The 2011 Volvo C70 is a sexy librarian. I hate to use the overused metaphor, I really do. But I can’t help it. All buttoned up when the top is up, it’s a good looking car, but not nearly as hot as it is when the glasses come off and she shakes out her hair. This is the best metaphor for the retractable hardtop that converts a sensible sedan into a crazy fun driving experience.
I have been looking forward to the possibility of a convertible test car for a long time and the C70 delivered fun, fast, four-seated enjoyment. As long as it wasn’t too hot outside. In July, the C70 couldn’t battle the intense, direct Colorado sun, so the top stayed on between about 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Like sexy librarians, the convertible stayed its conservative alter-ego until the evening hours. Then look out.
Click HERE to watch as we pit the Volvo against the BMW one series in a topless drag race.
Combining the lowered top with a 5-cylinder turbocharged engine and tight, road-gripping handling is bliss. I loved driving curvy roads in the C70. I couldn’t repress smiles that were ever-present during my week-long test. I turned off the navigation system (sorry, sexy librarian, I don’t need that reference tool when just going for a drive) and drove and drove and drove. While enthusiasts may not settle for anything other than rear-wheel drive, the rest of us will find the C70’s front-wheel drive was still aggressive and very enjoyable (and even a few enthusiasts will probably cop to liking it).
The C70 I tested also had a phenomenal sound system. Everyone was impressed with how this simple, trim vehicle had such wonderful surprises. I could not stop being fascinated by the retractable roof. I also liked the slim console with a grippy cubby behind it. There were covered bins in each door, and they too were grippy so stuff didn’t rattle around. Not that there was an ounce of shimmy in the C70, mind you. It’s just, roads get bumpy sometimes.
My kids just loved putting their hands up like they were on a roller coaster and feeling the wind in their hair. So, about that. The backseat. Is it really a backseat or just a briefcase holder? It’s a backseat, people. My kids sat in the back comfortably, but my husband did have to scootch his seat a little more forward than he would have if there was no one back there. But he wasn’t uncomfortable, just not sprawling. If your kids are younger, the two-door, flipping-the-seat-forward scenario might get old. But for us, it wasn’t that bad and the kids got used to the rigmarole pretty quickly. For young kids, depending on their temperament, it could likely be a constant frustration.
In the trunk, there is room for a decent sized grocery trip if the top is up. When down, you can still fit a couple overnight bags in there as long as you put them in when the top is up and then retract it. Otherwise, the opening to the trunk is pretty narrow. There is a button you push in the trunk that will lift up the retracted roof and create a larger opening, but it’s still on the smaller side. But hey, it’s storing a roof in there for crying out loud. The librarian has to put her glasses somewhere.
Oh yes, don’t forget that librarians are smart. So is the C70. It’s got so much technology wrapped up in a bundle of acronyms almost as confusing as the dewey decimal system. There are SIPS, ROPS, and WHIPS (side-impact protection, roll over protection, whiplash protection) in case you’re worried about the exposed nature of a convertible. ROPS detects when the car has turned past a certain angle and will deploy roll bars accordingly.
The C70’s good looks and flexible nature are disarming for sure. The car is fun, and while I won’t call it a family-mobile, it is a perfect car for weekend fun and running small errands. For small families, it would be an ideal second car. For those without kids, it’s perfect. What you lose in trunk space, you make up for in the back seat. What you want in a convertible can be buttoned up in a snap in inclement weather. What’s there not to love?
Starting at $39,950 MSRP, the C70 is not a budget car. But it is a lot of vehicle, and even more enjoyment. I’m giving it a…
Growing up in Colorado Sara Lacey was always kind to her cars. These
days however, she spends her time punishing automobiles with the help of
her children. Reviewing cars from the unique perspective of a woman
and mom, Sara also writes for MotherProof.com and Cars.com. In addition, she sits on the board of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press Association.
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