In the driver's seat, I especially appreciated the sporty steering wheel, which is thickly padded and feels good in hand. Also cool is the extremely thin floating center console modeled on the S40 and V50. It is quite functional and serves as a wonderful design feature. Due to its close proximity to the gear lever I did occasionally find my knuckles hitting the console-mounted A/C controls when quickly rowing to third and fifth gears. A bit more space would have been nice. The glovebox is also substantially smaller than it may appear. We noticed it would hold the vehicle manual and perhaps a pair of sunglasses, but little more. On the flip side, there are two additional storage areas on the lower door panels which feature a covered flap to keep papers or other lightweight items from flying out.

While the standard audio system sounds pretty darn good, the optional Dynaudio package is purely state-of-the-art and certainly worth a listen. It features a total of 14 speakers and, with over 900 watts of power, the large dual subwoofers behind the rear seats double as seat massagers.

Driving along the hundreds of hairpin turns along the scenic Hana Highway didn't really allow us to properly test the car's upper-end performance. No matter. The C70 is more of a fun cruiser anyway. Its 2.5-liter, turbocharged T5 engine is good for a very respectable 218 bhp, with 236 lb-ft of torque delivered along a broad rpm band, from 1500 to 4800. While acceleration is good, midrange is where the engine is most happy.

Out of the gate, Volvo expects to sell over 15,000 units globally, 6,000 of which in the U.S. We think these forecasts are highly conservative and that the car will do even better. At $38,000, it's a reasonable price to pay for a car with two very unique and distinctive personalities. And at least for the time being, it's the only game in town.

2006 VOLVO C70
Base price $38,710
Transverse front engine, front-wheel drive
2.5-liter inline five, dohc, four valves per cylinder, turbocharged and intercooled
Six-speed manual, optional five-speed automatic
MacPherson strut front, multilink rear, stabilizer bar
Four-wheel disc brakes, ABS, Electronic Brake Distribution
Length x Width x Height (in.): 181 x 71 x 56
Wheelbase: 104 in.
Curb Weight: 3,630 lb
Peak Power: 218 bhp @ 5000 rpm
Peak Torque: 236 lb-ft @ 1500 rpm
0-60 mph: 7.6 sec (manual)
Top Speed: 150 mph (electronically limited)

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