K2 Interview: NeedThatCar.com Talks Volvo C30, Mini, & Hot Wheels

The following is an interview conducted by DT’s field reporter, K2 Mystery Car. Take it away K2:  Your intrepid reporter here, K2 Mystery Car, this time with a Volvo C30 owner’s experiences and thoughts in relation to the Tuesday, June
9, 2015 post “New Car Tuesday: 2015 Mini Cooper S”.

K2MC: Hello needthatcar.com, thanks for taking the time to share your experiences with your 2008 Volvo C30. Tell us a little about yourself.

Needthatcar.com: I’ve been into cars since I first started playing with Hot Wheels back when. I grew up loving the Dukes of Hazzard and Knight Rider. When I was 7 years old, my dad put a 231 aluminum block Buick V8 in a 1952 Willy’s Jeep and the family went wheeling at Canyonlands National Park. I guess that Jeep really got me started. I’ve owned hundreds of old cars from junkers to full-on show cars. As for my daily drivers, I go through them like socks though I’ve had the C30 for three years. It’s such a brilliant little car.

K2MC: Have you owned Volvos in the past?

Needthatcar: This is my first Volvo.

K2MC: What drew you to the C30?

Needthatcar: I first drove a C30 in 2008 right after they came out and loved it. Loved the styling, the slick interior, and most of all, that hatch! It’s a sexy little car with slick but muscular styling.

K2MC: Did you buy your C30 new or used?

Needthatcar: I saw mine on a lot in 2012 while looking at a Mercedes GLK for my girlfriend. The car looked brand new but it had 70k miles on it. She didn’t buy the GLK but I bought the C30. It’s got 107k on it now, mostly trouble free.

K2MC: Which variant is it (T5 or R-Design), which options are on it and how many miles have you put on it?

Needthatcar: Mine is an R-Design. Most importantly, it’s got the 6-speed. Leather interior, dynaudio stereo, heated seats and 18″ wheels.

K2MC: How would you compare it to a MINI Cooper?

Needthatcar: They’re apples and oranges. To a man, everyone who test drives them both on the same day (me, included) would say the MINI is more fun and engaging. A close friend has a MINI and I’ve driven it a lot; it’s super fun. The Volvo can put up the same numbers in the 0-60, 1/4 mile, and slalom, but it also treats the driver much better. It’s quiet and comfortable with probably the best automotive seats I’ve ever experienced. But you don’t get that seat-of-the-pants feedback from the car. That said, if you don’t use the MINI as your basis for comparison, the Volvo is eager, quick and has great manners. I’ve often referred to it as sure-footed. For a daily driver, give me the Volvo any day over the MINI but for a romp up the canyon, I’d probably choose the MINI. One number the Volvo doesn’t match is MPG; mine gets 20/40 while the MINI is closer to 30/37.

K2MC: Have you ever driven any of the other P1/C1 platform-based vehicles like the Focus, Mazda3, MKC, Escape, S40/V50/C70 or Transit Connect?

Needthatcar: Only the V50, which is remarkably similar to the C30 from the driver’s seat. I’d love a 2010 V50 with the R-Design trim package.

K2MC: What’s gone wrong with your C30?

Needthatcar: It likes to warp brake rotors because the brakes aren’t as big as they should be, it had a crankcase ventilation problem which was covered by a recall and the sunroof leaks. That’s about it.

K2MC: What would you improve on the C30?

Needthatcar: Bigger brakes and remove the sunroof; I’m tall and could use the extra headroom.

K2MC: Would you compare the C30 more to a GTI or Golf than the MINI?

Needthatcar: Yes, I think that’s a better comparison. Amongst “premium hatch”, including the MINI, I really think the Volvo C30 is just far more polished than the others. Not better, just more mature.

K2MC: For you, what’s been your final impression of the car?

Needthatcar: I bought the car for the styling and kept it for the comfort and performance. I added a trailer hitch, making it super handy. But it needs bigger brakes! I’ve warped two sets of front rotors and I’m not even that hard on the brakes. It’s also a really good car for dating. It doesn’t have the BMW stigma but it’s still a “premium” brand and chicks dig it.

K2MC: Thank you for your time!

Needthatcar: No problem.

For a listing of all Volvo C30s offered on eBay right now, click this link here.

DT’s pick of the current live auctions include this 2011 C30 R Design with 6-speed manual gearbox, offered for $21,000 or best offer, here on eBay, located in Orlando, FL. It has 26k miles on the odometer, has a few aftermarket modifications, but looks in good condition.

If that is a bit rich for you, there is this 2008 Volvo C30 T5, offered here on eBay with opening bid at $15,000 reserve-not-met, located in Red Bank, NJ. It has only 2,980 miles on the odometer and a 5-speed manual gearbox; what more could you want?

Images from https://www.media.volvocars.com/us/en-u.