UK Car Road Test

Volvo C70 Cabriolet 2.0T 2002

 


 

 

 

 

UK Car road test Volvo C70 Cabriolet 2.0 T

2002 Model

The original Saints car converted.

 

 

 

Originally introduced in 1969 the P1800 coupe was ever popular. This C70 was recognised as the long awaited replacement in 1997. However it took Volvo a few more years to make it a sexy topless model. I thought the Swede's were open and evocative, if so why did this baby take so long to conceive? 

 

This car tested is the 2.0 Turbo model it shares it's engine and gearbox with other Volvos such as the S60, and apart from some electronics and a few mechanical components this car is very unique.
When thinking of a sports cabrio you tend to imagine a two seater which is compact and having a road clearance just over the height of a discarded cigarette but.

Not this one, your very first impression  is its physical size, it is longer than some estate cars, and it has four seats, the rear offering more room than many sports coupes. The original thoughts of a small car destroyed at first sight, not too bad though it looks a very impressive car which led me to think what a pleasure it would be to drive it with my children in tow, allowing the pleasure to all of us a one time, experiencing the freedom of the open road with the wind in our hair.. But f course the mere thought of children detracted from the dream and made me feel old! aged enough even to own a Volvo. mmmm 

Without any type of logos attached to this vehicle you would know it was a Volvo. The seating is very typical of others in the Volvo range they are of course very comfortable and supportive, this is also matched by their quality and weight.
This car tested was very well finished in a turquoise blue with a cream leather, usually not to my personal taste. I did considerably like the combination in this car combining with the colour coded blue mohair roof it passed the initial test we all apply to our cars. How does it look? I could not ever keep this car clean and accept that it would be totally impractical for a day to day run around for me personally because I'm basically untidy and treat any car as a machine. This car it more like your best clothes wardrobe and needs be steamed and pressed frequently to keep its delicate and clean appearance.

Inside out this C70 is stunning and deserves to live in sunny California and not the 90% dull UK. Still here it resides amongst many other cars of it's ilk. I rather question how such a wet area such as the UK manages to import so many unsuitable cars. I guess you only have to look at these pictures and you do imagine the occasional day on an open road with the sun shining and a perfect partner next to you and the whole thing becomes clear. Well clear enough to dream of.

The C70 coupe is a very cool car and this soft top version is better. The body lines and shapely exterior are very eye-catching in themselves. Volvo have also only painted these cars in stylish colours here, and are rarely any reds generally no greens and  yes no yellows. What a good ploy by Volvo, as this helps to keep good residuals. After-market sales depend on appeal to the next customer. So a perfect pink as chosen by Penelope is not going to sell to a Paul later. The alloys on this car were standard and nice enough even though I considered them a little small to give an impact to the appearance. That is really all I considered to be sub standard. Everything else from the coded door mouldings and mirrors, the subtle 3rd rear brake light and even the headlamp wash wipe system were all added without being obtrusive.

 

The C70 range is very well equipment and the basic entry level has many modern gismos. This cabriolet even had climate controlled air conditioning fitted. Very nice it is when the roof is up or you need to de-mist the front screen on a rainy day which we do get often. I considered the equipment level in this C70 to be at the level I would expect, some of the best features were the automatic windows working with the electric hood. The roof incidentally worked at a very quick tempo, You could comfortably operate it between traffic light changes if you were chancy enough. The switches for the windows are located on the drivers door panel which I think is the best place for them, the stereo is easy to use and very simple to understand, it accepts tapes as well as the now antiquated c90's if anybody has any of them any more. Maybe a Volvo owner would? The sound is of very good quality able to perform the Sugar Plumb Fairy with style or thrash out the Clash, whatever the music it sounds a lot better than it looks.

Style with simplicity. Very good sound, questionable looks.
On-Off fast-slow, could not be easier. Very easy to use.

 

The most concerning feature on the interior of this car is the white leather trimmed steering wheel. I would need to wash my hands every time before holding it, it is not that I'm in any way dirty, just imagine wearing the same shirt for a year and seeing how dirty the collar becomes. This steering wheel would be the same and obviously so.

 

Air Conditioning
Air Conditioning
Cigarette Lighter
Cigarette Lighter
Cruise Control
Cruise Control
Electric Mirrors
Electric Mirrors
Electric Operated Soft Top
Electric Operated Soft Top
Electric Windows front
Electric Windows front
Heated Mirrors
Heated Mirrors
Illuminated Passenger Vanity Mirror
Illuminated Passenger Vanity Mirror
Leather Upholstery
Leather Upholstery
Multiplay CD
Multiplay CD
Radio Cassette
Radio Cassette
Trip Counter
Trip Counter

 

The C70 has many engines to choose from this 2.0 Turbo to a 2.4 turbo and non turbo version and the top dog is the 2.3 high output which is awesomely fast. Transmissions are standard five speed manual or boring autos.

This particular engine is a five cylinder, dohc, 20V, turbo boosted, transverse mounted, all aluminium unit. For a mere 2.0 it looks huge and would easily pass in size at least for a 3.0l plus. The shear size of the engine which occupies most of the engine compartment suggests what an extraordinary power output it's going to have. On paper it produces 163 bhp and will zoom to sixty in 9.9 seconds not a slouch, not quick either.

The gearbox is also light weight alloy and drives the front wheels aided by an electronic traction control system.

Once seated in this car with the roof down with the sun on you if you are lucky, you would not care too much about the mechanics of this car. With style you would simply cruise and enjoy the ride. Racing the engine or driving quickly would simply detract from the whole experience.

Once started the engine clearly and undoubtedly suggests it's a five cylinder. The pitch from the exhaust and the grunt from the engine itself is unmistakable. I do like fives, I must say that there few engines which give equal satisfaction to revving them up. Blip the throttle and the tacho speedily climbs with ease and implies hoses and lots of them. Gear selection is very slick for such a large car and aided with a hydraulic clutch it is quite elementary. Allow the clutch to grip and the car smoothly advances with grace and leisurely invites you to select the next gear. Every gear-change is rewarding as the car picks up its speed. With the roof down, the wind and road noise is very low, this somewhat detracts from the sensation of speed, you are not at all perturbed to travel at high speed, such is the quality and aerodynamics. So far so good.
Once I had covered some miles I started to drive the car more aggressively encouraging the five pots to vocalise the exhaust . The exhaust sounded great but the tacho started to seam very sluggish, in 1st and second gear the engine spun up to it's red line without difficulty, 3rd and 4th were akin to a donkey and not a thoroughbred. The engine completely lacked any oomph, it sounded great as it revved up, but did not deliver any power as it suggested it would, I found myself driving it similar to a two stroke,  keeping the engine revolving frantically to access any proportional power. Very disappointed with this I soon became disgruntled and frustrated, tainting the very good initial impressions formed on this super car. 

Service Interval Insurance Group Safety Rating Smog Rating
12000 15 Not Available Band (D)
Engine BHP CC Fuel Inj.
5 Cylinder 20 Valve DOHC 163 1984 Yes
Cyl Camshafts Valves/cyl Compressor
5 Double 4 None
Top Speed 0 to 60 BHP per Tonne
124mph 9.9seconds 113
MPG@Urban MPG@Cruise MPG@Speed Fuel Type
20.9mpg 38.2mpg 29.1mpg Unleaded

Frustration with the engine output is soothed by the wonderful engineering working to give this open top a most comfortable carriage.

The suspension is fully independent with anti roll bars front and rear combining with a reinforced floor-pan to assist with the prevention of body roll. The cabriolet steering wheel dance is present in this car, it is negligible accepted and much better than many other cars, still it's there. To give a real credit though it is no more than a Merc SL I had the pleasure of driving last year. The size of this car and the general robust typical Volvo construction is very apparent.

 

Alloy Wheels
Alloy Wheels
Catalytic Converter
Catalytic Converter
Disc Brakes Front & Rear
Disc Brakes Front & Rear
External Temperature Gauge Fitted
External Temperature Gauge Fitted
Front Fog lamps fitted
Front Fog lamps fitted
Halogen Head Lights
Halogen Head Lights
Height Adjustable Headlight Aim
Height Adjustable Headlight Aim
Independent Suspension
Independent Suspension
Intermittent Wash Wipe
Intermittent Wash Wipe
Power Assisted Steering
Power Assisted Steering
Rev Counter
Rev Counter
Service Level Indicator
Service Level Indicator
Traction Control
Traction Control

The sills are strengthened and the door frames are altered to give more body strength than the coupe version, it is not though as good in handling characteristics. The coupe is outstanding for a front wheel drive car and this cabriolet is a very close cousin. At low speed the power steering is very light and allows easy manouveabilty of this car, At speed it gives great feedback and only under-steers when extremely great forces are applied. Most drivers would not notice at all these points and they may seem negative, this is not the case at all, having driven lots of soft top cars I would place this C70 amongst the best. Throw this car into a corner at speed and it is very controllable, predictable and extremely manageable. OK this one was only the 2.0T and the 2.4T may challenge the chassis more, it most certainly though would not falter in its fundamental roll or indeed be incapable of handling a great deal more oomph.

Braking in all Volvos is assured and this C70 is no exception. ABS is standard and disc drakes are fitted to all corners, with vented at the front. The power to the wheels is greatly amplified from the foot pedal, the car stops without any effort or fuss from 5mph to 70mph without any difference. The ABS system is monitored by the traction control system which I must say is a little OTT. The 2.0T is not really powerful enough to be contained by Volvo's STC unless it's wet and you are attempting to turn at 90* angle.

 

 

Volvo are considered one of the safest cars on our roads. Standard equipment on all current models are SIPS "side impact protection system" air bags, pre tensioned seats belts and lots more features. This convertible also has the ROPS which I guess is "roll over protection system". With a large part of the body shell missing on this car overall strength must be compromised. It is not noticed that it is at all, opening and closing the doors suggests the shell is as rigid as needs be.
I once obliterated a Subaru Impreza Turbo by rolling it which can be viewed in its own road test on this site. Once seen you will agree that no soft top car would preserve the driver as the Scooby Doo did. The protection offered is the front windscreen pillar and the ROPS system at the rear. If traveling upside down one would think your head would be scalped more by the tarmac than a Red Indian. Ultimately the car has super strength and I am sure would be equal to any impact of another car of it's size and weight. But I cannot imagine the consequence of rolling one.

ROPS for those people who are less than 5ft tall.

Super strength windscreen pillar.

 

Rolled cars are very rare and with that in mind the safety of this is very good throughout. Air bags alone combined with the seat belts are ample protection for moderate to hard impacts. Anti theft stereos are fitted, which will only fit another Volvo dash which  makes them mostly undesirable to thieves. The transponder ignition key is also a first class theft restricter.

 

Alarm
Alarm
Antilock Braking System
Antilock Braking System
Deadlocks
Deadlocks
Engine Immobiliser
Engine Immobiliser
Front Side Air Bags
Front Side Air Bags
Front Twin Airbags
Front Twin Airbags
High level brake Light
High level brake Light
Locking Fuel Cap
Locking Fuel Cap
Locking Wheel Nuts
Locking Wheel Nuts
Pre Tensioned front Seat Belts
Pre Tensioned front Seat Belts
Rear Seat Belts Fitted
Rear Seat Belts Fitted
Remote Central Locking
Remote Central Locking
Side Impact Protection
Side Impact Protection
Visible Identification Number
Visible Identification Number

Volvo have engineered a stunning metamorphosis for this car from its soft top guise to it's open top glamour. With only one button and no necessity to unlock hinges or clasps the roof neatly packs away into the boot area. Surprisingly it does not consume all of the load area and allows you to drive open top with groceries. A nice feature is that the rear view is through a heated glass screen and not some cheap transparent poly-carbon.

The cost of the C70 new is high at 24,800 the best deals are in the second hand car sales market, where there are an abundant amount are for sale nationally in various colours and engine types. These car can be acquired at a fraction of the new price and tend to hold very good residual values. Insurance and servicing costs are affordable. A even if the engine lacks power it does offer a great economy and will deliver 38 mpg which is excellent for the size of car and the sector it competes in.
Overall this C70 is a stunning looking car, which offers a graceful carriage which is easily achieved with very little effort. It offers  the uplifting pleasure of open road driving with the wind in your hair, without compromising this with any poor seals, which may lead to a damp or wet interior. Such is the general build quality.


 

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UK Car Road Test Volvo C70 Cabriolet 2.0T 2002

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