15k: Happy Mother’s Day: 2008 Volvo C30

If I was a more fiscally blessed son, I would honor my mother on this Mother’s Day with this Volvo, a summary of everything she needs in a daily driver. For someone finally freed of minivan duty, this sleek turbocharged hatch is actually an efficient, practical mini-wagon in disguise. Find this 2008 Volvo C30 T5 for $14,933 in Detroit, MI. Words by DT contributor slowcarSLOW-MPGlol.

Think of it as a torquey Mini Cooper, or a GTI with a stock Jetta suspension. With a good spec sheet, this 227-horsepower, 3000-pound five-cylinder would make a better driver’s car with firmer suspension, summer tires, and other things the average mom definitely doesn’t care about. Instead, it comes with the upscale 2.0 trim level with a 5-speed automatic, a requisite for the mom on the go.

A Volvo corporate snout is just adequate, but the rear is what you came to see: sensual taillight hips framing the pear-shaped rear glass aped from the venerable 1800ES. Any car drawing comparison to that Daily Turismo mainstay is worthy of ownership by the woman who carried me for nine months in the womb.

The mature if somewhat staid interior includes a steering wheel from a time when automakers didn’t really try to make steering wheels look good. But again, your focus will be on the chic flat console. The scant 47,000 miles have been good to this young Volvo, with only a little darkening on the pale door arm rest.

Any other posting on these pages could find more outright horsepower or racing heritage (or rust). But this is what I would put my mom in. It’s an entertaining 30-mpg runabout with room for four, or two and a flat cargo floor, with something you don’t get in the average economy car: personality.

See a better car for your mother or wife? Post it in the comments below.

slowcarSLOW-MPGlol knows how many licks it takes to reach the center of a Tootsie Pop, and he’s not telling. As someone with a B+ blood type, he considers himself an optimist. Unless it has structural rust.