This week we get feedback on quite the cross section of cars. From the sporty Volvo C30 hatchback to the Mazda CX-9 crossover to the aggressive Dodge Viper, the staff was hopping in and out of some diverse vehicles that recently got the full review treatment on Cars.com.
2008 Volvo C30
- The outrageous Volvo S60 R, now discontinued, probably raised my expectations. The C30 is no S60 R. Neither is it a Volkswagen GTI, but it is a fun car and a nice size. The steering isn’t the best attribute, but saying a Volvo has numb steering is like saying a Hell’s Angel has a tattoo. Having driven it, I still have sticker shock – the good kind, but I wonder if they shouldn’t bring over one of Europe’s smaller and more efficient (please, more efficient) four- or five-cylinder engines and sell it cheaper still. That might be asking too much. Making a car look distinctive isn’t easy these days, so I like the C30’s easily recognized rear window and shape. — Joe Wiesenfelder, senior editor
- For once I took a car out and didn’t see if it could carry my bike. (I think it could, if I took the wheels off, but the narrow width of the cargo opening concerns me.) Anyway, the C30 was peppy and fun to drive around the city and on the highway. I think it fits in the Mini Cooper/Volkswagen GTI crowd, but the C30 stands out as my favorite. It’s got unique styling — it’s not a derivative as the Mini and not as conservative as the GTI. It felt more solid than the Mini, but lighter than the GTI so I could feel it hit the sweet spot.
There is one big issue to check out: There’s a fairly large blind spot over your left shoulder that caused issues when merging. It might be the way I had the seat positioned, but check it out. As much as I like the C30, that might steer me toward another car if I were shopping. It’s the kind of thing you put up with on a test drive, but perhaps not if you have to live with it. Also, if you have long legs you might find the seat doesn’t go back far enough for you to be comfortable. Still, it fit me and, with the manual transmission, it was a nimble, fun car to burn around the city in. — William Jackson, Buying Guides editor, Weekend Athlete
2008 Mazda CX-9