Think convertible, and images of summer skies invariably come to mind. So deep mid winter seems rather a surprising time for the arrival of an updated coupé/convertible
But it is rather apt for a car that broke the mould when it first appeared on the scene four years ago. Volvo’s C70 caused a stir back in 2006 as the world’s first four-seater convertible with a retractable hard-top. Now it has undergone a mid-life refresh inside and out, with improved looks, quality and comfort. Much is unchanged, though. It keeps the same threepiece retractable roof, seats for four adults and safety standards that are top-of-the-class for a convertible. Among the changes to the exterior are redesigned front wings and new headlamps that combine to give the car’s nose more of a wedge shaped look. Other front-end alterations echo what Volvo has also done with the C30, such as larger air intakes and a bigger iron mark badge. The rear lights have been changed to LED items, similar to those on the XC60, and the lamp cluster is now integrated within the oval that frames the new C70’s rear-end panel.
The cabin has been refreshed, too – it’s now more comfortable and luxurious. There is a redesigned instrument panel that appears more prominent and classy, with a better surface material. The seats are also more sumptuous – they have a softer hide and a warm, red Cranberry shade has been added to the colour palette. With its svelte looks, especially with the roof down, the big, open-top Volvo has always aspired to be a swan, but dynamically it feels more like a goose. The ride is firm and reasonably pliant, but it lets you know where the potholes are. The handling is neither as taut nor engaging as you’d expect from a sporting car. Snowy roads on our test route made it difficult to explore the Volvo’s handling to any meaningful degree. But the car retains the same basic set-up and chassis settings – the update focuses more on cosmetic changes to keep it up-to-date. That seems a pity, because the C70 is a cleverly conceived, attractive and quality car. The only snag is that it’s not as dynamically accomplished as rivals and could benefit from a bit of chassis tweaking. Maybe next time.
RIVALS: AUDI A5 CABRIOLET, BMW 3 SERIES, MERCEDES-BENZ E-CLASS CABRIOLET
- Engine: 2400cc, 5-cylinder, turbodiesel with particulate filter
- Gearbox: 6-speed manual
- Max power: 178bhp at 4,000rpm
- Max torque: 295lb ft at 2,000 to 2,750rpm
- Max towing weight: 1,500kg
- Max speed: 140mph
- 0-62mph: 9.0secs
- Combined consumption: 42.8mpg
- CO2 emissions (taxband): 174g/km (H)
- Bootspace: 200/404litres
- Insurance group: 32