By replacing the previous-generation soft-top C70 with a retractable-hardtop version in 2006, Volvo created what is arguably the best four-season convertible you can buy. Retractable-hardtop models have an inherent advantage in winter climates, and the C70 is one of few with front-wheel drive (the rest are rear-wheel, not all-wheel). The C70 makes no compromises in terms of comfort, foul-weather ability or safety features.
In its third year, the C70 gets a horsepower bump and a number of cosmetic and feature upgrades.
The two-door coupe features rounded corners and headlamps that are a far cry from the boxy Volvos of yore. The rear window is large, which improves visibility. Overall length is 180.3 inches, while the wheelbase is 103.9 inches. The fully automatic powered top stows away seamlessly into the trunk at the touch of a button, transforming within 30 seconds. A clever access mechanism raises the stacked roof panels so the trunk space isn't wasted when the top is down.
Seventeen-inch aluminum wheels are standard, and bright-alloy 18-inchers are optional, fitted with summer performance tires. (These have to be swapped out for all-season or winter tires to drive safely in cold and/or snow.) A second white paint option, Ice White, joins the existing White Pearl Metallic for 2008.
The C70 seats four adults and features ergonomically shaped front seats. Vinyl upholstery is standard but leather is an option, as is a separate premium soft leather option for 2008 called Sovereign Hide. Oddly, the premium option is cheaper, in a sense, because the regular leather option is a package that includes the HomeLink universal remote garage door opener and a compass in the rearview mirror.
A tilt/telescoping steering wheel is standard. This year Volvo has warmed the interior with laminated oak trim on the center console and doors, where previously there was only metallic trim.
A switch on the backrest of either front seat moves it forward to ease backseat access. Power operation is standard on the driver's seat and optional on the front passenger seat. A private locking system allows certain compartments to be locked with a key from the glove compartment. Long objects can be stored in the trunk by opening a pass-thru between the two rear seating positions.
The standard stereo includes an in-dash six-CD changer, an MP3-player input jack and steering-wheel-mounted controls. Audiophiles can choose a Dynaudio package that includes 12 speakers, Dolby surround sound, two subwoofers and five amplifiers — with independent control over the center and surround speaker levels. Sirius Satellite Radio and a GPS navigation system are optional.
A Climate Package includes heated front seats, headlamp washers and rain-sensing windshield wipers. New for 2008, an optional Convenience Package includes keyless ignition, rear park assist and an internal air quality system.
Under the Hood
For 2008, the C70's sole engine — a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-five-cylinder — gets a power boost from 218 to 227 horsepower. The torque remains 236 pounds-feet. The engine mates with a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic transmission with winter and manual shifting modes.
Though the suspension is designed for touring and delivers a comfortable ride, the C70 has sporty handling.
Excellent crash-test ratings have earned the C70 a Top Safety Pick designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for front, side and rear-impact protection.
The C70 is one of few convertible models to provide side curtain airbags; they inflate upward from the doors. For added protection, these airbags deflate slowly in the event of a rollover. Front occupants are also protected with side-impact airbags. An electronic stability system and antilock brakes are standard. New for 2008 are a tire pressure monitoring system and emergency brake lights, which are taillights that illuminate brighter under hard braking, such as when the antilock brakes activate.
The Blind Spot Information System will be offered later in the year along with power-folding side mirrors. BLIS lights an indicator just inboard of either of the C70's side mirrors when a car occupies its corresponding blind spot.