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2012 Volvo C30 T5 R-Design Polestar Review & Test Drive

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Filed under Automotive, Featured, Test Drives, Volvo


When you think of Volvo you think of its great safety record-solid and strong. With the new Volvo C30 T5 R-Design ‘Polestar’ edition you can add a thrilling and exciting ride with great sport coupe aggressive looks and a comfortable, sports car inspired cabin.  The new C30 T5 R-Design ‘Polestar’ is now about attitude and it comes with the looks and performance to back it up.

Last year Volvo designers gave the C30 an all-new front with a radically altered  fascia, fenders, trapezoidal headlights and honeycomb grille wearing an enlarged Volvo iron mark.  Along with the angled lines from the front bumper, the headlight style reinforces the impression of speed and sport.  The contours of the muscular rear bumper were made curvier, more dynamic with a spoiler mounted to the top of the glass liftgate and uniquely styled diffuser with wide, dual chrome-tipped exhaust tips.  The ten piece aero kit gives the overall look an even more aggressive stance and further lowers the center of gravity increasing its already great handling capabilities.

Moving the new C30 T5 R-Design ‘Polestar’ is Volvo’s 2.5 liter, all-aluminum, continuous variable valve time with variable intake timing, turbocharged, 5-cylinder engine that generates 227hp at 5,000rpm and 236lb.ft. of torque at 1,500-5,000rpm.  The potent engine is mated to a standard, smooth shifting short throw six-speed manual or an optional five-speed ‘Geartronic’ automatic with Auto-Stick sequential gearbox turning the front wheels.  I tested the six-speed and found it to be fun and easy to change gears, up or down, making the ride even more fun, easy and exciting to drive.

Thanks to its compact size and clever aero design, the Volvo C30 T5 R-Design ‘Polestar’ is as fun to drive as it is to admire.  I couldn’t believe how many people came over to me when getting out of or into the car when parked to ask who the automaker was and when I told them it was a Volvo they couldn’t believe me until they noticed the Volvo marque on the front grille.  Its generous front and rear tracks and a relatively long wheelbase contribute to inspiring and stable driving characteristics.  The chassis, with MacPherson front suspension and a multi-link rear axle, is optimized to provide outstanding control and precise response to my inputs, and it really does.  The tubular strut tower brace only adds to the road hugging capabilities. It wants to go faster and to drive harder, a true mark of a performance sporty coupe.  A sport chassis, standard on the C30 T5 R-design ‘Pole Star’, provides enhanced chassis dynamics and steering reflexes.  Compared to the T5, spring stiffness for the R-Design is increased by 30% while the dampers feature a mono-tube design that builds-up pressure quicker for 20% increased low-speed damping.  Steering is more precise thanks to stiffer bushings and a 10% quicker steering ratio.

Slowing the new C30 T5 R-Design ‘Polestar’ down from speed are steel disc brakes at all four corners.  Up front are 11.8 inch vented rotors clamped with dual-piston calipers, and 11 inch solid discs clamped by single-pistons calipers.

The feel is very strong and linear, smoothly and quickly slowing down for traffic up ahead or for stop lights and stop signs, but you’ll love the take-off as this Volvo gets to 60mph from a standstill in just 6.2 seconds.  Standard ABS, EBD, BA, Traction Control and Stability Control all work together to keep you in control during severe braking maneuvers.

This Volvo rides on large 18X7 inch Midir alloy wheels wrapped with 215/45R18 inch low-profile, high-performance radial tires for excellent grip, great traction and a compliant ride over poorly paved road surfaces.

Open the doors and be greeted by a spacious, comfortable cabin with sport cues that you will appreciate.  This model comes standard with power-adjustable heated front bucket seats that are comfortable and very supportive with a three-driver memory function.  Also coming standard is automatic dual climate control, power glass sunroof, LED daytime running lights, soft-touch dashboard material, rear cargo cover, Volvo Premium Sound System with Dolby Pro Logic II Surround Sound, 10-speakers with 650-watts, XM satellite radio with NavTraffic, a TomTom Navigation System with Remote Control, power windows with express up/down, power door locks, folding rear seats to enlarge the cargo carrying capabilities, rear center armrest, security alarm, cruise-control, variable/intermittent wipers, headlight  washers, rear wiper/washer, dual map lights, storage pockets in each front door, center console with dual cupholders/storage bin, aluminum trim on the center stack/console and door pulls, power remote sideview mirrors and a self-dimming rearview mirror.

Sporty cues include a sporty, and beefy, three-spoke, leather wrapped/aluminum trimmed, tilt/telescoping steering wheel that feels great in your hands, a perfectly placed leather/aluminum stick shifter, easy-to-see blue lit gauge cluster, and aluminum/rubber insert foot pedals.

Standard safety features include Volvo’s patented front structure.  Divided into zones, it incorporates different deformation properties with the outer zones accounting for most of the deformation in a front collision.  To ensure that each zone has the right characteristics, the quality of the steel has been varied.  Four different types are used.  Different steel grades are also used in the rear to help protect occupants in the event of a rear-end collision.  Also standard are four-three-point safety belts with front pretensioners/load limiters, front/side impact airbags, inflatable curtain side impact head protection, Volvo Whiplash Protection system with active front and four padded head restraints, tire pressure monitor system, rear foglamps, intelligent driver information system, LATCH rear child seat anchors and steel beams in each front door.

The new Volvo C30 T5 R-Design ‘Polestar’ is your older neighbors Volvo because today this new model turns heads, keeps you deep into your high back bucket seats are you cruise around looking for curves ahead to challenge quickening your pulse and bring more driving thrills and excitement to the Volvo brand.  I was totally impressed with this new Volvo and only expect even more aggressive looks, power, performance, comfort and safety in the next model years ahead.



  • Price: As-Tested C30 T5 R-Design Polestar $35,720.00 including destination charges
  • Wheelbase: 103.9 inches
  • Total length: 167.4 inches
  • Total width: 70.2 inches
  • Total height: 57 inches
  • Track: f/r-60.4/60.3  inches
  • Turning circle: 38.1 ft.
  • Headroom: f/r-38.3/37.8 inches
  • Legroom: f/r-41.6/34.2 inches
  • Curb weight: 3,200 lbs.
  • Towing: up to 2,000 lbs.
  • Cargo capacity: 12.9 cu.ft. rear seats up/20.2 cu.ft. rear seats down
  • 0-60 mph: 6.2 seconds
  • EPA mileage: 21mpg/city, 29mpg/highway



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