The Volvo C30 may seem like a drastic departure for the Swedish automaker famous for sedans and wagons shaped like big blocks of cheddar, but in reality, it’s not without significant family ties. Two-door hatchbacks are certainly not what people think of when Volvo enters a conversation, and true enough, the company hasn’t sold one in North America since the 1800ES coupe of the 1970s. But there’s a missing link in the C30’s design evolution, a car intended for American roads but ultimately never brought over here: the Volvo 480. Sold in Europe from 1986-’95, this hatchback reveals a bit more of the family genes.
Like the 1800ES and 480, the Volvo C30 is a small two-door coupe with a large glass hatchback that provides a distinctive look and abundant rear visibility. Like the 480, the C30 features four bucket seats, front-wheel drive, a turbocharged engine and handling that’s sporty but not quite at hot-hatch standards. We’re glad that Volvo has once again deemed us worthy of its spunky entry-level coupe.