Volvo's safety record speaks for itself, but the Swedish automaker's vehicle designs are just about on the same level. After a history filled with boxy sedans and wagons, Volvo has really started a design renaissance starting with the introduction of the 2010 XC60 crossover. Following the design language of the XC60 and the 2009 S60 Concept vehicle, Volvo recently released a set of images showing the redesigned C70 convertible and C30 hatchback that will make their debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show later this month. As is the case with most European models, the new C70 and C30 are likely to go on sale later this year as 2010 models but will wait until early next year to hit the U.S. as 2011 models.
While the C70 received a major redesign in 2006, the sporty C30 hatchback was added as an all-new model that year, but after four years on the market, Volvo is giving two of its most iconic cars a much-needed design update. At that time, both cars shared the attractive styling of the S40 sedan, but the new models will now help give each a more distinctive look with changes mostly limited to the front fascia, headlamps and rear fascia. The new front end treatments will not only give the C30 and C70 a more distinguishable look, but it will also inject some of the sporty styling introduced on the popular XC60 including the slanted headlamps, pronounced fender creases and the aggressive front fascia.
As one of Volvo's most unique models, the 2011 C30 hatchback will carry over many of the iconic design cues that helped make the car so popular including the tall taillights and the frameless rear hatch inspired by the P1800 station wagon. The new face of the 2011 Volvo C30 is highlighted by the wider front fender arches, new grille design and a more forceful fascia design, while the rear of the car is freshened up with a much more rounded rear fascia. Not only has Volvo reduced the intrusion of the lower two-tone effect that surrounded the car which helped create more emphasis on the redesigned fog light bezels and the chrome-tipped dual exhaust outlets, but it also added a five-color palette from which to choose. Speaking of colors, Volvo decided to add a vibrant new color, called Orange Flame Metallic, to match the new design.
Like the C30, the overall shape of the 2011 C70 will remain the same including the three-piece steel retractable hardtop. The changes on the new C70 don't give the convertible as much of an aggressive look as the C30, but it does likely show what the redesigned S60 could look like. Compared to the 2011 C30, the biggest difference up front on the C70 is the more rounded grille and the lack of the lower chin spoiler. While the changes to the C70's exterior also include a new, smoother rear fascia, the most noticeable changes are the redesigned, LED taillights and the enlarged Volvo lettering beneath the center high mount stop light (CHMSL). According to Volvo, the retractable top takes just 30 seconds to raise or lower and offers rubber seals between each panel for increased insulation.
Inside, the changes are more subtle but still very effective in creating a sportier atmosphere. The biggest change is the addition of a thinner, sportier three-spoke steering wheel, but Volvo claims that the entire instrument panel has been redesigned with a sleeker shape and a more high-quality texture. The C30 continues to offer a highly customizable cabin thanks to a new two-tone instrument panel coloring as well as a large number of vibrant accent colors. As for the C70's cabin (showed above), Volvo gave its convertible unique door panels and instrument gauges to help set it apart from the C30 and S40. In terms of safety, the C70 features side curtain airbags for the front passengers that are incorporated into the front door panels and a rolloverÂ protection system (ROPS) that features two pyrotechnically charged roll bars that pop up from behind the rear seat headrests when a rollover is detected.
One thing that won't be changing on the all-new C70 and C30 is the turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-5 found under the hood. This venerable engine produces 227 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque while feeding power to the front wheels through either a six-speed manual transmission or a five-speed Geartronic transmission. Volvo says that the 2011 C30 will deliver an EPA estimated 21 miles per gallon in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, while the heavier 2011 C70 will get an estimated 20 mpg city and 28 mpg highway.
Volvo has not said when the new 2011 C30 will make its North American debut, but the redesigned 2011 C70 will receive a proper debut for a convertible when it makes its U.S. debut at the South Florida International Auto Show in Miami's South Beach. Pricing for both models will be announced closer to production.