Thanks to its retractable hardtop, the Volvo C70 provides all the maximum exposure, sun-on-your-face fun expected of a convertible, along with the security and insulation of a hardtop coupe. Of course, nearly all of the C70's rivals also have a folding metal top; what sets the C70 apart is its emphasis on coddling its passengers. In keeping with Volvo tradition, the front seats are incredibly comfortable on long road trips, while the rear seats offer more room than most other convertibles. The ride is likewise plush. Yes, the C70 is much more a grand touring ride than a sporting machine, and that's just fine with its fans.
Said fans concur with our staff regarding the C70's comfortable and quiet ride, but many were also impressed with the styling and the turbocharged inline-5 engine. Writes one owner, "Beautiful exterior, proven hardtop convertible mechanism. Interior quality is very good. A true four-seater. Plenty of pep with the five-cylinder turbocharged engine. [I'm] getting 26 mpg on my 85 percent freeway commute." Another notes, "The C70 is quieter at interstate speeds than my S80 and my wife and I feel like we are in a snug, safe, comfortable cocoon when driving. It's just plain fun to drive, and we also like the head-turning effect."
The Mazda 3 has been a longtime favorite among the Edmunds editors, and now our readers agree. Owners love its combination of sporty handling, great value and extensive list of standard features. Other things that consumers like include the available Bose stereo, the stylish interior and Bluetooth connectivity. A number of readers who opted for the manual transmission spoke highly of its smooth shifting and like the way it reinforces the Mazda 3's sporty feel.
A few other readers comment that they would have wanted another gear in the automatic transmission to help improve fuel economy. If you share this concern, Mazda will address it in the 2012 model year, as the car is set to receive a new engine and six-speed transmission. The Mazda 3's "smiling" grille has left a few owners hoping for something more conservative, although they say the look is minimized with darker colors. Overall, the 2011 Mazda 3 won the 2011 Edmunds Best Retained Value award and also made it to our Top Recommended list.
Several of the owners who reviewed the Buick Regal started out shopping the Japanese or German brands they'd owned in the past, but switched — sometimes to their own surprise — based on the car's features, price and driving experience. "I am really blown away by what you get for the money, " one buyer writes. "It reminds me a lot of my BMW, but it is cheaper and a lot better equipped, even for the base model." Based on comments from several younger buyers in their 30s, the Regal might be shaking its image as a car for staid retirees.
Regal buyers love lots of things about the car: styling, comfort, build quality (it's like a bank vault when the doors close), and its quiet interior in particular. While the Edmunds reviewers found the electronics interface confusing, most consumers seem happy with the tech array. "Each day I find a new toy to play with, " one says. The people who bought the car with the optional turbocharged 2.0-liter engine were delighted with the power they got. Most of the buyers got the standard 2.4-liter inline-4 engine, and only a few were disappointed with its performance. "This car delivers good all-around power, " a buyer writes. "You certainly can get a speeding ticket." One common quibble: the lack of an interior trunk release.
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