What do Volvo cars mean to you? They're Swedish, they're safe and they tend to be a little bit boxy. If that roughly sums up your knowledge of the brand, it's about time you gave it another chance. For a long time Volvo did appear to be trapped in a square prison from a design standpoint but things changed and the C30 hatchback was as instrumental as any model in changing them. The C30 is certainly Swedish and it's very safe but its designers were clearly thinking well outside the box.
The C30 was Volvo's attempt at cashing in on the burgeoning market for premium hatchbacks. That's family hatchback sized cars with premium badges and, hopefully, more of an upmarket theme. The major players in this sector have traditionally been the BMW 1 Series and the Audi A3 but Volvo believed it could muscle in with an overtly sporty little number of its own. The C30's sleek lines borrow heavily from the P1800 ES, the Volvo used by Roger Moore in the original Sixties TV series of 'The Saint', though also employ a big modern twist.