Baby Volvo ready to take on its rivals

CAPE Town became the stage on which car manufacturers demonstrated their new babies last week.

CAPE Town became the stage on which car manufacturers demonstrated their new babies last week.

Volvo and Fiat fought for the attention of both the media and the public when they launched their beautiful drop tops, with Volvo adding a hot hatch to the contest.

I joined the Swedish king while my colleague Bruce Fraser chose the Italians.

Volvo showcased two cars - the C70 convertible and C30. The beautiful C70 is now better from every angle. As for the hot C30, you can spot it from kilometres away.

Volvo has decided to be aggressive with the C30 model range, giving customers enough to choose from. With the C70 it seems the Scandavanians opted for simplicity in their lineage since the car was launched in one engine derivative.

The C70 provided the comfort expected from such a car, while at the same time allowing one to have fun. With the roof down Aurelia and I thought it best to take the long route to enjoy what was on offer.

The C70 was an enjoyable vehicle, especially with the roof down.

Its makers describe it as two cars in one - the sleek coupé and a sporty convertible.

The C70's modern design has taken it up another level - the premium. New lines and details in the rear bumper and side have been integrated to emphasise the depth and dynamism of the design language.

With its new front the Volvo C70 reveals traces of the all-new Volvo S60, which was recently unveiled in Geneva. As a result the new C70 now blends in with the larger models in the Volvo range.

The front forms an open, inviting "V". The enlarged iron mark and the new, larger air intake reinforce the self-assured stance.

On the other hand the C30's appearance was also enhanced to give it more aggressive appeal and poise.

The drive in the C30 proved that the little one has soul and was ready to take on its rivals without fear.

Though it is the baby in the Volvo stable, the C30 has what it takes to be a Volvo. The high safety and comfort levels found in larger Volvos are also found in the baby Volvo.

Driving in Camps Bay, the C30 proved it was comfortable on twisty roads. We particularly enjoyed the R model (which is a top-of-the-range C30).