Volvo XC90

          Refined and more car like design

          Upgraded interior

          Sharper powertrain range with new, highly advanced 3.2-litre six-cylinder engine

          Focus on driver control including new Park Assist Camera

          World-class audio system with Dynaudio speakers and Dolby Pro Logic II

          50 percent of total sales in the USA


     The new XC90 is intended to strengthen Volvo Cars’ position in a SUV market that received the first XC90 generation with standing ovations. Story

Volvo Car Corporation, Accessories - Wireless hands-free function in Volvo cars with Bluetooth® and a mobile telephone

• Automatic connection to the car’s loudspeaker system
• The system recognizes up to four different telephones
• Easy to switch between hands-free and telephone
• Voice dialing promotes traffic

It is now possible to connect a Bluetooth-capable mobile telephone to a Volvo car’s audio and loud-speaker system – totally wirelessly. With the help of the new accessory Volvo Hands-free with Bluetooth®, a mobile telephone becomes an integrated hands-free system with voice dialing.

Volvo Hands-free with Bluetooth® can be fitted in most late-model Volvo cars. The system consists of an electronic control module, a module with function buttons, a dedicated microphone located near the rear-view mirror, and the necessary wiring. The mobile telephone used must be Bluetooth-capable. Once a paired link has been set up with the car’s Bluetooth module, the telephone is recognized and connected automatically when the owner enters the car. Story

Volvo Models Best in Interior Air Quality According to New Study

      An independent survey carried out by the Ecology Center in Detroit shows that the interiors of Volvo’s cars emit lower levels of toxic substances than other car makes.

      The Ecology Center recently presented a study (Toxic at Any Speed: Chemicals in Cars & the Need for Safe Alternatives) of the toxic chemicals used in building car interiors. Flame retardant PBDE and phthalates, whose main use is as a softener in plastics, were included in the study. These chemical substances can migrate from plastics and textiles, particularly at high temperatures. The car’s occupants may thus be exposed to these substances, for instance through the respiratory system. Certain types of phthalates and flame retardants can for instance promote genetic mutations and can subject car occupants to health hazards. The survey reveals that the concentrations of PBDE in dust and on the windscreen are up to five times higher than in the homes of most people, and since many people today spend a lot of time in their cars, car interiors thus have a significant effect on human health.  For More

Volvo iPod Adapter - Volvo opens up to iPod users

Now it will be possible for iPod users to plug their entire music archive into their Volvo’s audio system. Together with supplier PhatNoise Inc and Apple, Volvo Cars has developed an adapter kit for installation in the Volvo S80 from model year 1999 on and in the S60, V70 and XC70 from model year 2001.

     iPod is the world's number one digital music player and allows music lovers to carry their entire music collection with them on the go.  Now with the Volvo iPod Adapter, they can play their music in their Volvo. 

Volvo Seats Get Top Scores in 2006 Thatcham Whiplash Tests

      Once again, Volvo has achieved top scores in the latest, 2006 model year new car whiplash ratings by the UK's Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre in Thatcham¹ which conducted the tests on behalf of the International Insurance Whiplash Prevention Group (IIWPG).

     In fact, Volvo was one of only two manufacturers to achieve top 'Good' scores for every model tested² thanks to its supportive seats which have a fixed head restraint position to ensure they are always in the correct position to offer the best support, and the Volvo Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS) that moves the entire backrest to absorb the impact during a rear-end collision to help reduce the forces on the neck.  Story

Volvo XC90 recommended by American Consumer Guide 2006 

Volvo XC90 has named Recommended in the Premium Midsize SUV category by the American Consumer Guide 2006.

     The yearly consumer guide announces cars and trucks which represent the best overall values in 16 model categories. The 2006 list has 45 vehicles ranked as Best Buys and the same amount of vehicles as Recommended.

     "We drive these vehicles as their owners would, on highway trips, in stop-and-go city driving, for weekend shopping," says Consumer Guide® Automotive Publisher Frank Peiler.

     "That helps us arrive at real world conclusions about them. We also take into account such factors as reliability records, fuel economy, and resale value before we announce a Best Buy or Recommended award." Respected for its experience and objectivity, Consumer Guide® Automotives staff test drives more than 200 new vehicles annually. It divides the automotive market into 16 classes based on vehicle type, size, and price. The segments cover the hundreds of cars, SUVs, minivans, and pickup trucks on sale in the U.S.

     From these, Consumer Guide® Automotive has selected 45 models as 2006 Best Buys--the publication's highest accolade. A Best Buy represents the finest balance of attributes within its class.

The Volvo XC90 was recommended by the Consumer Guide2006.

The all new Volvo C70 – both convertible and coupe!

     It’s ready to take its place in the sun – the all new Volvo C70.  Which also doubles as a coupe! Thanks to a unique three-piece retractable hardtop, customers of the second-generation Volvo C70 can enjoy life without compromise – whether the top is up or down.

     “We’ve succeeded in creating an attractive convertible which, at the mere touch of a button, converts into an equally elegant coupe. The customer gets two cars in one. Both with space for four adults,” says Volvo Cars President and CEO Hans-Olov Olsson. Story

Volvo XC90 V8 – power and pleasure also in extreme winter conditions 

      The new V8 model reinforces the Volvo XC90’s position as one of the most successful SUV models in the premium segment – and the new XC90 V8 is comfortable in all driving conditions, no matter if we are talking about hot deserts or the extreme winter above the Polar Circle.

     The entirely new power train combines power and pleasure with a stable and predictable behavior also in the toughest conditions

Volvo cars aims for environmental leadership in the premium segment 

Environmental care has top priority

• Volvo aims to be one of the environmental leaders in the premium segment
• Innovative technology makes Volvo cars Clean Inside and Out

      Environmental leadership means setting priorities. Volvo has a tradition of environmental care, of providing environmental alternatives today and of dedication to future commitments. This holistic approach gives Volvo Cars an excellent position in the quest for environmental leadership in the future.

Volvo V50 Awarded Prestigious Golden Steering-Wheel Trophy

     The Volvo V50 has been awarded the “Goldenes Lenkrad” (Golden Steering-wheel), a trophy instituted by the German paper “Bild am Sonntag”. This is the second time a Volvo has been awarded the prestigious award

     “This is a great honor and most rewarding for us”, said a proud Hans-Olov Olsson, President and CEO of Volvo Car Corporation at the prize giving ceremony in Berlin.

Volvo seat is benchmark for Whiplash Protection

     All Volvo's car models tested by the International Insurance Whiplash Prevention Group (IIWPG) were found in the best class. Volvo Car Corporation was the only manufacturer to have their entire range achieves the best class rating. 

     "We are very pleased that the Volvo cars have performed in line with our expectations", says Ingrid Skogsmo, Safety Director at Volvo Car Corporation." Tests only show a sliver of what happens in real life. However, this is one of several results that confirm Volvo has the right approach to help reduce neck injuries in rear impacts."

All new Volvo S40 sees stars as it aces NHTSA side impact crash test; Sales up over 29 Percent month-to-date

     The crunch of steel and shattering glass can be one of the most horrific memories of an automobile accident. Unless, of course, the accident isn't really an accident; but instead a highly structured test being conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That was exactly the case recently when NHTSA completed its side impact protection test of the all-new Volvo S40 sport sedan.

     The results: 5 stars for the driver; 5 stars for the passenger. The highest rating the U.S. Government organization grants to passenger vehicles.

New Volvo S40 Earned Top Results in 4 Crash-Tests

    The all-new Volvo S40 combines everything today's car buyer is looking for: Not only exceptional value, vibrant design, style and exhilarating driving characteristics, but also class-leading safety.

Volvo Cars 'Best Manufacturer' in New British Insurance Car Security Awards

Volvo Cars - "Best Manufacturer"
Volvo C70: 2nd in 'Convertible/Roadster' class
All-new Volvo S40 and V50, plus S40/V40 Classic: 2nd in "Family car" class

Long Anticipated – Now Available: Jaguar /Land Rover Military Sales Program

     Overseas service life offers experiences and benefits that most people back home can’t even imagine, such as the Jaguar/ Land Rover Military Sales program. It is a professional organization with international networks and local outlets in Germany, Iceland, Spain and UK. 

All Jaguar/Land Rover Military Sales dealerships are close-by US-Military bases in the respective countries

Volvo US Military Sales offers convenience delivery

    If a US Military customer buys a Volvo at an authorized Volvo US Military agent close-by his base abroad, he can chose between four delivery options:

1.   Factory delivery in Sweden free of charge.

2.   Direct shipment to an US Volvo dealer at customer’s choice free of charge.

3.   Delivery to the Volvo Military agent close-by the base abroad, including 3 years Volvo Home Shipment to an US Volvo dealer at customer’s choice.

4.   Delivery to more than 50 official overseas delivery centers.

      The offer is valid when buying a Volvo from an authorized Volvo US Military agent abroad.


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