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Volvo C30 Ultimate Mods & Upgrades

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Table of Contents


The Volvo C30 is a compact and stylish hatchback that offers a unique blend of performance and comfort.

With its eye-catching design and affordability, it has gained popularity among car enthusiasts looking for a fun and practical ride to modify.

Produced over a period of 7 years from 2006-2013, there are varying models of the C30 with differing engines and cosmetic features.

When it comes to the exterior mods, there is a vast abundance of parts out there to customise your C30, regardless of what model or year you may have.

For performance upgrades, the T5 engine and the 2.4i tend to respond better for power gains. 

Let’s take a quick look at the engine options. 

T5 Engine

The T5 engine is the top-of-the-line option for the C30. It is a turbocharged 2.5-litre 5-cylinder engine that delivers 227 horsepower. With this engine, the C30 can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just over 6 seconds, ensuring fun performance on the road.

2.4i Engine

The 2.4i engine is a naturally aspirated 2.4-litre 5-cylinder engine. While not as powerful as the T5, it still provides a respectable performance with 168 horsepower. It offers a smooth and refined driving experience, making it ideal for everyday commuting and city driving.

D5 Engine

The D5 engine is a diesel option for the C30, providing good fuel efficiency without compromising on power. It is a turbocharged 2.4-liter 5-cylinder engine that produces 177 horsepower. With its torquey nature, the D5 engine offers ample low-end power and is well-suited for long-distance driving.

1.6D Engine

The 1.6D engine is another diesel option, designed to offer optimal fuel economy. It is a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine that generates 109 horsepower. While it may not deliver the same level of performance as other engine models mentioned above, it compensates with its impressive fuel efficiency figures, making it an excellent choice for those who prioritise saving on fuel costs.

1.6 Engine

The 1.6 engine is the base model option for the C30. It is a naturally aspirated 1.6-litre 4-cylinder engine that produces 100 horsepower. 

Regardless of what engine your C30 has, we’ll go over all the best mods and performance upgrades so you can get the most fun out it.

Exhaust Upgrades

An exhaust upgrade is often one of the first modifications on an enthusiast owner’s list, and for good reason. 

Whether it’s performance gains or to get some extra sound from your tailpipes, an aftermarket exhaust can totally transform your driving experience. 

There are different routes to go down with an exhaust upgrade depending on your goals and what model and engine your C30 has.

Generally speaking, the petrol engines like the 5 cylinder T5 and 2.4i sound the best with an aftermarket exhaust. The diesel engines still get a nice sound boost as well but won’t sound quite as sporty.

In terms of performance gains, the T5 turbocharged engine also responds the best.

Regardless, all engines can slightly benefit from an aftermarket exhaust.

If it’s sound you are after, you will want to replace the “cat-back” section. This replaces the standard backbox with a more free-flowing one.

For maximum performance, you will ideally want a full exhaust system the whole way through. This will upgrade the standard downpipe and catalytic converters along with the cat-back section/muffler.

This is more expensive but is the best method for getting as much power as possible by reducing backpressure. As mentioned earlier, the T5 engine will respond the best to this reduction of backpressure as it will help the turbo breathe more freely.

There are different aftermarket exhausts available depending on which model you have. T5 owners can benefit from this lovely Jetex performance cat-back exhaust.

Jetex Cat-back Exhaust

For the C30 T5

Air Intake

Aftermarket air intakes can boost both the performance of your C30 as well as increase induction sound.

A high quality air intake can help draw cooler air into your engine, thus increasing power and throttle response. 

It also magnifies the induction roar, producing a more aggressive and satisfying engine note under throttle.

What kit you go for and the performance gains will depend on the model of your C30.

There are a variety of affordable intakes available on eBay.

As an alternative to upgrading the entire intake system, you can also opt for a K&N panel filter available on eBay.

These filters retain the standard airbox and simply replace the standard filter. K&N filters are more durable and are optimised for increased performance. 

Interior Mods

Upgrading the interior of your C30 is a fantastic way to personalize your car without breaking the bank.

Check out some ideas below.

Ambient Lighting

Affordable ambient lighting kits from eBay adds both ambiance and functionality to your C30. With the variety of colors and styles available, you can create a unique atmosphere that suits your taste. 

Popular places to put the lights include:

  • Along the footwell
  • Around the lines of the dashboard
  • Door cards

Sound System Upgrades

If you’re an audiophile, then you’ll want the best possible sound experience when you’re cruising around in your C30.

Some popular audio upgrades for the Volvo C30 include:

  • New speakers for better sound quality
  • A subwoofer for extra bass
  • An updated head unit from eBay for enhanced connectivity and navigation

Ensure your new system is compatible with your C30 and consider professional installation for the best results.

Performance Gauges

Monitor your Volvo’s performance with precision by installing new gauges. Whether you’re racing or simply enjoy keeping a close eye on your C30’s stats, these customisable gauges add a valuable layer of information. Popular options available on eBay include:

By installing these gauges, you’ll gain insight into your C30’s efficiency and detect potential issues before they escalate.

Custom Floor Mats

Protect your car’s flooring while adding a touch of distinction to your vehicle’s interior with custom floor mats. Options include:

  • All-weather mats for wet and muddy conditions
  • Carpeted mats for a plush, luxurious feel
  • Logo mats to proudly display the Volvo brand

Choose a set that strikes the right balance between appearance and functionality.

We actually have an article dedicated to all the best interior mods and upgrades for the C30 which you can check out below.

Volvo C30 Best Interior Mods & Upgrades

Lowering Springs/Coilovers

Lowering your C30 can enhance it’s looks as well as increase handling performance.

When it comes to lowering, the two main options are coil overs and lowering springs. There is also the option of an aftermarket air suspension but we won’t touch on that here.

Which option you go for will depend on your budget and goals.

Let’s first look at lowering springs, the most affordable solution for lowering the car.

If you’re seeking for a straight-forward drop in height, lowering springs are ideal. They do not require additional adjustments and can work with the standard shock absorbers on the car, although can cause advanced wear on them so keep an eye on your shocks.

Lowering springs can also offer a more comfortable ride compared to coilovers because they tend to be less stiff.

On the flip side, if you are after maximum handling performance and adjustability, then lowering springs are limited in this regard.

There are lots of good options including Apex and H&R.

Now let’s have a look at coilovers. 

If you are wanting to go low and get maximum adjustability, the coilovers could be the option for that.

With coilovers, you can modify spring pre-load, ride height, and dampening. The ability to adjust these settings allows you to fine tune your suspension which is ideal for track use or fast road use. 

While increasing performance substantially, coilovers can compromise the ride quality and comfort depending on the settings and brand of coilovers.

This may not be an issue for a weekend car that is used for track days but as a daily driver it could be uncomfortable depending on where you are and the terrain. 

It’s worth noting that lowered C30’s have a bit of a reputation for breaking driveshafts when they are lowered substantially. As such, you may want to invest in a preventative measure from eBay such as driveshaft spacers.

H&R Lowering Springs

Volvo C30

Stance Coilovers

Volvo C30

Halo Headlights/Angel Eyes

The circular, glowing appearance of the Halo headlights, often described as “eyes,” adds a stylish, modern aesthetic to the car, making it stand out both in the daylight and darker environments.

They provide a refreshed, high-end look, transforming the Volvo C30 with a distinctive character that’s immediately noticeable.

Installation is more straight-forward on the pre-facelift C30’s. Facelift C30’s require modification of the headlight lens to fit them.

You can purchase them below.

Halo Headlights Kit

Pre-facelift Volvo C30

Front Splitter

The addition of a front splitter to the Volvo C30 greatly enhances the front of the car.

By extending the front profile, the splitter bestows a more aggressive, assertive appearance and helps to visually lower the car’s stance.

Front splitter’s aren’t all about looks though!

The primary function of a front splitter is to increase downforce, ensuring that your wheels stay grounded, especially during high speed.

It does this by creating a high-pressure area on top and a low-pressure area below, effectively ‘splitting’ the air and pushing the front of of your C30 downward, enhancing grip and stability.

How much additional downforce is generated will depend on the size and setup of your front splitter. Smaller “lip” styled splitters that just slightly extend the bumper aren’t going to produce noticeable aero benefits however larger ones can definitely make a difference on the track. 

Maxton make a very stylish front splitter for the C30 that gives the front end a mean appearance. This splitter is made from ABS which is stronger than many carbon-fibre counterparts that crack easily if bumped or scraped. 

You can also get a universal front splitter off eBay that is larger in size. With this you will need to do some additional custom work to trim it to fit the dimensions of the C30’s front bumper and create mounting points. 

Maxton Front Splitter

C30 Pre-Facelift

Universal Front Splitter

All C30 Models


The power gains that you get from a remap will depend on the model and engine of your C30 along with the general heath of the car.

A well maintained C30 with the turbo and engine in good health has better potential for gains than one that hasn’t ben cared for that well. It’s always worth doing a pre-vehicle check prior to remapping to ensure that the car is in good working order, in particular checking things like coil packs and injectors. 

Your tuner should be able to do this for you when you go to have it remapped.

Let’s take a quick look expected power figures from a couple of the models from a remap alone. It’s worth noting that you can even more performance gains from a remap if you have other modifications fitted like induction and exhaust mods. 

On the most powerful T5 engine, you can get power gains of 50bhp from a remap alone and over 80lb-ft of torque! Very impressive gains indeed.

On the other end of the spectrum on the diesel side of things, we have the 1.6D version. With a remap, you can achieve power gains of 40bhp and 60lb-ft of torque!

Speak to your tuner about your particular model and engine to get advice and estimated power gains. 

Aftermarket Wheels & Spacers

There’s no better way to instantly transform the look of your C30 than to give it a new pair of wheels.

This could be another OEM set of wheels or it could be an aftermarket set.

You could go for a black set of wheels that give your C30 a darker look or you could go for something bold like a deep dish wheel set.

OEM wheel options tend to range between 15 and 18 inches, with the larger wheels producing a sportier appearance.

While they can look better, larger sized wheels will require a lower profile tyre. This can mean that the ride quality can sometimes be slightly harsher, so you need to balance aesthetics with comfort and function. 

You can use website like Wheelbasealloys and Lkperformance to find aftermarket wheels that are directly compatible with your year and model of C30. 

If you spot aftermarket wheels elsewhere, be sure to double check the specifications to ensure they will fit okay. 

Willtheyfit is a great resource for this.

Another wheel upgrade you can do that doesn’t actually require you to change the wheel is to add spacers.

These essentially push the wheels out further in line with the car body, allowing a sportier and more streamlined stance.

15mm Wheel Spacers

Fits the Volvo C30

Rear Sway/Anti-roll Bar

To boost your driving experience, optimizing the handling performance of your vehicle is equally important as enhancing the power output.

For vehicles like the Volvo C30, an efficient way to do this is by fitting a stiffer anti-roll bar on the rear. A stiffer anti-roll bar reduces the body roll in the corners, enhancing the C30’s handling ability.

A key benefit of this upgrade revolves around the reduced understeer. Understeer, or ‘push’ as it is sometimes called, happens when you’re driving the car hard and the front wheels start to lose grip. This results in the car going wide in corners even though you’re trying to steer it around.

As such, if you like driving your C30 hard on the backroads or on the track, this is an  excellent mod.

There are different options available for anti-roll/sway bars with varying stiffness. The stiffer ones will lead to the most performance however can be too harsh for comfortable daily driving on the street. 

Whiteline offer a great option that has 2 points of adjustment and will be a great upgrade over the standard anti-roll bar. 

Finishing Thoughts

As you can hopefully see by now, there are no shortage of mods and upgrades available for all the models of the C30.

Whether it’s performance enhancements or some cosmetic upgrades, there are mods out there for every owner and budget. 

Have a think about what your end goal is.

Is your priority maximum performance or is it to make the car look more modern and aggressive?

Having a clear idea in mind will help you plan ahead and can save you money in the long run.

Happy modding!