2013 C70 New Car Test Drive
The Volvo C70 roofline, developed in Italy by Pininfarina, is that of a coupe, and it's a very handsome coupe, with solid upward sweeping A-pillars and delicately thin and downward sweeping C-pillars. Stand close enough, and you can spot the two seams that enable the roof to stack into thirds and drop into the trunk, but otherwise there's not a hint of compromise in the graceful roofline.
Because of the C70's strong wedge profile, the roof lands on the rear deck at a point higher than it takes off from the hood. A soft ridge at the beltline sweeps all the way from headlight to taillight, accentuating the wedge, which is conspicuous but not bulky. In short, the C70 was not given a bulbous rear end in order to fit the convertible steel roof under its cover. The trunk lid is aluminum for reduced weight.
When viewed from the front three-quarter angle, it's clear how short and smooth the hood and nose are, and how aerodynamic the package truly is. The headlamps gently lean inward toward the grille, as the foglamps under the headlamps surround the opening in the smooth fascia/bumper. The hoodline tapers elegantly down to the bottom of the fascia, inches above the road. The effect of the lower three openings is like a reflection of the headlamps and grille.
As the roof retracts, it first elevates, and then slides back and stacks itself in its three sections before quietly submerging into the rear deck. Presto: With one button on the console, it's gone in 30 seconds. Up or down, it takes the same time.
The structural safety features of the C70 take thousands of words to describe in detail. The reinforced B pillars, normally connected by a roof, are connected on the C70 by one of five transverse frame members. This dissipates crash forces. The door sills are laser welded, and raised behind the B pillars. The doors have diagonal steel beams. The A-pillars use extra high-strength steel, and extend all the way down to the frame rails.
The front bucket seats are ergonomically shaped and very comfortable. The front seats slide forward with the touch of a button to ease the boarding of passengers into the two rear seats.
Volvo's flat-panel center stack fits in a world of flat panel computer monitors and television screens. It features a horizontal information screen over a column of buttons for radio and climate controls. Four big knobs dot each corner.
As with many Volvos, interior storage space is in short supply. There are storage compartments in the cabin, some of which are lockable, useful when the car is parked with the roof down. Other compartments can be locked with a separate key, when leaving the car with a parking attendant, for example.
The trunk has 12.8 cubic feet of cargo space with the roof up, and about half that when it's retracted. In essence, it's tiny. A pass-through slot between the rear seats that allows long things like skis to be carried in the trunk, extending into the passenger compartment.
The optional Blind Spot Information System, or BLIS, includes cameras mounted in the side mirrors that detect vehicles approaching from behind, in daylight or darkness. When an approaching vehicle closes from behind and to either the left or right of the C70, the system activates one of two small amber lights mounted just inboard of the mirrors, calling the driver's attention to the situation. The BLIS option adds a power-retractable feature to protect these intelligent outside mirrors.