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Motoring: Volvo a smart buy

Nauman Farooq | Interrobang | Sports | February 16th, 2009

Times are not the greatest at Volvo. Their cars are not exactly flying off the showroom floor and as a result, Volvo recently announced job cuts.

It's hard to understand, considering they currently have the best looking hatchback in the market, the C30, and the new S80 is certainly one of the best luxury sedans on the market.

It is the same case with the subject of this weeks review, the C70. If you ignore the VW Eos and compare this C70 to cars like the BMW 3-series convertible and the Mercedes-Benz CLK, the Volvo C70 is a pretty good deal.

First of all, you get a very pretty car. A few years ago, if you wanted a C70, you had to choose between the very pretty coupe, and the less-attractive convertible model.

Now you get both for the price of one. You see, like many of the modern convertibles, the C70 is a hardtop convertible. Its folding roof system is very complex and looks very interesting. It sure attracted the crowd in my neighbourhood.

However, I do think the roof could have been even better. For instance, the folding hardtop roof on a VW Eos even has a sliding sunroof, which is very convenient. Mercedes-Benz offers a panoramic-roof option on their SL-series convertible, which would also be a good idea for the C70, but it's not available.

Some work could still be done on its clever, but not clever-enough roof and it's the same story with the interior.

While you get a very well-equipped car with lots of space for four proper sized people, I am afraid the interior stylist was not feeling very inspired. The problem with the interior is that it is a bit too dark, and its “waterfall” centre dash design is not very interesting. Biggest sin was to leave the dials looking so plain and boring. Come on Volvo, some fancy dials surely would help this cars appeal in the showrooms.

This car needs some gimmicks to help it get more people interested in driving it, because when you drive this car, you would absolutely love it.

This is not a sports car and it doesn't pretend to be, and very quickly it shows you how great it is to just cruise and relax. In a C70 you are in no hurry to get to your destination fast, especially since it is very comfortable.

It is also very frugal.

While it has a 2.5-liter, five-cylinder, 20-valve engine that produces 227hp and 236 lb/ft of torque, mated to either a five-speed automatic or a six-speed manual (as in my tester), this front-wheel drive coupe/convertible managed to give me a very respectable 9.5-liters/100km on a mix of city and highway driving.

That is very good, so you certainly don't have to be stressed about spending loads of money at the gas station every few days.

The Volvo C70 is a nice car, certainly worth its base price of $52,095. While it might not be perfect, it turned out to be much better than I was expecting it to be. It certainly grows on you, the more you drive the more you enjoy it.

I have driven many cars this year, including some truly great performance machines, and from an overall experience, this C70 is certainly one of the best I got to test this year. In these ever-stricter speed-controlling times, who needs a Nissan GT-R? That'll just get your licensed suspended in under four-seconds. In a C70, you never fear of going too fast (not that it can't) because it doesn't encourage you to. Instead it encourages you to drive sensibly and in return doesn't use up too much gas and provides you with all the comfort you may require. This is a good car, and if you are in the market for such a car, do look into a C70 very closely; I am sure you will like it too.
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