New Car Review: 2013 Volvo C30 T5 M R-Design

Front 3/4 view of the 2013 Volvo C30 T5 M R-Design

Once upon a time, Volvo built a neat little sporty car called the P1800 and, after a few years, the P1800 ES, which had a big glass hatchback.  They were cool-looking cars and went a long way toward furthering Volvo's image as being about more than just rugged, safe boxes on wheels.

A few years back, Volvo gave us the modern-day successor to the P1800 ES, the C30.  In fact, a straightforward stock C30 was one of the first cars reviewed here on TireKicker nearly five years ago.

Rear detail of 2013 Volvo C30 T5 M R-Design
Well, Volvo giveth and Volvo taketh away.  The C30 is now no longer in production, but you can still find a few on dealer lots, and it would be well worth your while to look specifically for the C30 T5 M R-Design.

That means a turbo-charged 5-cylinder engine, just like the stock C30, manual transmission, just like the stock C30 (you can get an automatic)...but it's the R-Design that makes the difference.

For a mere $2,350 above the stock C30,  you get the sport chassis instead of the comfort chassis, allowing you to put the 227 horses and 236 pounds per foot of torque the turbo hands you to much better and more entertaining use.

You'll also get fog lights, blue watch dial instrumentation (a nice look), a leather sport steering wheel with an R-Design emblem, R-Design aluminum inlays, R-Design floor mats,  sport pedals, a front spoiler, a rear spoiler, R-Design rear view mirrors with matte silver finish,  a special R-design front grille, R-Design lower side panels, a bump up to 18 inch wheels from the standard 17s, and some exterior body styling with end pipes.  A nice package for $27,850.  The suspension upgrade alone is worth the price difference over the stock C30.

Rear 3/4 view of 2013 Volvo C30 T5 M R-Design

Really scour the dealerships and you may find what we drove, a C30 with the R-Design Limited Edition Polestar Package.  It's $1,000, but you get another 23 horsepower (taking you to 250),  and another 37 pounds per foot of torque (up to 273) Rebel Blue paint and black 17 inch alloy wheels.  Only 250 got shipped to the US, but it's worth searching out, not only for the extra performance, but the exclusivity that will pay off either in resale or long-term collectability.  A screaming deal at $28,850.

Ours, however, was the C30 R-Design Limited Edition Polestar Package Kitchen Sink Special, as it was also built with the $5,000 Platinum Package (Nav, premium sound, satellite radio, power moonroof, power memory driver's seat, power passenger seat, active Xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, and a digital compass) and the $800 Climate Package (heated front seats, electronic climate control, and an interior air quality system).  With $895 destination charge, that got the bottom line to $35,545.

We're sorry to see the C30 go.  Not only was it one of the inaugural rides when TireKicker was founded, but it's a spacious hatchback (rare enough these days) with strong performance (especially in R-Design Polestar form) and is relatively economical (EPA estimates 21 city/29 highway).