If you head out to your local used car lot looking for a late model front-drive hot hatch with a manual gearbox you'll probably expect to find something from Ford, Volkswagen, or Honda. Add a turbocharger to the requirements list and Honda drops off the table, and if you want something that has more than 4 cylinders the list gets really small and something from a Scandanvian OE pops to the top. Find this 2011 Volvo C30 here on eBay bidding for $5,000 reserve-not-met with 2 days to go, located in Maribel, WI.
If you get into the Volvo C30 expecting a GTI level of suspension tuning or the reflexes of a Mini Cooper, you might be disappointed. However, if you get into the C30 with a 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix as your baseline -- you might be pleasantly surprised.
And that is the thing about the C30: it might have a 2011 vin number, but it is a decidedly old school car with a focus on low end torques and driver comfort. The 2.5 liter B5254T7 inline-5 pushes out 227 horsepower and 236 ft-lbs of torque (which is available at a tractorlike 1500 rpm) into a front mounted 6-speed manual transaxle.
See a better cheap hatch for your collection? firstname.lastname@example.org