Thursday, October 11, 2007, posted by Auto Rider at 7:45 PM

Volvo introduces its new smallest car – the 2008 C30 Hatchback.

The 2008 Volvo C30 Hatchback is based on the front-wheel-drive platform of the Volvo S40 sedan. It comes as a European-style package with four bucket-type seats inside, three doors, and a mostly glass rear tailgate. The design makes it look distinctive on American roads, and thanks to the recognizable Volvo front end one would know immediately that it is a product of the Swedish automaker.

The new C30 is shorter in length by 8 inches than an S40 sedan. However, it is longer by 10 inches than Honda’s five-door Fit, which has a starting retail price of $14,545 with manual transmission and non-turbo four cylinder. By weight, the 2008 C30 is heavier by 770 pounds compared to a Fit.

The 2008 C30 is powered by only one type of engine, which is the same turbocharged five cylinder that of S40 sedan. The engine is capable to boost the horsepower up to 227 -- an edge over Honda’s Fit which has 109 horses from a naturally aspirated four cylinder engine. The C30’s maximum torque is 236 foot-pounds at 1,500 rpm and continues to 5,000 rpm.

The federal government has rated the fuel economy of the new C30 with just 19 miles per gallon in city driving and 28 mpg in highway, with V-6 engines. In this aspect, the Fit with manual ranks higher at 28 mpg in city driving and 34 mpg in highway.

As with the interior, the C30 has more of a European feel as its width measures 70.2 inches. The back seat provides a decent legroom as it measures 34.2 inches. The C30 also provides a cargo spade of 20.2 cubic feet when the back seats are folded.

The 2008 Volvo C30 has a starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $23,445, including the destination charge, with six-speed manual transmission. The five-speed automatic transmission is more expensive by $1,250, having a price of $24,695. Such price makes the C30 fit with other hatchbacks from European car companies, like the 2008 Volkswagen GTI at $23,370 with manual transmission and turbocharged four cylinder, and the Mini Cooper three-door car at $21,000 with manual transmission and turbocharged four cylinder.

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