Premium sporty/performance car; Built in Sweden
  • 2-door convertible
  • 2-door coupe
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $2,100 – $7,800*


2000 Volvo C70 convertible


1998 Volvo C70 2-door


1998 Volvo C70


2000 Volvo C70 2-door


1999 Volvo C70 convertible

Pros:
  • Acceleration
  • Standard antilock brakes
  • Build quality
  • Side airbags
  • Steering/handling
Cons:
  • Rear-seat entry/exit
  • Rear-seat room
  • Ride (17-inch wheel models)

Looks can be deceiving on the used-car market, as shoppers learn quickly. Volvo’s 2-door companions are suave in shape, perform admirably, and offer excellent amenities, but Mercedes-Benz just might have the edge in quality and refinement for this league. Overall, all recent Volvo models have been solid and well-built. The coupe is no different. Volvo has aimed the C70 at young-thinking empty-nesters ready for something with more style and sizzle than a minivan, sport-utility vehicle–or a Volvo sedan.

Overview

After making its reputation for decades with conservative, boxy sedans and station wagons, Volvo sought to update its image. Leading the charge into the future was this swoopy C70 coupe, which was Volvo’s first coupe body style in seven years. Based on the front-wheel-drive S70 sedan and V70 wagon (which were 1998 updates of the 850 series), the coupe has similar exterior dimensions. Seating four instead of five, it wore curvier 2-door styling. Unlike the S70/V70, which offered a choice of three 5-cylinder engines, the C70 coupe came only with the most powerful version: a turbocharged dual-overhead-cam 2.3-liter, rated at 236 horsepower. A 5-speed manual transmission was standard, but most buyers were expected to take the optional automatic, which had Sport, Economy, and Winter shift modes. Only one well-equipped model went on sale, with standard front and side airbags, antilock brakes, 17-inch alloy wheels, and a power tilt/slide moonroof. Factory options were limited to a firmer sport suspension with 18-inch wheels, as well as a package comprising traction control, heated front seats, full leather upholstery and a 425-watt, 14-speaker audio system. Rivals included the BMW 3-Series coupe, Lexus SC 300/400, and Mercedes-Benz CLK. A convertible joined the coupe later in the season. Equipped with a power top and electrically defrosted glass rear window, the convertible and “base” coupe now used a turbocharged 190-horsepower 2.4-liter engine with automatic transmission. A sportier coupe model kept the initial 236-horsepower, 2.3-liter 5-cylinder.

Yearly Updates

1999 C70
Not much was new for 1999, with either the C70 coupe or convertible.
2000 C70
Once again, the coupe and convertible went on sale with minimal change.
2001 C70
No significant changes were made for 2001.
2002 C70
Standard instead of optional for 2002 were traction control and heated front seats. Otherwise, no changes of note.
2003 C70
Coupe version is discontinued. Both engines gained 7 horsepower.
2004 C70
C70’s base price is cut by $4245 in 2004.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Initial models were powered by a turbocharged, dual-overhead-cam 2.3-liter inline 5-cylinder engine, making 236 horsepower. Another engine soon joined the fray, producing 190 horsepower and installed in the base coupe and the convertible. Two transmissions have been offered: a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic. Both engines gained 7 horsepower for ’03.

Turbocharged ohc I5
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.4/149
Engine HP 190-197
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 199
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

19/26

20.0

Turbocharged dohc I5
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.3/141
Engine HP 236-242
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 243-244
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
19/26
18/25
20.0
19.9

Road Test

As on the performance-oriented T5 versions of the S70/V70, the coupe has a firm and somewhat choppy but acceptably supple ride, without the prominent tire thumping that plagued performance-oriented 850 sedans. Even so, the available 17-inch tires elicit harsh reactions to bumps. A convertible or “base” coupe rides more softly on 16-inch rubber. Steering is numb on-center, but provides good feel otherwise. The sporty-handling C70 has ample grip and little body lean in turns.

Acceleration is satisfying with the base model, and very strong if the 2.3-liter engine is installed. Standing-start movement is good with either engine, and passing power is excellent. Volvo claimed a 0-60 mph time of 6.9 seconds, but our test C70s have not felt quite that fleet. As for economy, a 2.3-liter model yielded 19.9 mpg. Neither inline 5-cylinder engine is as smooth as some of today’s V6s and “turbo lag” (a moment’s delay in power delivery) is still bothersome at low and midrange speeds.

The back seat is tighter than in sedan models, and it’s much harder to get into or out of. The convertible’s narrower back seat is even less accommodating. Volvo tried to improve rear entry/exit with a power sliding feature for both front seats; but the seats move forward like snails. Leg room is ample in front and head room is good despite the standard power moonroof. The driver’s seat is comfortable and supportive, and visibility is good to all directions–except in the convertible when its top is up. Driving position is easily tailored to fit. Trunk space is reasonable for a coupe, holding a weekend’s worth of luggage for a couple, but less than the S70 sedan would offer.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2001 Volvo C70 coupe

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 7
70%
Fuel Economy - 5
50%
Ride Quality - 4
40%
Steering/Handling - 6
60%
Quietness - 5
50%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Front - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Rear - 3
30%
Cargo Room - 3
30%

Other

Value - 2
20%

Total: 47

Specifications

2-door convertible
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
104.9 185.6 71.5 56.0
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
8.0 18.5 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.4 36.6 41.3 34.6
2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
104.9 185.7 71.5 55.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
13.1 18.5 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.4 36.6 41.3 34.6
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: N/A

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Front Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Coolant leak
Description: Water may enter the passenger compartment between the firewall and engine compartment. Adding sealer between the two may fix the problem. (1998)
Oil leak
Description: Replacement copper washers might fix oil pump leaks from mounting screws on 2.5-liter engine. (1998)
Vehicle noise
Description: A whining noise from the front of the car requires dampers on both half shafts. (1998-99)
Paint/body
Description: The drain holes in the rocker panels may be clogged with body sealer leading to premature rusting. (1998)
Convertible top
Description: The trim molding comes loose from the drip rail on convertibles. (1999)

Recall History

1998
Description: Operation of headlight switch over extended period of time can result in inconsistent operation.
1998
Description: Front-passenger airbag may be overly sensitive to certain electrostatic discharges; could possibly cause inadvertent deployment.
1998-00 C70
Description: Over extended time period, headlight switch may cease to operate.
1999-02 C70 convertible
Description: A dirty throttle housing and/or inefficient software calibration may force the vehicle into limp home mode. Dealers will install the current software upgrade onto the involved vehicles.
2001 V70
Description: Rear-outboard seatbelt-anchorage bolts may have been incorrectly tightened. In the event of a crash, the seat occupant may not be properly restrained.
2001 V70
Description: Bolted joint attaching the bracket for the child restraint, may have been incorrectly tightened. The seat occupant may not be properly restrained, increasing the risk of injury.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.