2011 Volvo C70
Base price: $39,950
As tested: $46,550
MPG: 19 city/28 highway
- Two-in-one hardtop convertible
- Excellent crash test results
- Appealing new design, comfortable chairs
- Bland, uninspiring, not much fun to drive
- Competing brands offer better bang for the buck
- Minimal trunk space with top down
By Jim Prueter
C70 Retractable hardtop gets redesigned for 2011
One of the first vehicles for the 2011 model year is the newly redesigned Volvo C70 retractable hardtop. Basically the convertible version of Volvo’s S40 and V50 models, its exterior bodywork bears a strong resemblance to the Swedish automaker’s recently released XC60 mid-sized crossover vehicle.
The power-retractable steel-roof hardtop folds into the dual-hinged trunk and completely stacks inside the trunk in 30 seconds with the touch of a button. The hardtop adds body rigidity and better noise isolation than that provided by a cloth convertible top.
So subtle are the exterior changes from the previous generation C70, it practically takes parking both vehicles side-by-side to discern the difference. The headlamps have been moved higher on the fenders with a more swept-back look to complement the sharper edged front end. It looks sleeker. Front fascia air intakes are larger and the only thing new out back are LED taillights — again, similar to the XC60.
The wheels sport a new design and Volvo has added two new exterior body colors for 2011. Headlamp washers, 18-inch wheels and rear park assist are new options.
The interior is redesigned with a wider, retextured instrument panel and improved leather seating material.
The C70 is available in just one trim level, T5, and is generally well-equipped with most desirable features, including 17-inch alloy wheels, power seats/mirrors/windows, dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control and leather seating all standard.
Options include the multimedia package ($2600) with navigation and premium audio sound system, dynamic package ($1900) including upgraded 18-inch wheels and tires, Xenon headlamps, sport steering wheel, heated front seats and rain sensing wipers. A blind spot warning system ($700), and metallic paint ($550) are other optional offerings.
The C70 is powered by just one engine choice, a 2.5-liter five-cylinder turbocharged all aluminum engine that produces 227 horsepower. The front-wheel drive C70 is offered with a five-speed automatic transmission as standard equipment.
We thought the engine was unusually noisy, especially under full acceleration.
Safety gear includes the standard assortment of Volvo’s renowned features including electronic stability control, rollover protection system, head protection system and curtain airbags that deploy from the doors. Crash test results are excellent.
As expected, the C70 was very quiet with the steel top up. Driving with the top down was another matter though; there was a bit more wind turbulence than I expected and it seemed noisier than other convertibles. However, I didn’t notice cowl shake that is common to most convertibles — especially on rough roads — a tribute to solid Volvo construction and improved chassis stiffening.
Our biggest gripe about the C70 is that it just isn’t much fun to drive, lacking the blithe spirit, performance, handling and appeal found in brands like BMW, Audi and Infiniti.
The C70 is built in Udevella, Sweden. Basic warranty is four years/50,000 miles. Volvo expects to import about 6,000 per year to the U.S. Premium fuel is required.
With a base price of $39,950, the C70 is priced comparatively to the Lexus IS 250C and a bit less than the Infiniti G36 retractable at $44,350. We much preferred the Lexus and Infiniti over the C70. One also has to wonder if it’s that much better than the Volkswagen Eos retractable with a starting price of just $32,390, powered by a 3.2-liter 250-horsepower V-6 engine that performs significantly better than Volvo’s inline five-cylinder.