Volvo C70 (1998)

Volvo C70 (1998)

This is essentially a sporty, two-door coupe version of the Volvo S70.

Volvo C70 (1998)The 70 is currently Volvo's smallest series. There's the S70 sedan, the V70 wagon and now the C70 coupe. We found the coupe hard to love. Why? We're not sure. This is the same platform as the V70 Cross Country wagon. The Cross Country is a great wagon. It's sporty, it's comfortable and it handles surprisingly well. You drive it and you think, "Wow. This is pretty great...for a wagon!" The problem is, what's great for a wagon is only okay for a sports sedan. And the same chassis and engine masquerading as a sports car just isn't that impressive.

Don't get us wrong--the C70 is a nice car. It's solid, it's safe, it handles reasonably well and it accelerates reasonably well. It's well appointed and nice looking. But, for a little less money, you can get the same attributes with all the advantages and carrying capacity of a station wagon.

We did have a lot of people comment on the looks of the car. The folks who recognized it as a Volvo were impressed with the styling. Especially when compared with boxy Volvos of the past, it's quite a head-turner. Then again, at least the old, boxy Volvos stand out among the crowd. They're sort of "cool" in their dowdiness. This new Volvo has a similar shape to a lot of other cars on the road. We had a few people who saw the car and asked us, "What is that--a Ford Probe?"

Overall, our sentiment is this: Volvo has a niche for safe, practical,durable, surprisingly nice cars. We're not advocating for ugly as a market position, but one thing we could always count on from Volvo was practicality. And there's very little that's practical about this car--most of the practicality has been sacrificed for the benefit of looks.

We suppose if you really hate the idea of driving a Volvo because it's too frumpy, but you want the safety advantages of a Volvo, you might buy a car like this. But it's not distinctive enough to warrant a change in the strategy for Volvo. We still give two wrenches up to the 70 series, but we're indifferent about the C70 coupe.

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