The cars we loved.
The C30’s biggest claim to fame might have been being the car driven by a vampire in the first Twilight film. An odd choice where car casting goes, and not the most goth of cars. But the choice starts making sense when you consider that Volvo has quietly been trying to remake it’s self by gleaning consumers away from the safety and only safety attributes that made the company famous. Just to show how dangerous and sexy Volvo had become, Edward, the star vampire maneuvers his rear wheel drive coupe around in daring fashion, doing a controlled power slide under the vail of night (and wet pavement no less).
I don’t know if sales of the C30 improved, but perceptions might have. The small coupe is offered with straight 4 and 5 cylinder engines ranging from a 1.8 L four (123 hp) all the way up to the turbocharged 2.6 L 5 making 227 hp. As a premium entry-level coupe (a category BMW owns in the US), the bulk of the C30’s sales have come from Europe, where premium hatchbacks are much more popular than they are in America. The C30’s distinctive hatchback design resembles that of a station wagon with lines that manage to be somewhat clunky and sporty at the same time. Either way you either love or hate it. The difficult proposition is represented in sales, with 75% of all C30s going to Europe.
Representing the sales hierarchy of the US market, only one engine was offered when it was introduced to the American market in 2007. While in Canada, you could get 2.4 L 4 cylinder while in the US only the 5 cylinder in turbo and naturally aspirated versions were sold. Two trim lines were offered with computer software like nomenclature (version 1.0 and 2.0), later changed to T5 and R-Design. The R version had unique badges and was almost always a turbo. The c30 has performed well in comparison tests against similar cars including VW’s Rabbit and Audi’s A3. It may be too early to tell if the public approves, but early circumstantial evidence suggests that it’s not selling like VW’s Rabbit or even BMW’s Mini.
The C30 featured a refreshed design in 2009’s Frankfurt Motor Show. The changes for the 2010 model year included a redesigned front end and grill. Other subtle changes, but the interior remained largely unchanged. The styling direction moves more to that of Japanese cars, most notably Lexus. This may be a mistake, because if a European car looses it’s Euro character, that it’s lost much of its appeal in America. It’s still too early to say if the C30 will be featured in the next Twilight film. If not Edward may have moved on as most American buyers do when it comes to hatchbacks.