Fleet News

Volvo C70 T5 SE Lux geartronic

Volvo

Review

ARE you still resisting? Even though the attractive woman in sales keeps perching on the edge of your desk, playfully tugging with your tie, and your boss has threatened to postpone that chat about a pay rise.

And even despite the usually tightfisted financial director saying: ‘Yes go for it, what the hell. It’s only money!’

Are you still saying no to putting convertibles on your fleet despite the flirting, blackmail and financial recklessness?

Because Volvo reckons it has a car to change your mind. It says the C70’s combination of hard top, space and practicality, good residual values, competitive tax costs and leasing rates will make a compelling argument to lift the convertible ban.

In fact, Volvo is so confident that it reckons one-in-two of all C70s sold will be to the corporate sector.

The old fabric-roofed C70 was successful but it did attract the more venerable end of the top-down demographic, especially as it aged itself.

The new car is planned to be considerably more trendy in the eyes of the buying public, with young executives in their late thirties a particular target group.

With the roof in place, the C70 certainly looks the part. Volvo designers say they drew the car as a coupe first and then worked out how to incorporate the folds into the roof. As a result it looks slinky and elegant – well, as elegant as Volvo could bear to go.

There’s actually a useful amount of room in the boot, even when the roof is in it, and rear passengers will not feel too hemmed in either, so Volvo has done a good job.

With the roof up the C70 feels noticeably stiffer than it does with it stowed. When it is tucked up in the boot, the car does seem to flex over rougher road surfaces, and at all times there’s lots of torque steer as the front tyres battle to find traction for the 220bhp from the turbocharged 2.5-litre engine.

The suspension can’t seem to make its mind up about being stiff or supple either, the auto gearbox is a little slurring and the big steering wheel makes the handling seem pedestrian and unresponsive. Surely a smaller wheel would go with the image Volvo wants for this car.

So the driving experience is not nearly as impressive as the travelling experience which, with the roof down, the stylish cabin around you and the brilliant hi-fi system playing, is very enjoyable – a fine way to cruise to a meeting.

Fact file

P11D value £34,272
CO2 emissions (g/km) 217
BIK % of P11D in 2006 30%
Graduated VED rate £190
Insurance group 17
Combined mpg 28.8
CAP RV (3yr/60k) £15,175/44%
Monthly lease (3yr/60k) £608

We like:

  • Great looks
  • Decent specification
  • Strong RV

    We don’t like

  • Lots of torque steer
  • Dull to drive
  • Big steering wheel!

    THREE RIVALS TO CONSIDER

  • Audi A4 Cab 3.2 V6 quattro Sport Tip
  • Saab 9-3 Conv 2.8T Aero
  • BMW 330Ci SE Convertible

    P11D PRICE

    IN spec terms either the A4 with its 256bhp, sat-nav and six-CD player, or the Saab with leather seats, or the Volvo C70 with its metal roof (the others all have canvas) could top the list. The BMW, even in the last year of its life, gets metallic paint for free, and not much else.

    9-3 £34,196
    C70 £34,272
    A4 £34,427
    330Ci £34,707

    EMISSIONS AND TAX RATES

    NO company car driver is going to lower their tax bill by choosing one of these, but the point of cabriolets is not to save money. For those with one eye on tax, the C70 is far and away the best, costing a 40% taxpayer £343 a month. The others would cost around £400 a month.

    C70 217g/km/30%
    330Ci 244g/km/35%
    9-3 266g/km/35%
    A4 269g/km/35%

    SMR COST

    THANKS to its connections with Vauxhall, Saab is the cheapest to service, maintain and repair during its fleet life. Over three years/60,000 miles it would be £800 cheaper than the A4, while nearly £1,400 less than the C70 and 330Ci – the 9-3 is an impressive performer in this area.

    9-3 3.08ppm £1,848 (60,000 miles total)
    A4 4.42 £2,652
    330Ci 5.04 £3,024
    C70 5.04 £3,024

    FUEL COST

    HOW much horsepower your driver wants will impact directly on their fuel bill. The most powerful, the A4, is the heaviest petrol user, while the least powerful, the C70, is the most frugal. Over 60,000 miles it would cost £900 less than the Audi, which also isn’t helped by four-wheel drive.

    C70 15.26 £9,156
    330Ci 15.50 £9,300
    9-3 16.84 £10,104
    A4 17.04 £10,224

    DEPRECIATION COST

    THE Saab doesn’t quite have the German brand strength while the BMW is ageing, which explains their slightly poorer performance. It would seem a heady cocktail of generous equipment, performance, brand and looks keeps the A4 top of the pile, with the new C70 close behind.

    A4 30.11 £18,066
    C70 31.45 £18,870
    330Ci 34.60 £20,760
    9-3 35.66 £21,396

    WHOLELIFE COST

    ALMOST entirely by virtue of its excellent RVs, the A4 Cabriolet is the cheapest to run over three years/ 60,000 miles, but it is very closely followed by the C70. Almost entirely by virtue of their weaker predicted RVs, the Saab and BMW are more expensive, by around £2,000.

    A4 51.56 £30,936
    C70 51.75 £31,050
    330Ci 55.14 £33,084
    9-3 55.59 £33,354

    VERDICT

    THE C70 is a refreshing alternative in the premium sector offering a hard top which will make it very attractive to most potential buyers. Of its rivals, the Saab and BMW are off the pace in running cost terms by up to 4ppm. Which leaves the A4 – the best of the four models here. It has more equipment, looks great, is the most powerful and costs less to run than the others. An easy win for the Audi.

  • WINNER: Audi A4 Cabriolet quattro Sport Tip
  • Click on the next page to view pictures

  • CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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